By July 12, 2008

Polaroid PoGo instant mobile printer Review

Polaroid recently announced that they were to stop production of the instant film used in it’s range of instamatic cameras. When I first heard the news I was surprised that anyone was still using instant film and that they hadn’t stopped years ago. I later learned that there are a lot of business applications where this kind of film is used.

Polaroid are not leaving the instant photo market though as the launch of the Polaroid PoGo brings the concept of instant photos to the 21st century by using the latest Zink (Zero Ink) printing technology to support modern digital cameras.

Polaroid PoGo

The Polaroid PoGo

The Polaroid PoGo is a small battery operated mobile printer that allows you to print your digital photos on the go. With Bluetooth and Pict-Bridge support it’s possible to print photos from virtually all modern digital cameras and mobile phones.

Polaroid PoGo Specification:

  • Size: 120mm (4.7”) H X 72mm (2.8”) W X 23.5mm (0.9”) D
  • Weight: 8 oz (without paper) includes battery
  • Battery: 7.2V rechargeable lithium-ion
  • User Interface: 2 Tri-Colour LED indicators
  • AC Adapter: 9V output Universal Input 100V to 240 VAC
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (Class 2) OPP USB 2.0 USB A connector
  • Print Speed: 60 seconds per print, from send to share

Whats in the box?

  • Polaroid PoGo instant printer
  • AC Adapter
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 10 sheets of Zink Paper
  • User guide & Warranty card

For more on what’s in the box and a demonstration of the PoGo in action take a look at Matt’s PoGo Video.


General – click images for larger view

The Polaroid PoGo comes in a neat and compact package weighing just 230 grams and measuring 120mm x 72mm x 23.5mm. On the ‘top’ of the unit you’ll find a single connector for plugging in the power supply to charge the internal battery.

Polaroid PoGo top side

Polaroid PoGo ‘top’

On the side from the power connector is the power button and a couple of tri-colour status LED’s which tell you the print and battery power status. Next to that is the USB 2.0 connector which allows you to connect a compatible digital camera.

Polaroid PoGo bottom side

Polaroid PoGo ‘bottom’

On the end of the unit there’s a single slot where the printed paper is slowly ejected.

Polaroid PoGo paper exit

Polaroid PoGo paper exit

The paper is loaded in a tray accessed by pressing a release button on one end. Zink paper come in packs of 10 but there seems to be room in the paper tray for about 30 sheets.

Polaroid PoGo paper tray

Polaroid PoGo paper tray




  • Truly portable printing
  • Good connectivity
  • Cool gadget status
  • Smudge proof, water proof and ink-free prints



  • Prints are expensive
  • Print quality not great
  • Battery life poor



I first saw the Polaroid PoGo a few months ago at a press event and when I saw it I immediately wanted one. The PoGo seemed like a great idea and as I am always behind a camera it was a logical addition to my gadget bag.

Polaroid released the PoGo in the UK a few weeks ago and it’s gradually being made available in a number of high street shops, such as PC World, and at online outlets such as Amazon and The main unit will set you back just under £100 which isn’t all that cheap but you do get everything you need included in the box to get up and running.

Setting up is dead simple. Once you remove everything from the box you just have to install and charge the internal rechargeable battery. If you are a bit impatient you can start printing while the unit is charging.

The next step is to install that special Zink paper. Included in the kit you’ll find ten 2″ x 3″ sheets of paper in a pack. You’ll also find a piece of blue paper in the pack. Don’t throw this away as this is the ‘smartsheet’ that you need to run through the printer first. The smartsheet has a barcode printed on it and automatically runs through the printer the first time you turn it on after installing the paper. I believe that the smart sheet ‘tells’ the printer how many sheets of paper are installed.

You’re now ready to start printing and this can be done in one of two ways. The first is to use a mobile phone or other Bluetooth compatible device. If you are using Bluetooth you have to first set up a partnership between the PoGo and your mobile. The exact method depends on your mobile but normally consists of turning on Bluetooth and the selecting ‘add Bluetooth device’ and entering the Passcode. Once a partnership is created you can then send or beam images from your phone to the PoGo and within a minute or so out comes a full colour photograph.

The second way to print is to connect a PictBridge compatible digital camera. Connecting the printer to a compatible camera with a USB cable is normally enough to put the camera in to PictBridge mode. On my camera for example a button lights up blue when the printer connects and pressing the button prints the image currently displayed in the screen.

Once you press the print button the activity light on the PoGo starts to flash while the image is processing, within about 20 seconds the printer starts to whir and slowly the photo inches it’s way out of the slot at the end. The whole process from start to finish takes around 60 seconds. Printing via Bluetooth is a little slower but this is probably down to the connection speed.

So what are the prints like? I suppose I would describe them as ‘OK’. They aren’t going to compete with specialist photographic services or even the larger inkjet photo printers that you can buy these days but you have to remember this is a printer that fits in your pocket! When you consider that you can produce prints practically anywhere and any time then you begin to see where this little gadget will find its market.

Last week I went to a christening with my Canon camera around my neck and the Polaroid PoGo in my suit pocket. I took a number of nice pictures of the baby being baptised and while we were waiting for the ceremony to end I had already started to print and hand-out souvenir prints to the baby’s family. They were all very impressed an all wanted to have a go!

Have a look at the two images below. The first is the image taken straight from the camera with no PP and the second is of the same photo printed on the PoGo and scanned back in to the PC at 300 dpi. As you can see, the print isn’t perfect (the scan does look a little worse than the physical photo) and also note that the image is cropped.


Original Picture

Sample image from camera

Polaroid PoGo Print Sample

Scanned print from the Polaroid PoGo

The PoGo is great to take to parties and events, everyone will want you to print a photo for them. However, you wont want to get too carried away. The cost of the paper will probably stop you from going too mad as a pack of 10 sheets of Zink paper will set you back £3! So at 30p per print that works out at around 6 (six!!) times more expensive than commercial photo services such as Bonusprint. But again, remember that the PoGo allows you to have your prints NOW.

Even if you are feeling flush and splash out on a wad of photo paper don’t expect to be printing photos all day long as the rechargeable battery will only last for about 15 prints. In practice the battery will probably not last that long if you are leaving the PoGo switched on between prints.

The reason that the PoGo is so power hungry is down to how the Zink paper works. The print head has to get pretty hot to activate the colour on the page and it’s the heat in the print head that eats the battery.

The full-colour digital photos are created without ink cartridges or ribbons using Zink Photo Paper, keeping the printer to about the size of a deck of cards. The paper is a durable material that contains colourless cyan, yellow and magenta dye crystals. Heat activation brings photos to life, colourising Zink dye crystals, so digital photos can be shared instantly.


For truly mobile instant photo prints the PoGo is amazing, you’ll have your friends cooing over your new gadget!

However, for the PoGo to really take off I think the cost of the photo paper has to come down and come down a lot. If Polaroid can get the cost per print down to around 10p per print then I’m sure more people will consider the PoGo.

I’d also like to see a larger version made available. I know the portability will be somewhat compromised but I would much rather have 6×4″ prints.


Posted By: Matt


Posted in: Printers, Reviews
Tags: ,

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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