Hands-On Lab Test! We Scrutinze Polaroid's New Pogo Portable Printer


I still own a vintage Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera but feeding it was expensive then and now nigh impossible thanks to the end of instant film. Polaroid’s POGO portable printer brings back some of the fun I had with the SX-70. This pocket printer is the first to use Zero Imaging’s Zero Ink paper that does away with ink in favor of billions of embedded crystals in the 2x3 sheets of paper.

Hook your PictBridge-enabled digital camera up to the POGO via a Type A USB cable and let the fun begin. Once the camera has finished chewing on the image, it will take about 30 seconds to print out. The POGO will print full bleed to the tiny pieces of paper and the adhesive back lets you stick ‘em anywhere.

Fun, right? Well not if you try to print via Bluetooth. It’s not Polaroid’s fault but I’d guess that you have a 50/50 chance of your phone working due to Blutooth's horrible frakking reliability. Much of the mess is the fault of the phone vendors and the providers. Even the vaunted iPhone, for example, doesn't support the OBEX profile this printer needs. A ton of others don’t as well. Your best bet is to use USB.

A few other weaknesses: the print quality ranges average to mediocre (Polaroid claims its comparable to a 300dpi printer). However, for wallet prints or the photo that’s going to get stuck on the dash board of the car, we don't mind the lack of fidelity. We’re more bugged by the sad battery life. You can probably get 20 images if you print them in one sitting. Otherwise, expect more like 10 to 15. Finally, the battery charger (see below) is literally a brick. It’s actually bigger than the actual printer, and comes close to the power bricks that come with laptops. Combine that with the crappy battery life and, well, our smile goes away.

Part of my smile does come back though just printing out the pics that we can give away. Yeah, I could say “check out the web site” or “I’ll email it to you!” but I never do. With the POGO, you truly recover some of the spontaneity that the mad the Land Camera so damned fun. We'll do some more testing, so look out for our full review soon!

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