Polaroid Lab Review – Turn mobile photos into Polaroid Pictures
Polaroid Lab is a new take on home photo printing, allowing you to take a snap of your mobile screen and print it as a Polaroid photo.
Printing from mobiles isn’t a new concept, for example I previously reviewed the VuPoint portable printer, however this is the first time I’ve a printer that doesn’t use Bluetooth, instead it takes a photo of your photo.
It’s a nice looking bit of kit, as you’ll see in the video review you press a button on the side to turn it on and the top section pops up, like it’s coming to attention.
A small cluster of 8 lights on the front show you how many prints you have available, around the back is the micro USB charging port with 4 lights to indicate how full the battery is.
Polaroid Lab has a cover on top but curiously it isn’t held in place and will easily fall off, something to be mindful of if taking this out and about. Of course the idea is you don’t need to take this out and about, rather than carrying around a bulky Polaroid camera you take photos on your mobile as usual and then print them off later using the Polaroid Lab.
Both colour and black & white film is available, the Polaroid Lab is compatible with Polaroid i-Type and 600 type film. I found changing the film cartridge to be very easy: pull out the spend cartridge, insert the new one, close up the Lab and it ejects a protective cover and you’re good to go!
At the time of review, the Polaroid Originals app on Android was missing the Polaroid Lab features available on iOS. The app is OK, a big negative for me was the inability of the app to access photos on my mobile, I had to manually copy them into a folder before the app could see them.
Printing takes no time at all, pop your phone on top of the lap, over it’s three lenses setup, and press the big red button. Seconds later your new photo will be printed out, you’ll then need to leave this somewhere dark to develop (I found the included lid worked well at covering photos).
Black & white shots take 5 – 10 minutes, colour take 10 – 15 minutes to develop and the instructions make it clear not to follow OutKast’s advice, do not shake it ‘Like a Polaroid picture’ as they’re not meant to be waved about during development.
If you’ve been missing the Polaroid-style you’ll enjoy the Labs results, they look great and have a real 80s vibe about them. Notice in one of the photos I’m wearing a t-shirt with text on it and the text has been reversed, I don’t know if the Android app, once updated with a Lab section, will automatically reverse the image to prevent this issue.
I’m not sure I prefer it to a Bluetooth photo printer, there’s potential for you to waste film if you make a mistake (e.g. misalignment of your mobile) and being unable to tap into my existing photo library was really annoying.
Overall the Polaroid Lab does what it set out to do, it gives you the ability to print the classic Polaroid-style from your mobile. Given the price per photo (c£1.97 at the time of review), this is unlikely to replace traditional printing services, for those who love Polaroid photos but don’t want to carry around a bulky camera it’s the best option you’ve got for that authentic Polaroid style.
- Get that vintage Polaroid look
- Very quick to print photos
- Colour or black & white film available
- Bluetooth photo printers easier to use
- Android app currently missing Lab feature