The Instax Mini Link Smartphone printer is one of the newest instant printers from Fujifilm to hit the market. And boy, it does pack a punch. The mini photo printer brings several interesting features to the mix, such as Fun Mode, gestures, and an intuitive app. This portable printer is the successor to the Instax SP-3 printer, which was mainly known for its retro photo quality and its unusual shape.
Both printers use films to print the photos and are almost the size of hefty power banks. And well, that's where the similarities end. Almost.
Well, that's what we are going to find out in this comparison as we pit the older Instax SP-3 against the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link and see which one of these printers is your best bet.
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Design and Connectivity
While most printers are either square or rectangular, the Instax SP-3 sports rather an unusual look. It has an angular trapezoidal-shaped body. And surely, it will earn its share of looks from your companions.
At 5.1 x 4.5 x 1.7-inches, the Instax SP-3 isn't so big. However, do note that the angular shape makes it a bit problematic to carry it on your hands. On the upside, it fits well into most backpacks and laptop bags.
When it comes to connectivity, the Instax SP-3 connects to Wi-Fi. You'll need to download the companion app and send your pictures to print via the companion app. All you need to do is to connect to the printer's Wi-Fi network. Though it's more stable and fast than Bluetooth, the only downside is that you have to disconnect from your home network you need to print a bunch of pictures.
On the other hand, the Instax Mini Link carries a more simplistic design. Some may even call it minimalist. Apart from a few textured lines, there's nothing noteworthy about the design of this printer. The good thing is that the textures help grip the printer better. Plus, the Instax logo at the front also doubles as the power button.
If we talk numbers, it measures just about 4.9 x 3.5 x 1.3-inches. And at 7.3 ounces, it can easily fit into the palms of your hands.
When it comes to connection, the Instax Mini Link is one of the first Instax printers to feature Bluetooth. So, as we mentioned above, you needn't disconnect from your home Wi-Fi to print your photos. You just need to pair your phone to the printer via the Instax Share app.
Thankfully, both Fujifilm Instax printers boast of long battery life, in terms of prints. While the Instax Mini Link's battery is big enough to last you around 100 prints in a single charge, the Instax SP-3's battery is good enough to last you for about 160 photos.
When it comes to real-world usage, the folks at Digital Trends tested the former and found out that printing a ten-pack film takes around 50% of the battery life. As for its predecessor, many users have praised this printer for its long battery life.
But to be honest, instant printers are rarely used for printing for such a long duration. But should the need arise, you can rest assured that both these printers have adequate power to keep them going.
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In-App Features: Fun vs Normal
The companion app of the Instax SP-3 gives plenty of options to play around. Apart from accessing your photos from the phone's gallery, you can also access pictures from your social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook. Yes, you will have to log into those respective apps via the companion app.
Plus, the app lets you resize and crop your photo, make collages, and even tweak its color. Though, I am not sure how the collages would turn out after cramming a bunch of pictures into a small square print.
As far as user experience is concerned, people loved its simple and easy-to-use UI. As some users have pointed out, all the app features are self-explanatory and barely takes time to print.
Moving on, the Instax Mini Link app redefines fun. This little printer has two modes — Print Mode and Fun Mode. While the former follows the usual method of printing photos, the latter lets you play around with several elements.
One of the most interesting features is Video Print, where you can grab still frames from videos and print them as photos. Up next, we have the Party Print, which selects different parts from your friend's photos. The resultant photo is a combination of all five locations. Interesting, I would say.
Aside from that, you can add frames & graphics, add captions and stickers, and yeah, you can also access your photos on Facebook and Instagram.
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Before we get started, let's make one point clear. Instant printers rarely churn out high-res photos, and it's unfair to compare these photos with the outputs of laser printers.
The Instax SP-3 has a DPI 318, and the picture output has a bit of a warm tinge, which gives the photos a slightly retro look. Thankfully, the contrast is on point though the photos tend to have a little less sharpness. In such cases, elements such as skies appear overblown. Or if the foreground and the background have the same color, it's sometimes difficult to gauge the difference between the two.
It's worth to be noted that the Instax SP-3 churns out 2.5-inches square prints. Yep, you needn't stretch or crop your Instagram photos.
The Instax Mini Link printer also has a DPI of 318, and the output measures roughly 2.4 x 1.8-inch. These small rectangular prints resemble little Polaroid prints with little muted colors. But then again, that's how pocket photos usually are.
Talking of film costs, a pack of 20 costs about $16.99 while the same pack for the Instax Mini Link costs about $14.99.
So, which one should you choose? Well, it all depends on your priorities. If you want a fun printer to experiment with different print modes, you should go with the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link. The app is intuitive, plus the introduction of Bluetooth means that you do not have to juggle between your home Wi-Fi and the printer's settings.
Secondly, there are hordes of fun elements that you can play with. More importantly, this printer costs only $99, and makes great gifts, especially for teenagers.
On the other hand, the Instax SP-3 was initially launched for $199. However, now it has gone down to around $107 on Amazon. It packs quite a few interesting features like the one where you can split a photo into two followed by the custom photo filters and real-time templates.
But, I would rather side with a newer product that packs a bunch of modern-day features. Plus, not every memory has to be perfect, right?
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