Giving Back with a Photo Print via a Polaroid Pogo Printer

The Polaroid Pogo Printer in the box
The Polaroid Pogo Printer in the box


Many shutters have been clicked, so many people have been photographed, so many smiles have been captured. Yet it’s rare that I get to return the favour of sharing their moments with us photographers. I wanted to give something back, even as simple as giving their own photo.

When I saw the Polaroid Pogo printer for the first time, I thought it was a very handy device to give instant photo to people. Its introductory price was steep two years ago (about P4000+) but when I saw it a couple of months ago it has gone down to half its price and thought about getting one. I thought it would be useful to bring to Myanmar where I could give photos so select individuals so I bought a unit.

The Pogo size comparison with a mobile phone
The Pogo size comparison with a mobile phone

The Printer

The printer itself is small and handy, slightly larger and thicker comparing it to the size of popular smartphones, in this case, I compared it to my Nokia N8. On one side is the compartment where the paper is fed (max 10), on one of the longside is the interface for the power while the other is the interface for the USB and power button and indicators.  It’s pretty straightforward and easy to figure out.

The charger is quite large for the printer
The charger is quite large for the printer

One disadvantage I saw here is the huge charger which is almost the size of the printer itself. I hope the next time they’ll make use of a smaller charger. That in the way, I just make sure I fully charge the unit (which takes about 2 hours+) to make sure I can print about 14-15 photos on full charge.

ZINK Papers
ZINK Papers

The ZINK Paper

The box comes with an initial set of 10 ZINK paper. The Polaroid Pogo uses ZINK technology paper where the paper has crystals which reacts to heat and then produces the photo. It’s pretty neat and instant like the good old Polaroids except that you don’t have to shake it on air or tap it. It’s also water-resistant and has an adhesive back to make use of it as a sticker. The papers can be bought locally for P180 for a 10 set piece. Not really cheap so it’s worth thinking which ones to print.

Printing via bluetooth
Printing via bluetooth

Printing

The printer can be loaded with up to 10 piece of ZINK paper including a SMART Paper which comes with every paper set. That SMART paper placed under would automatically spit out by the printer then it would be ready to print with the actual paper. There are two ways to print – USB and Bluetooth.

Connecting the device through bluetooth
Connecting the device through bluetooth

Most Bluetooth capable phones can connect with the printer. Upon initial device recognition and connection, you can then browse through the gallery for the image you choose then “Print” in the menu. Just choose the Polaroid Pogo as the printer. One minor quirk though that led me to an hour of troubleshooting. Once the device has been recognized and trusted by the device the “Print” command no longer works, instead I found “Send” the image to the printer would do the work. I’m not sure if it is just the Nokia phone but it kinda made me panic a bit at first.

Printing via PictBridge
Printing via PictBridge

The other way is when connecting the camera directly to the printer via USB. Most cameras nowadays have PictBridge like my Olympus E-PL1. This was a lot simpler to do. Just connect the camera and choose the Print option. The gallery would open. Just choose the photo and print. There are other options like the number of copies.

Direct to Camera Printing is easy
Direct to Camera Printing is easy

One thing missing though is connecting it directly to a computer. I hope they add that feature on future releases.

Print time and image transfers usually take about a minute or so.

The Polaroid Pogo Printer produces decent prints
The Polaroid Pogo Printer produces decent prints

Print Quality

I wasn’t expecting top notch quality like let’s say the Canon Selphy which is a larger 4R portable printer. But I was quite satisfied with the decent quality of the prints which is good for posterity purposes. It has the grainy and instant quality to it. I do notice that dark photos when printed turns out a bit muddy that’s why I try to brighten them up in-camera first before I actually print them.

Giving photos prints as a way of saying thank you
Giving photos prints as a way of saying thank you

Verdict

When I was in Myanmar, I had the chance to use the Polaroid Pogo Printer and it amused a lot of people when I hand them instant prints. My horsecart and motorbike drivers really appreciated it they have a photo along with the payment I gave. A family I met with two talented sons was very happy having their family photo. The mom kept looking at it and smiled back full of gratitude.

I guess it works and it gives me chills when people appreciate it. It may not have the top quality printout but it’s the thought that really counts here. I didn’t have trouble bringing the printer when I go out to shoot (of course leaving the charger at the hotel) nor had trouble printing out once I knew how. Polaroid Pogo is a fun little toy I really enjoyed using. It definitely has a place inside my photo bag.

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