Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Camera

Once upon a time, Polaroid were the cameras of choice for people to buy. Over the years, the camera specialist made some pretty large innovations to the world of photography. They were even the first brand to implement instant printing to their cameras, right back in 1943. But in 2017, we are now seeing cameras like the Polaroid Snap Touch hit the shelves, and they’re just as impressive.

So in all honesty, we’ve seen this design before from the original Snap which retailed at launch for around £80. But now, with the Snap Touch, some much needed improvements have been added to this already quirky camera.

So let’s start by taking a look at the packaging. It comes in a mostly transparent box so you can visualise the product. All of the accessories are bundled into the base, hidden by Polaroid’s marketing material. Inside you will find a set of instructions on how to use the camera, a magnetic lens cap which actually holds quite well to the camera and great protection for when the camera is not in use, a handy wrist strap to stop accidental drops, and a microUSB charging cable.

The camera itself has some very rounded curves, and is covered in a lovely soft to touch material. The outside still retains a plastic frame to some what protect it from drops. The standard Polaroid branding can be seen on the front, from a small logo in the corner to the rainbow strip leaving the lens and wrapping round the side. One thing to point out is that the only physical button on this camera is the shutter button for taking pictures.

On the base you can find a memory card slot, so you can store your photos for editing before printing, and a microUSB port, which doesn’t make much sense. The charging port being on the bottom doesn’t allow the camera to stand up when charging, giving aid to scratches on either the front or back of the camera. Would it have been a huge issue to place the charging port on the side? I’m not sure.

The pop up flash on top, actually triples up as a power switch and even a small selfie mirror, so you can frame up your shot before wasting a bit of printing paper. The flash, in its pop up position switches on the camera. To turn it off again, just push it down until you hear an audible clicking noise.

The Polaroid Snap has a pretty impressive specification showing off a 13 megapixel CMOS sensor. The lens actually comes in at 3.4mm f/2.8 focal length meaning there should be some kind of shallow depth of field ability.

Everything is controlled using the 3.5 inch touchscreen on the rear of the camera, fully taking up the space on the unit. For the most part, using the screen to take pictures is passable, but can seem quite grainy, even in the brightest of environments. Flip the screen back and you will find the paper tray which will hold up to 10 sheets of Polaroid ZInk paper. ZInk paper uses heat to expose various areas of the picture. It’s expensive to buy, £20 or so for a three packs of 10 sheets, so make sure you set the camera to manually print, rather than after every single picture.

I found myself battling with the Polaroid Snap Touch’s menu. The icons on screen are incredibly low-res, meaning reading or understanding what they may do could be a bit of a problem. From here however I managed to get to the on board photo filters, but are incredibly basic compared to the quality of some apps like Snapseed or Instagram on your phone.

Unfortunately, the photos that this camera produces sit on par with a mid-range mobile phone, with some noise. However, a saving grace to this is the fact that the photos can be stored on a memory card for later editing on a PC. It’s a nice feature that should definitely be implemented, especially if this becomes your every day snapper. Yes, printing photos is fun, and some colours especially in daylight look pretty good. Low light performance however is a little poor.

If you’re going to be printing photos onto the inkless paper, then you will have to wait around 10 – 15 seconds per print, unlike the instant release on the Fuji Instax cameras. Quality is much better here though so a point goes to Polaroid.

For budding photographers out there, if you’ve got a flagship phone, that’ll do a much better job. For the price, you can’t complain and the added SD card functionality makes this all the more worth it, so you can save your prints for the best photos. The menu system is trash, and is Polaroid’s biggest downfall here. With all things said, the Polaroid Snap Touch is a lot of fun, and I can see it being something teenagers would love to get their hands on to print out pictures for their friends. If you wan to find out more for yourself, then visit the Polaroid Snap Touch website page.

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