If you're like most people I know, you take a lot of snapshots with your smartphone. And, sure, you probably occasionally flip through them to show shots to your friends and family, but you probably rarely if ever print them -- for yourself or others.
Still, there's something about having prints instead of staring at a screen, and that's what makes Fujifilm's little portable printer so nice.
The Instax Share SP-1 sells for about $160 (£140, AU$160), measures 4 inches wide by 1.7 inches high by 4.5 inches deep (101.6 by 42 by 122.5 mm), and isn't a traditional photo printer. There are no ink tanks or stacks of blank photo paper needed.
Instead, it uses a 10-print cartridge of instant film, the kind most commonly associated with Polaroid cameras. It's the same film used for Fujifilm's Instax Mini cameras and can be found for around $15 (£18, AU$30) for two cartridges. The prints are small at 3.4 by 2.1 inches (86 by 54 mm), though the actual image size is 2.4 by 1.8 inches (62 by 46 mm).
That's not exactly cheap, but the benefit here is that, unlike using one of the Instax Mini cameras, there are no wasted prints since you're using shots from your smartphone.
Setup is easy. The printer runs on two CR2 lithium batteries, but can also be powered by an optional AC adapter (not included). Pop in the batteries, drop in a film cartridge, and you're ready.
Power up the printer and launch the iOS or Android app and pick a photo to print or shoot a new one. Once you've got the shot you want, you can do some minor editing within the app. This includes applying a black-and-white or sepia filter or Fujifilm's Intelligence Filter that helps your photos pop a bit, rotating the image, or enlarging to crop.
You can also apply different templates, too. There are basic ones that allow you to add text or color borders or both. But you can also use a social-network template, so if you pull a photo from Facebook it will print with your profile photo and number of Likes. There's a Real Time template as well that prints the date, place, weather, temperature, and humidity with the photo.
When you're done with your edits, there's a Connect and Print button in the app. The printer basically acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot with its own SSID that you connect to with your phone or tablet. Once connected the picture will send to the printer and pop out the top (or front). The whole process takes about 30 seconds with additional prints taking about half that time.
Green LEDs on the front let you see how many prints are left and how much battery power remains (Fujifilm says the batteries are good for up to 100 prints). There's also a reprint button on the side for when you want to hand out multiple prints to friends and family.
Maybe it's the combination of old and new or the compact size and simplicity or that the wireless makes it feel a bit magical or maybe it's just nice to have a print -- even a small one -- of something that's trapped on a screen. Whatever it is, the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 is a blast. It's not a product for everyone and the cost of the printer and prints probably puts it just outside of impulse buy territory for most. But, again, it's just nice to have a print sometimes and the SP-1 delivers that.