Bottom line: The printed photo is very similar to original Polaroids in that there’s even a development time. For many, it’s probably as close as they’ll get to the experience of a classic Polaroid camera.
To use it, simply load a photo into the Polaroid Originals app on your phone then place the handset face down on the top of the machine. When you press the red button, a combination of mirrors, light and “unique Polaroid chemistry” cast the photo onto film which ejects from the bottom of the machine.
Polaroid’s latest looks to be a remake of the Impossible Instant Lab, an instant photo machine that raised more than half a million on Kickstarter in 2012. The device was sold until mid-2017 when it was discontinued.
It’s a fun and quirky product although presumably, not without fault. First, you’ll need a compatible smartphone. Polaroid said the machine works with iPhone 6S and newer running iOS 11 or later as well as current models of Samsung, Google Pixel, One Plus and Huawei phones with Android 7 or later.
One also has to wonder what sort of impact a thick case, screen protector or busted display would have on the quality of generated images. Plus, there’s the recurring cost of keeping it stocked with film which is very expensive on a per-photo basis (an 8-pack of color i-Type film sells for $15.99).
The Polaroid Lab is a lot like Sony’s Walkman. Technology has made the process significantly better than it used to be but there’s just something endearing about using retro tech. The Polaroid Lab retails for $129.99 and is slated to arrive on October 10.