Nowadays, many would agree that the easiest and most convenient way to view photos is on a screen – whether that’s on a phone, a tablet, a TV, or a monitor, and to an extent, I actually agree.
Still, there are times when you want to convert a digital image into something that you can physically touch and keep, like a physical memory of the moment, if I would call it. There’s just a different feeling to being able to hang and entire gallery of photos as a decoration in your room, or putting one in your wallet for that bit of inspiration when needed.
That’s where a device like the instax Link WIDE comes in. It allows you to print your photos straight from your smartphone or tablet almost instantly, into small prints that you can easily keep and share.
The instax Link WIDE is designed to be as portable as possible, which means it’s small enough to fit in just about any standard pouch or backpack. It’s a rechargeable device, so there’s no need to carry batteries or power bricks. My only complain is that it still uses a dated micro USB port. Fortunately, you do get a cable with the box.
The instax logo in the middle lights up to show when it’s printing, charging, low on battery, or on standby. It also works as the power button. Like other instax cameras I’ve tried, you’ll need photo papers for this one.
As for the price, I looked it up online and a pack with 20 sheets will set you back PhP800. Loading photo papers to the camera is easy and almost effortless.
To print on the instax Link WIDE, you’ll need to install the Link WIDE app on your mobile device. After pairing to the printer, it is a very straightforward process for printing. For printing a single image, you’ll mostly use the Simple Print mode, which lets you choose a photo from your phone, and then print it.
Prior to printing you’ll be able to add text and stickers to your photo. There are also several filters, and options for adjusting a number of elements on your images such as brightness and contrast. You can also rotate the image and zoom in or out for a better view.
Using Collage Print, you’ll be able to select from a variety of pre-determined formats, and select a photo for each block. You can also individually edit each photo in the collage to improve the final output.
One cool feature of the app is the ability to add a QR code to the photo, which can be linked to a website, location, a hidden message, or even an audio clip. You’ll have to be online to be able to view say the hidden message or audio recording. There is also a 10-second limit on the latter.
There are also numerous templates that you can choose from, or, if you want “capture” text from another image, you can use the Sketch, Edit & Print mode, which lets you use the camera to capture elements from subjects – say another image and then use them on your photos.
Each printing cycle, including the time it takes to send the data from your mobile device to the printer takes around 20 to 30 seconds. Of course, you’ll have to wait a bit for the image to actually appear on the paper.
Unfortunately, the unit that was sent to us didn’t come with a micro USB cable, and all of the ones I had at home didn’t seem to work. The brand however, claims up to a hundred prints from full charge, which to me seems like a pretty good amount of uptime considering how compact this device is.
For what it’s worth, the instax Link WIDE is a great tool for sharing those important moments. It’s more than compact enough that you can bring it basically anywhere, and the flexibility of being able to spice up your photos with collages, stickers, and a lot more, basically means you’re carrying a mobile print studio in your bag.
If I had to really nitpick, it would be that it still uses a micro USB port, which has already been replaced by USB-C in majority of today’s mobile devices, heck, even my cheap RGB light at home has a USB-C port.
Then there’s the price. At PhP8,999, it isn’t cheap by any means, but if you’re someone who travels a lot and you want to keep a physical reminder of every meaningful moment, something you can keep and come back to once in a while, then I think that it’s a worthy investment.