The Instax Mini Link is a new start for Fujifilm – now featuring Bluetooth connection and a brand new app, this is their best smartphone printer to date.
- Compatible with Apple or Android smartphones
- Easy Bluetooth connection
- Charges via micro USB
- Prints credit card sized Fujifilm Instax Mini film
- Smoother experience than previous printers
- Great new app with fun features
With a new app, new features and smoother experience – the Mini Link is a complete replacement of the Instax Share SP-2/3 series.
Appealing to both young and old crowd – not just creatives. The ease of use makes it perfect for social photography with friends, or as a DIY wedding photo booth.
- New Bluetooth connection
- Fast and simple mobile app
- Fun motion control
- Classy modern design
- Non-removable battery (decent charge though)
What is the Instax Mini Link
The Instax Mini Link is the new flagship in Fuji’s instant printer range.
This is not a standalone camera. It’s a smartphone printer.
Turning any Bluetooth enabled phone into a Polaroid-style vintage print machine.
Unlike its popular cousin, the Instax Mini 9, you have complete control over the image quality and cropping. Still restrained to the instant print format – just without the wasted shots and film.
This product is a range killer for the Instax Share SP-2.
They serve the same function at a similar price. However, there are key differences to the Instax Mini Link that make it so much nicer to use.
Why are Bluetooth Smartphone Printers better
Bluetooth printers are better compared to wifi as they enable a quicker connection whilst staying connected to the internet.
They also instantly reconnect to paired devices. Making it quick and easy to connect each time without fussing about with wifi settings. No passwords. No extra steps involved. Oh, and it also uses marginally less power.
What colors does it come in
The Instax Mini Link comes in three colours at launch; Dusky Pink, Ash White and Dark Denim.
We fully expect new colors to be released in the future – Fuji has a history of releasing special editions and new color ranges.
New and Improved
Entry-level camera products live and die by how easy they are to use. Fujifilm has delivered once again with the Mini Link – a device that will appeal to young and old alike.
Now connecting instantly via Bluetooth, Fujifilm has fixed maybe the biggest flaw from their Instax Share range.
It’s easy to understate the impact this one change has on usage.
The old wifi connection process was a chore. Manually changing your phones wifi connection each time you wanted to print. This also meant you had to pre-download any photos you wanted. Otherwise to print a Facebook photo or email attachment – you had to disconnect, find the photo to download, reconnect, edit and print.
Now you can connect to the printer and the internet at the same time. The Mini Link will automatically reconnect each time if you have previously paired with it.
Instant automatic connection paired with a fast, easy to use app is a massive improvement for usability.
The app is not the only way to control the printer.
The Mini Link has new motion sensor shortcuts.
Some are more useful than others – saving you several in-app clicks each time.
- Standing the printer up takes you back to standard Print mode home screen.
- Pointing the printer down and pressing the power button will reprint the last photo.
- Laying the printer down with power button facing up switches to fun mode.
- Titling the printer adjusts the zoom in camera mode to help you crop those selfies!
You still have to connect to your phone first. But it’s an interesting addition to this smartphone printer which sets it apart feature-wise in a market that can be hard to innovate in.
The new mobile app is a huge improvement over the old one.
Featuring a gorgeous user interface design – this is an app you actually want to spend time in.
The app switches between two modes: Fun mode and Print mode.
Modes can be toggled in-app or by positioning the printer using the motion controls. Switching modes makes different printer features more accessible and changes the apps display theme.
It’s a little gimmicky though, as most print options are available in either mode. All that really changes is the hierarchy of the features are highlighted.
One of the best new features is the ability to print from video.
You can pick a frame from a video within the app and print it within seconds. Great for Boomerangs or people who ten to capture video moments instead of photos.
Both modes have a range of basic editing tools you can use to perfect every print.
Sliders control brightness, contrast and saturation. Easy to apply filters change color modes like black-and-white, sepia and auto. Reposition, crop and rotate act as expected by pinching and rotating.
On a larger smartphone, the in-app preview gives you a close to picture-perfect idea of what your print will look like in real life. Displayed with the iconic white frame overlaid as a preview – you can fine-tune your print with full confidence in the finished product.
We love that this feature has made its way across from the old app. No more costly wasted prints!
Fuji has one last fun gesture built-in though.
When you are ready to print, either hit the big red button in the app – or simply swipe up to send the image off to print!
Unlike pretty much every Fuji app that has come before it, this app is a delight to use. Sleek, fast and fun – it’s street ahead of the old clunky Instax Share app.
One caveat though – It can’t connect directly to Fujifilm X-Series cameras. To do that you need to first transfer images to your phone from your camera.
Features and Design
Fuji has once again gone with a lightweight plastic design. Don’t let this fool you though. This thing feels plenty sturdy.
And plastic keeps the overall weight and price down.
The new-look is minimal in a whole new way.
Sleek and modern without the futuristic styling of the old Instax Share series. The friendly new design will most likely appeal to a broader audience.
A couple of small design tweaks should lead to improved durability.
The pleasing rounded shape should mean less opportunity for any damaging impacts on corners. Whilst certainly not unbreakable, the Mini Link feels like it will handle drops and scrapes quite well.
More importantly, the new design includes a textured plastic exterior. The ridges provide a much grippier surface compared to the smooth and slippery Share series.
Around an inch thick, it’s still not quite pocketable for most. A handbag or backpack most likely required to transport it. Although if you have big coat or jean pockets you can probably stash it easily enough.
The standard mode and most commonly used. Print single photos from your phone. You can apply basic edits such as cropping, filters and image enhancements.
Similar to Simple Print, except you can add frames and overlays to your photos. A fun little mode that can add a bit of flair to your prints.
One of the best new print modes. This option lets you print individual frames from any video on your phone. Easily swipe your way through the video until you find the moment you want! A great feature for people who capture video more than stills. Short videos work best as they are easier to scroll through and load quicker.
Essentially this turns you phone into a temporary “Instax Camera”. By piggybacking your phones internal camera – you can print instantly what you snap. This mode activates the tilt-to-zoom feature of the printers motion controls. We are not sure how much use this mode will get. The strength of the printer and app is the ability to perfectly snap and crop each photo before print.
See how compatible you are with your friends in Match Test mode. Pick or take a photo of you and a friend. Then answer a short quiz about each other (or you can “leave it to fate” aka let the app decide). Your photo will print with a score of how compatible you are together. Great with kids or as an icebreaker at parties maybe – but I wouldn’t bet on the accuracy.
Connect up to five friends together and all submit a photo to print as collage. With Surprise Mode on you can keep the images secret until the print comes out. Everyone will need to install the app (easy) and send their selected photos the controlling account via Bluetooth. The app then randomly mixes the photos together into a single print. Great fun with a group of friends to remember special moments. Coupled with the instant reprint function by upending the printer – this function should be a hit.
Essentially the non-secret version of Party Print. Select several photos to print as a collage – with 14 different layouts to choose from. Alternatively, you can also select Split Print which allows you to print a single image over two prints. Great for best friends!
How to use the Instax Mini Link
The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link is the easiest smartphone printer to use yet. In fact it only has one button!
Coupled with a new in-built motion sensor – that is all of the manual controls on the device. You mostly control it in the companion app.
There is a beautiful LED backlight behind the main button that changes colour to communicate different things such as battery or printing status.
While that may all sound too simple to be user-friendly. This little printer is a delight to use with an app that works from the minute you install it.
How do you turn it on and off
Remember that one big button I mentioned? Well it doubles as the Instax logo and is the only button on the device.
Press and hold the power button for about one second to turn the device on or off.
How to connect to it
Simply download and install the Mini Link App from your app store.
Open the app and turn on the printer. Then follow the on-screen instructions to connect via Bluetooth.
It really is as easy as that. We haven’t heard of anyone having any issues connecting after trying with several phones.
How long does it take to charge
Instax Mini Link charging time is around 80 to 120 minutes. Not super fast, but not slow either.
The best bit?
You can still print an image while charging is in progress.
This is a huge feature for those of you wanting to use these devices at a wedding or party.
Unlike older models, you can’t just pop new batteries in as the battery is non-removable. So keep the unit plugged-in, or have backup units available with a full charge.
According to Fuji you will get approx 100 prints off a charge. Real-world usage will vary but has been slightly less for us so far.
You can charge from a compatible PC via USB, but we recommend sticking to a wall socket.
Battery status can be checked within the app and vis the LED indicator (Red for low battery, Green for over 50% left).
How do you put film in it?
Like all Instax devices, you will find a large hinged door on the back of the printer.
Find the small spring-loaded catch that pops the compartment open and press it. The door will pop open and you can load your film in.
Line up the yellow marker on your new cartridge to the one in your camera and simply click the cartridge in.
What film does the Instax Mini Link use
The Mini Link uses the standard Instax Mini film. Roughly credit card size, it’s the perfect size to snap and stash in your wallet.
The film comes in color or black-and-white monochrome.
We always recommend buying in bulk to bring your overall price-per-print cost down.
Like all instant photo printers – Instax prints aren’t amazingly sharp or big.
But it’s not about the quality – it’s about the feeling. The nostalgia these little prints give each time they develop is mesmerizing. The instant memories it captures in a pocketable print is heartwarming.
These devices are about socializing and connecting with friends and family.
Fujifilm has a company ethos of constant improvement.
And that’s exactly what they have done here.
Small, but important changes have elevated this smartphone printer to another level.
Switching to Bluetooth from wifi makes all the difference in day-to-day usability. No longer a chore to undertake – firing up the Instax Mini Link makes printing photos fun again.
The addition of the motion sensor and built-in rechargeable lithium battery adds that little bit extra to what otherwise may have been a software-only upgrade.
Speaking of which, the app is an absolute dream. A bigger feature than any improvements to the hardware itself. Some of the new modes may be a bit gimmicky – but each to their own.
One thing’s for sure – the Instax Mini Link is now the must-have instant photo printer.
Compared to the older Instax Share SP-2, the Mini Link blows it out of the water.
Unless you can find one up for a great bargain, the update to Bluetooth alone makes the Mini Link the clear winner.
If you want larger, original Polaroid-style square shots – then the larger Instax Share SP-3 is still a good option. Although if you wait, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a square version of the Link come out soon.
Should you buy it?
If you are in the market for a Polaroid-style instant photo printer – then absolutely yes.
It’s the best Bluetooth smartphone printer yet.
With the print quality on most instant photo printers being basically the same – choosing a device comes down to the features and extras.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link delivers on all fronts with a great app, fun features and excellent build quality and design.
Grab one for yourself, and as your next crowd-pleasing gift. The price is still great value for the extra functions and ease of use.
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Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer Review (2020)
The Instax Mini Link is a new start for Fujifilm - now featuring Bluetooth connection and a brand new app, this is their best smartphone printer to date.
Product Brand: Fujifilm