We compare two of Fujifilm’s smartphone printers side-by-side to discover the key differences – and find out why the Instax Mini Link is better than the SP-2.
|Fujifilm Instax Mini Link
|Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2
|Fresh, functional and with plenty of new features - the Mini Link is a fantastic and fun smartphone printer.
|Sharp and simple with some good features, the SP-2 app and design has not aged well.
|- Faster, smaller, lighter
- New app, connection method and features
- Removable battery
|- Non-removable battery
|- Slower, clunky connection
- Old app, lack of features
Fujifilm’s latest smartphone printer the Instax Mini Link has hit the shelves just in time for Christmas.
And it’s a game-changer.
So we decided to take a detailed look at how it compares to the current favourite, the Instax Share SP-2.
- Switching to Bluetooth is a major step forward
- The differences and similarities between them
- Why the Mini Link is better
- Which one is best for you
Key Differences Between Them
1. Bluetooth vs Wifi
The biggest change between these two smartphone printers is actually a small one.
From wifi to Bluetooth.
This might not seem like a big deal to most. But the day-to-day usability improvements and time savings it delivers are a massive improvement.
Connection to the Instax Mini Link is a breeze compared to the older SP-2.
No more fussing around with passwords and wifi networks.
The Mini Link pairs easily through the new companion app and automatically reconnects each time it’s switched on.
Connecting via Bluetooth also allows your phone to stay connected to the internet while you use the Mini Link to print your photos.
Fast and simple. Bluetooth is the clear winner in terms of connectivity.
2. New App
The second major difference between these printers – has nothing to do with the hardware at all.
It’s finally an app worthy of writing about.
The new Instax Mini Link app just works as a modern app should. Unlike it’s Instax Share app predecessor – the new app is a delight to use.
Beautifully designed, simple to use and not clunky at all – this feels like a whole new era for instant photo printers.
Launching with a whole range of fun new features and print templates – you can read my full review of the Instax Mini Link and app for more details.
Really the only downside with this new app is that it isn’t backwards compatible with the older printer models.
I won’t think twice about uninstalling the Instax Share app though.
3. Design, weight and size
Fujifilm hasn’t reached the heights of Polaroid in terms of iconic design for its Instax devices yet.
But the Share SP-2 design was a clear breakaway from the fun and friendly look of previous Instax cameras.
Clearly, the idea was to turn smartphone printers into a must-have fashion accessory rather than a kids toy.
Sleek, sharp and futuristic looking. The Share SP-2 design wasn’t for everyone.
With the Mini Link, Fuji appears to have reverted back to a fun design that should appeal to a wider audience.
Featuring a rounded body made from a grippy textured plastic – it manages to blend modern and sleek design with a friendly overall feel.
The Mini Link is also smaller and lighter.
Coming in around 20% lighter than the SP-2 (and that’s not including the SP-2’s battery). It’s a significant saving for an already light product.
Dimension-wise Fuji has also managed to make some good savings.
Overall these reductions make the Mini Link feel a lot more pocketable than the SP-2.
4. What colors they come in
The final decision when buying an instant photo printer often comes down to style more than features.
This is to be expected considering the final print quality is basically the same.
So it’s not surprising buyers like to pick their favorite look instead of prioritising secondary features.
And again this is where the Insta Mini Link wins.
Initially available in three colors – Ash White, Dusty Pink and Dark Denim Blue – I fully expect Fuji to release more colors down the line.
Either way, it’s still more color options than the SP-2.
Despite claiming Gold and Silver as options, both of these colorways appear pretty much the same. The “color” is just a strip along the sides with the bulk of the body a shiny white plastic.
1. Print quality is the same
While some reviews like to claim that new Instax printers are sharper or better – the reality is the print quality is all pretty much the same.
Official specs are 320 dpi resolution at a prints size of 62mm x 46mm.
What this really works out to be is an image of 800 × 600 dots or pixels.
But here’s the thing…
It’s not about the specs.
You don’t get into the instant photo game for the highest quality print or bleeding-edge tech.
It’s about the look and feel of this beautiful format. The instant gratification and truly one-off memories you can create.
Which brings us to…
2. They both use the same film
Yep. Both printers are from Fuji’s Instax Mini range – meaning they use Instax Mini film.
The full print size with frame included is 86mm x 54mm. Roughly the same as most credit or business cards.
Mini film is a great size for stashing in your wallet or making photo albums out of. If you are looking for a more classic Polaroid-style print – then I’d recommend the Instax Share SP-3 which uses Instax Square film.
Instax Mini film comes in two print types – full-colour or black-and-white monochrome – with lots of frame variations.
Frames come in all sorts of colors and patterns from pure black to Candy Pop – but these are sometimes harder to come by.
3. Rechargeable batteries
Both printers come with rechargeable batteries – which is really a must on a device like this.
This was a lesson Fujifilm learned from their first printer, the Share SP-1, which featured an AC power connection and uncommon CR2 batteries – a real pain to find for most users.
Now you can easily charge via Micro-USB and even print while plugged-in.
One small win for the SP-2 here is that the battery is removable and rechargeable. The battery model is NP-45S, which is used on a variety of Fuji cameras and can be charged in a separate charger.
4. Charge time and print capacity
Importantly, each printer has a relatively short charge time and lasts for a good number of prints.
Both take around 90mins to fully charge and you get approx 100 prints per charge.
Our real-world usage has anecdotally been a little less than 100 per charge. But it’s still more than enough as you will rarely be printing that many off one charge.
Except maybe for weddings or parties…
In which case, keep the Instax Mini Link plugged-in at the wall, or have a backup device. For the Share SP-2 you can use the same tactic, or have backup batteries.
Aside from the four main differences we listed above, there are a number of smaller changes that separate these devices.
None of these are deal-breakers or significant advantages.
But, everyone’s usage is different – and the may just be something in here that is more useful to you than the average user.
Direct print from X-Series and GFX cameras
Utilising the slower wifi connection, you can connect your X-Series of GFX camera directly to the Instax Share SP-2 and print from your camera. Handy for on-the-go printing. We feel this isn’t much of a benefit as most photographers prefer to transfer and edit images on their phone first before printing.
As covered before, the SP-2 does feature Fujifilm removable batteries that may even be compatible with your other Fuji cameras. Useful for some, again the charge in these printers is pretty good that in practice most people won’t need to swap batteries.
Film indicator lights
Maybe the one great little physical feature that’s been removed on the newer device. The older SP-2 has ten small LED indicators that show you how many prints left in your current cartridge. A very handy feature that is done through the app on the Mini Link.
Weird Social Media mode
Not really a benefit. The Social Media mode allows you to print directly from a couple of social media channels. However you better have a mobile data connection – otherwise, you need to preload the post before you disconnect from the internet to connect with the printer. Seems like Fuji didn’t exactly think this one through.
Real-time, Limited and Seasonal templates
The Share SP-2 came with some fun print templates that have been omitted. Real-time printed the date, place, weather, temperature, and humidity are indicated in the frame. Limited marked each copy of a print with a number to indicate a limited print run. Seasonal had a small number of special occasion headers that could be added to your frame such as “Best Wishes!” and “PARTY!”.
Instax Mini Link differences
Smaller and lighter
The product designers at Fuji have found yet another way to reduce the bulk on the Mini Link. Over 50 grams lighter and with noticeably smaller dimensions – it’s far closer to a truly pocketable device than the SP-2. Most people will still need a case or bag to transport it, but with big enough jacket or pant pockets, you can certainly stash it quickly if needed.
Easily the biggest new hardware addition to the Instax printer line-up. Time will tell if it’s a gimmick or a truly useful way of controlling your device. Our early usage suggests it saves several app clicks for common tasks – but some features like the photo zoom are a little redundant.
Or more accurately – one button. Reprint is now done through a combination of motion control and holding the power button down. Fuji really wants you to control your printer mostly through the app for better print results by removing extra buttons. And why would you not! The new app is a breeze to use.
More social modes and templates
Hand in hand with the new companion app is a range of new print modes and templates.
There are some pretty fun new features here that make using this Instax printer in a social setting a great conversation starter.
Check out our full Mini Link review for details on the various print modes.
Which smartphone printer is better
The Instax Mini Link is a better smartphone printer compared to the Share SP-2.
Smaller, lighter and faster.
It ships with a number of great new features and a terrific new app that adds loads of new filters and templates.
Fujifilm has really delivered some significant improvements in the Mini Link that make this device better in most ways, and far more easy and fun to use.
Which should you buy
Despite the SP-2 featuring removable batteries, the massive improvements in the Mini Link app and the usability benefits of Bluetooth make the Mini Link a far better choice for most.
If you are travelling and need the ability to replace the batteries – then go with the Instax Share SP-2.
The same applies for anyone wanting to use these printers as a DIY photo booth at a party and may not have wall socket power available.
For almost everyone else – pick the superior Instax Mini Link.
Battery life is still great, and I guarantee you will enjoy using it more with this latest round of improvements.