Fujifilm’s new Instax Square Link is the latest in the company’s range of pocketable instant photo printers. These printers are made with the same film cartridges used in the Instax instant cameras. They can produce high-quality prints in seconds and have a popular retro look.
As a direct replacement for 2017’s Instax Share SP-3, the new printer brings some welcome updates. But not all the changes are positive.
To help you choose which model to buy, or when it might be time for an upgrade, here are the differences.
The Main Differences in a Glance
The Instax Square Link is now available:
- A new, lighter, and compact design
- Improved print output with the new ‘rich’ print mode
- Bluetooth Connection instead of WiFi
- A USB-C charging port
- New battery, lower in capacity, but with a faster charge time
- All-new smartphone app featuring improved features
InstaxShare SP-3 Features
- Fujifilm mirrorless cameras can be connected directly to this computer
- Indicator lights
- Removable battery
Redesigned Body – smaller and lighter but no Indicators
Available in ‘ash white’ or ‘midnight green’, the Instax Square Link features a smaller and significantly lighter body with subtly curved lines that give it the appearance of a small pillow. Tesla Cybertruck was inspired by the Instax Share SP-3’s pointed, angular design. It comes in simple ‘black’ or ‘white’ versions.
One thing missing from the new printer’s design is the Instax Share SP-3’s row of LED indicator lights. Without having to download the companion app, these lights show how much film is left and how long it will take for them to run out.
Print Output: New Color Mode
The most important change is in the quality and quantity of printed output.
Both printers use Fujifilm’s Instax Square film, which produces 62mm x 62mm images framed on a durable 86mm by 72mm print. The technology and print resolution are the same at 800×800 pixels. There are 256 shades of each red, blue, and green color component.
However, many will prefer the output from the Instax Square Link which now adds Fujifilm’s new ‘Rich’ print mode. This delivers richer, more vibrant colors than the ‘classic’ Instax look, which remains available as an optional setting.
The switch from Wi-Fi connectivity to Bluetooth connectivity is another important change. The Instax SP-3’s Wi-Fi connection could often prove a little cumbersome to set up. Instead of using Wi-Fi, the Instax Square Link works via a simpler Bluetooth4.2 connection.
The printer can also be charged via USB-C ports, rather than micro-USB like the Instax Share SP-3. Note that only Bluetooth connections via the companion app are supported for printing, you can’t print directly from a laptop with a USB cable.
New Battery – Lower capacity, faster charging
Where the Instax Share SP-3 came with a replaceable NP-50 rechargeable battery, the Instax Square Link comes with a fixed battery that can’t be replaced. This reduces the maximum number printed from 160 to 100 per charge. This is something to consider if you intend on using your printer while on the move or at events. The new camera charges much faster than the Instax Share SP-3, which takes three hours to recharge.
All-New Smartphone App
Every Instax printer comes equipped with its own smartphone app. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the Instax Square Link app offers some new features to allow you to edit and enhance your photos.
Both cameras’ apps allow you to edit, crop and save your photos, but the Instax Square Link also adds augmented reality features which let you add animated overlays and messages to your photos which become visible when viewed via the in-app camera.
These can be activated with a QR code. It is printed in the corner and can be scanned using any smartphone. To view the results, the viewer must first have the Instax Square Link App installed. Scanning the QR code will prompt them to install it if they don’t have it already. They don’t need to own an Instax printer to be able to do this, although there are several unnecessary and unskippable setup screens that must be navigated before they can start using it.
Also new is Fujifilm’s Instax Connect feature which allows the user to add personal messages to any image before sending it directly to any of their contacts. A notification will be sent to the recipient allowing them the option to print the image along with the message overlay. You can also set reminders on your calendar.
Direct Camera Connection Removed
Instax Share SP-3 is missing one key feature: the ability to print directly using a variety of Fujifilm digital cameras. This feature allows users of supported cameras to print instant prints directly from their Instax Share SP-3 without needing to open the smartphone app. Unfortunately, direct printing is not available with the new model.
The good news is that the Instax Square Link is significantly less expensive, retailing at £129.99$139.95 USD Vs £174.99/$199.95 USD for the Instax Share SP-3. The Instax Share SP-3 was removed from the US Instax website and prices are already rising as stocks run low.
The bottom line
Although the Instax Square Link prints brighter photos and costs less than the Instax SP-3, it is still smaller and lighter and has a longer battery life. While the new printer will appeal to most users, it is not the best choice for everyone. However, if you are looking for any additional features, consider purchasing an Instax Share SP-3 right away.
The following table lists the key specifications of both printer models.
Follow @paul_monckton Instagram