Two minute review
Fujifilm Instax Link Wide Specifications
Movie format: Fujifilm Instax Wide
Battery: li-on, rechargeable via microUSB. About 100 shots
Instax Wide is Fuji’s largest instant film format, but you may not know it.
The cameras that use it are big, bulky, and far outnumbered those that use the credit card-sized Instax Mini. Fuji has only released one since 2015, the Instax Wide 300. However, for a Bluetooth printer like the Instax Link Wide, it makes a lot more sense.
The slim, battery-powered printer lets you turn photos from your smartphone into physical prints at home or on the go. Coupled with Fuji’s companion app, you can edit your photos, add filters, and generally get creative before hitting print, and not worry about wasting expensive film like you could with one of the best instant cameras.
With just one button, the Instax Wide is as easy as it gets. The photos it produces are rich, detailed and, for their sheer size, quite impressive. Because they are developed rather than printed, they have the signature style that makes instant film so much fun to use – although it means waiting a minute or two between pressing the print and seeing the final result.
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It’s much less complex than the rival Polaroid Lab, which looks more like a desktop darkroom than a printer in the way it ‘exposes’ each photo using your smartphone’s screen, and more authentic than cheaper ZINK- printers, which rely on thermally sensitive paper.
Aside from the film cost, which is among the highest of any instant film format, the Instax Link Wide has very few weaknesses. Whether you already have an instant camera or not, the combination of smartphone control and physical photos is among the very best out there.
Fujifilm Instax Link Wide: Design and Features
- Prints Instax Wide 99 x 62mm photos
- Compact dimensions
- Ultra-easy operation
The printer itself is simple, a relatively slim plastic rectangle with rounded edges and a textured finish that looks rather classy. It’s still not small enough to slip into a pocket, but you’ll have a lot less trouble slipping it into a bag than you would with the Instax Wide 300 camera.
With a simple plastic base you can place it upright on a desk while printing at home, while the wrist strap comes in handy when you go out.
There is only one button on the front of the printer that turns it on. A color-changing LED indicates when you’re printing a photo, and you can adjust the hue with the companion app. This app handles all other functions and reminds you how many photos you have left in your movie pack.
The packages are loaded at the rear. Slide the latch and the film door will pop open, then position the package so that the yellow line on the film aligns with the one on the printer. Close the door and the printer will automatically spit out the protective plastic sleeve from the package.
Instax Wide film is available in packs of ten shots for around £8.50 each (or $18 for 20 shots). The most common variant has a traditional white border, but Fuji also makes packaging with black borders and you can buy both monochrome film and color. However, the selection dwarfs that of Instax Mini, which comes in a variety of frame colors.
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Fujifilm Instax Link Wide: Performance
- Intuitive app connects quickly
- Simple software user interface
- Charging via microUSB
Linking the printer to your phone is as easy as turning on the former and opening the app on the latter. It automatically searches for nearby Instax printers and connects with a few taps. You can also pair a handful of Fuji digital cameras and print directly from them, but the list of compatible models is quite small at the moment.
The main screen of the app contains almost all the important functions, from simple prints to collages, templates and sketches that use your phone’s camera to scan and combine multiple elements. With Easy Print, you can choose any photo from your camera roll, then zoom, crop and adjust colors, apply a filter, or add text effects before sending it to print. It’s all very intuitive and creative types will love to experiment with their images.
QR codes are a nice extra, allowing you to add a web shortcut to your photos that can reveal a location, display a secret message, or play a recorded sound when followed by a smartphone’s camera.
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When you’re happy, press the large print button and the finished image ‘flies’ up to the top of your phone, as if sent to the printer on a tractor beam. Each print takes about 30 seconds to transfer and another minute or so to develop. You can’t connect the printer to a PC or a Mac – it only works through the app, which is available for Android and iOS.
The printer’s remaining battery life is always displayed at the top of the main app screen. Fuji claims the Instax Link Wide is good for 100 prints on a full charge, although in our tests it dropped 20% after just ten prints. Charging is via microUSB and takes about two hours for a full recharge.
Fujifilm Instax Link Wide: Image Quality
- Natural colors and contrast
- Impressive level of detail
- Choice of rich or natural color rendering
Instax film is developed rather than printed, creating a signature look that is consistent across formats. The photos from the Instax Link Wide are similar to Instax Mini in terms of color, contrast, and exposure – only they have more impact because they are twice the size.
The film’s 3:2 aspect ratio is closer to the typical ratio of a digital camera or smartphone than Polaroid’s square crop, meaning you don’t have to think as much about how to frame your subject.
Photos are vibrant, with some tones like blues and greens having more punch than others in the default “Instax-Rich” mode. You can swap this for “Instax-Natural” in the app’s settings, which makes for a more muted look that we typically associate with the early 1970s instant film. We preferred the Rich mode, which really makes every print stand out.
The clarity of the image is quite impressive, with an impressive level of brightness even in wide landscape shots. Only the brightest images show signs of exposure burst and largely match the digital originals rather than being affected by the printing process.
Still, Instax will be no match for an inkjet photo printer when it comes to general definition, sharpness or color accuracy. If you prefer that to the charm of instant film, the Instax Link Wide may not be for you.
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Fujifilm Instax Link Wide verdict
For the largest, most colorful instant prints wherever you are, without having to lug around a huge instant camera, the Instax Link Wide ticks all the boxes. It’s easy to use, but with the companion app you can get surprisingly creative with your photos whenever you want, and don’t forget the fun nature of instant film.
A wider range of Instax Wide film types would be nice, as would faster USB Type-C charging, but otherwise there’s not much to grumble about here.
If you’re just looking for physical versions of your digital photos, a dedicated photo printer might make more sense financially, but it won’t have the same charm as the Instax Link Wide. It’s simply the best Instax printer out there right now.