Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky

The Polaroid Lab instant printer - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, Shoot It With Film may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Written by Samantha Stortecky

Welcome back friends, we have a fun article for you today!

If you saw my last article on a review for the Fujifilm Instax SP-2 printer, you know that while I love film and am a huge advocate for keeping it alive, I’m also a sucker for a good shortcut to getting awesome film images.

Which is why we’re going to be chatting about and reviewing the Polaroid Lab printer.

Find the Polaroid Lab Printer on Amazon.

Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review
Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review
Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review
The Polaroid Lab instant printer - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

During this day and age, it’s common to have a phone gallery that is overflowing with picture after picture.

And what better way to appreciate all your phone images than by printing them off on a handy dandy Polaroid?!

So, let’s jump right in and cover some of the details on this innovative printer!

An Overview of the Polaroid Lab

Let’s cover some of the basic details and information about the Polaroid Lab printer first.

This printer is sold by Polaroid and uses a 3-lens system that projects the image from your phone to the printer, using 100% real film chemistry to print your image.

This printer typically runs around $130 or a bit more if you purchase the starter pack that includes two packs of film.

The printer comes with a rechargeable battery and a USB charging cable, as well as a cover for the top of the lens on the printer.

The Polaroid Lab instant printer - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

The Polaroid Lab has a top lens that pops up when the printer is turned on.

When closed the printer is 5.9 inches in length, 4.6 inches in width, and 4.9 inches in height. Once the printer is turned on the height changes to 7 inches.

Without a film pack, the printer itself is about 1.45 lbs and uses an optical grade acrylic lens that has an Augmented Reality (AR) coated top level surface.

The shutter system is a fixed aperture, and the printer as a whole works alongside the Polaroid Originals app that is available both in the iOS App Store and on Google Play for Android.

Polaroid picture of a beach landscape - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
Grab your free copy of the Shoot It With Film magazine!

Using the Polaroid Lab and the Polaroid Originals App

Very much like other instant film printers, using the Polaroid Lab is incredibly easy.

All it takes is opening the official Polaroid Originals app on your phone and following the steps. (Find the app for iOS and Android.)

The app works incredibly well as it takes you step by step on the settings to choose and how to line your phone up with the printer to achieve the best outcome.

The Polaroid App for the Polaroid Lab - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

App Settings

After pulling up the app on your phone, you have the ability to choose how you plan on printing by choosing the “Polaroid Lab” printer at the bottom of the screen.

Now is the fun part, you get to choose what image you want to see come to life!

Polaroid picture of a child with sunglasses - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

Editing Your Images for Printing

One of my recommendations is that you don’t do too many edits to your original image that is on your phone. Just a few tweaks to your brightness and contrast is enough!

Keeping your edits to a minimum will allow the style and colors that Polaroid images to really shine.

Once you’ve pulled up the image on your phone within the Polaroid Lab app you can click the text/icons at the top right of the screen to make any final edits before printing.

  • The color film setting will allow you to change the type of film cartridge that you have within the actual printer such as black & white, color 600, or i-Type.
  • The editing icon gives you the option to change the printed images exposure and contrast depending on what style you’re going for. (Note: if your phone image isn’t bright enough the printer will give you an error message so make sure your image has enough exposure!)
  • The lightbulb icon will bring up a tab that gives you more information and tutorials on how to properly use your Polaroid printer.
Polaroid picture of a dog - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

Printing Your Image

To print out your image, line up the phone screen with the top of the printer.

You’ll know it’s lined up perfectly when the rainbow Polaroid lines on the front of the printer will blink three times and will chime when it’s good to go!

Then, all you do is press the red button and wait for the magic to happen!

Polaroid picture of a little girl smiling - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
Polaroid picture of a coffee drink - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

The Augmented Reality Feature

One of the coolest features that this printer offers is the ability to create Polaroid prints that work as Augmented Reality!

It’s a feature where you can attach a video to your Polaroid image before printing it so that when you scan the printed Polaroid with the app, you get to see the video that’s attached to it.

Gif of the Polaroid Lab instant printer augmented reality feature - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film
The Augmented Reality Feature

Pros of the Polaroid Lab Printer

There a bunch of pros for the Polaroid Lab printer!

One of my favorite aspects is that you get to pick and choose what Polaroid film stock you want to print your images on!

This is great for all my friends on a budget because the Polaroid i-Type film is cheaper than the 600 film because there is no internal battery within the film cartridges themselves.

Since you can use different types of Polaroid film cartridges, this gives you a ton of room to experiment and try out different styles and images.

And on the topic of experimenting, within the Polaroid app, you have the opportunity to print out a specific image in a collage form. You can break a single image into anywhere from two to nine printed Polaroids to create a collage.

Here’s an example of me trying out the 4-image collage feature:

A collage of Polaroid pictures of a sunset - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

Another awesome pro is that the printer itself can hold a charge for a tremendous amount of time.

When I first bought it, I charged the printer, tried it out, and put it in storage where it proceeded to hang out for a few months (what can I say, I’m busy). And after being turned off for such a long time, the battery retained its charge and was ready to go when I finally pulled it out of storage.

Polaroid picture of a landscape - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

Cons of the Polaroid Lab

For me, the biggest con with the Polaroid Lab is with how sensitive the printer can be.

I’ve had multiple images not expose or turn out correctly because I’ve had a screen protector on my phone, or the brightness wasn’t turned all the way up.

Because the printer takes the image directly from your phone screen, you must make sure that your screen is cleaned and that you don’t have any other settings on that could affect the outcome of your image.

Polaroid picture of flowers - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

A potential con is also the size and weight of the printer.

It is not travel friendly as it tends to take up a bunch of space and is so oddly shaped.

For this, I recommend investing in a storage case that not only holds the printer but three different cartridges of film as well.

And honestly, with how easy it is to print, I can look over the fact that it’s not always travel friendly.

And lastly, the top cover for the printer doesn’t snap on. It’s just a cover that lays over the top which makes it all too easy to knock it off, leaving the top of your printer exposed and susceptible to dust or possible damage.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, this printer is a wonderful addition to anyone’s film collection. It’s the perfect way to get all those phone images out of your gallery and into a tangible picture that can be enjoyed!

It’s also a great way for someone to get accustomed to the appearance of Polaroid images without running the risk of potentially ruining film by trying to figure out a camera.

Overall, if you’re a Polaroid lover and you have way too many pictures hanging out on your mobile phone, the Polaroid Lab printer is the perfect companion for you!

The Polaroid Lab instant printer - Polaroid Lab Instant Printer Review by Samantha Stortecky on Shoot It With Film

Thank you so much, Samantha! Samantha is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out her other articles here, including a Fujifilm Instax SP2 printer review and how to shoot Kodak Portra 400.

You can also check out more of Samantha’s work on her website and Instagram.

Let us know any questions you have about the Polaroid Lab printer below in the comments, and you can pick up a Polaroid Lab starter kit for yourself on Amazon!

Shoot It With Film Magazine Issue 01 Promo Image

Samantha Stortecky

Samantha Stortecky is a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as How to Shoot Kodak Portra 400 and 5 Unique & Experimental Film Stocks You Need to Try.

Tags:
Blog Comments

Curious as to whether the films and printer would be useful in polaroid transfers and/or manipulation as I am interested in giving them a try; however, don’t seem to be able to find the appropriate “old” film and an affordable “old” camera.
Thanks

Yes, this film works for Polaroid transfers and emulsion lifts, and the printer is a great way to experiment with that! Here’s a great link with an overview of the Polaroid transfer process: https://shootitwithfilm.com/how-to-do-polaroid-transfers/

Leave a Comment