In the age of smartphones and quick and easy photography, it almost becomes a reflex to take snaps of whatever situation we’re in. It’s so easy to capture moments. And we’re no longer required to take the extra step of going to a photo printer to see the pictures we’ve taken. These are all accessible in our digital albums and on our social media accounts.
But as a 33-year-old who still has an actual photo album filled with baby pictures and grew up going to the mall to take studio photos with friends, there are times when I wish I did have more physical copies of my favorite moments. Now, most of them are scattered in different devices and hard drives that thinking about digging these up feels a bit daunting. (My lack of digital photo organization is partly to blame for that.)
I miss the tangibility of a print, and thankfully, there are brands like Fujifilm’s instax that make it possible to get printed copies of the big and little moments of our lives. And what’s better this time around is you have the option to print out your favorite landscape shots with ease.
The instax Link Wide is built to print in landscape, a departure from the typical portrait instax prints. So, you can print those group shots you’ve taken with your friends, family, co-workers, and others much easier now.
Fujifilm instax Philippines lent us its new smartphone printer to try out, and I’m here to share my experience with the instax Link Wide.
Let’s talk design
The instax Link Wide comes in a square, textured plastic shell weighing around 340g. The company encourages you to carry it around by including a strap in the box. What I’m missing is a carrying case. I wish it came with one, too. But I’ve seen third-party options for that online.
If you want to keep it at home, instax includes a stand in the box. You can just place it on your desk and have the printer standing there at the ready when you need it. instax keeps the colors relatively neutral, coming in Ash White and Mocha Gray. It makes it easily blend in with your interiors.
One cute design touch I like about the instax Link Wide is the customizable power button LED light. You can choose how the LED glows when you startup the unit.
LiTT Tip #1: To change the power button’s LED color, open the instax Link Wide app, head to Settings (the cogwheel) > Power On Button Light Setting. There you get four options: Rainbow, Warm color gradation, Cool color gradation, and White.
Setting up the printer
The instax Link Wide mainly needs its companion mobile application to work. The instax Link Wide app is available on both Android and iOS, so you shouldn’t have a problem with connecting it to your smartphone of choice. Fujifilm X-S10 owners get singled out as the only Fujifilm model that can use the Link Wide.
The setup process isn’t complicated. You just need to enable the Bluetooth on your phone to get the two devices to pair. It takes a couple of minutes to do this.
I haven’t used an instax printer before, so I was initially intimidated by the film loading process. But admittedly, there isn’t much to be worried about. Putting in the film isn’t as complicated as it seems, even for a first-time user like me. I just turned to the included manual and got the printer setup quickly, too.
Time to print
As a smartphone printer, the instax Link Wide makes it much easier to turn those digital photos into physical prints. Printing is done as quickly as tapping on the Simple Print option in the app.
The Link Wide offers two print modes to help you achieve the look you want for your pictures. There’s the instax-Rich and instax-Natural mode. The former uses the colors you see on your smartphone screen, while the latter offers you the classic, slightly faded instax aesthetic.
Aside from setting the print mode, you can tweak the photo slightly through the app before printing. You can add text, change the zoom and rotation, apply a filter (Monochrome, Sepia, or Auto), and correct Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation. You can do more edits, but I’ll get into that later.
Another handy feature is you can enable multi-reprints per photo. So, if you’re printing a group shot and want to share it with friends, you can easily do that. It’s also useful if you’re using instax film prints as souvenirs or invites as this helps make the experience much easier.
It takes around 90 seconds for the print to fully develop the film. I don’t have 100 pieces of instax film with me, but the company claims it lasts around 100 prints before you need to recharge the instax Link Wide. According to Fujifilm, you can still print photos while it charges. It takes approximately 80 to 120 minutes to recharge the unit completely.
LiTT Tip #2: To change the print mode, head to Settings > Print Mode Options. You get to choose between the two options (instax-Rich and instax-Natural) there.
As I mentioned earlier, there are more ways to edit photos before printing them. The instax Link Wide supports editable templates in the app. You can go as far as changing the colors of the elements or editing the text in the templates before printing. You can add stickers to your pictures or even your signature.
The latter is accessible through the Sketch, Edit, & Print feature. It allows you to import or take a photo of something like your logo or signature and then paste these on your pictures. I needed to try this out to get a feel for it.
When taking a photo of something in the real world, you’ll need to practice to get the portion of the text or image you want. You’ll need to align the center dot to the color/portion you want to cut out. It feels easier to do this with a digital copy of a logo or signature. But it’s still incredible how it can isolate the text or portion from the background to give you a clean copy of your logo.
I see this being helpful for prints of invites, products, or when you just want that special touch on your pictures.
If you want to make collages on your instax prints, the Link Wide offers a Collage Print option, too.
Another useful, unique feature of the instax Link Wide is the addition of the QR Print Mode. It lets you add a QR code to your photos that can redirect the recipient to one of four things:
- An audio clip
- A hidden text message
- A location pin
- And a URL link
The first two personalizes the memories you capture in these photos, letting the recipient know you’re thinking about them. The audio clips and text messages are kept online for exactly a year, starting on the day you created them. The latter can be helpful for event invites or a simple advertisement of a business. You can customize the color of the QR code from within the app.
The instax Link Wide is one of my favorite gadgets I’ve tested this year. It’s most likely because it let me turn precious and meaningful moments in my life into something I can hold, look at, and even share with friends and family. It’s also not a complicated device to use, which is a big plus. I enjoyed spending the last couple of weeks with it, and now I want one of my own.
The instax Link Wide is available at the instax flagship stores on Lazada and Shopee, at wonderphotoshop.ph, and at Fujifilm authorized dealers nationwide. It retails for PHP 8,999 (around USD 179 converted), and it comes with a free pack of film.
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