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One of the most unique things about this whole setup is the fact that the camera uses no ink to print. While in theory this is a great idea for users who want to save money on ink, there are massive tradeoffs in terms of performance, and at the lab, there were significant color error and artifacting problems by the very nature of the print.

Along with the camera, the comes with a software disc, USB cable, ZInk photo paper, and assorted documentation.

Aside from the ability to crank out photos every 45 seconds, the picture performance of the is just bad. It's not surprising, and perhaps we're being a little harsh here given the fact that we're talking about a compact printer inside a camera that doesn't use any ink. Still, these prints are not going to be professional grade, if that's something you care about.

Each photo only takes around 45 seconds to print, no matter what border you put on it. Compared to other compact printers that print in somewhat similar sizes, this isn't exactly a speed demon, but it's not bad either. What's bad is the print quality. More on how we test print speed.

We realize that the radically different method of printing photos probably has a large hand in the following results, but the variance in color accuracy is simply bad. In addition, on the trailing edge of the prints, there is a very bad problem with false coloration and artifacting. Though some people might like the look that resembles the now-ancient Polaroid pictures of old, there is no excuse for it in the modern day, especially not with a 12MP camera attached. More on how we test color accuracy.

Camera Color Comparisons

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above may not match the results used for evaluating color accuracy. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the exact printed colors.

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Because of a detail problem we'll discuss later, we were unable to test the gamut or dMax of the . Given its other scores and ratings, we feel confident in telling you that it's probably nothing much of note. More on how we test color gamut.

Because of a detail problem we'll discuss later, we were unable to test the gamut or dMax of the . Given its other scores and ratings, we feel confident in telling you that it's probably nothing much of note. More on how we test depth of blacks.

Not only does the have significant issues with high-contrast detail and DMax, but it also bands color gradients.

Sample Scan Comparisons

Looking at the scans below, you can see that the struggles with maintaining even transitions from different shades of color. Normally, printers potentially have issues with this at a certain point near the darkest ends, but the seems to struggle across the whole spectrum.

Where do I begin? Take a good look at where the lines of Alice should be. It's a somewhat-condensed dot matrix with different levels of greyscale that can appear... green. Where many printers have minor difficulty in recreating sharp lines, the has difficulty making lines. Compared to any printer we've ever reviewed, the is wretchedly bad at maintaining detail with its system of printing. If picture quality is your desire, look elsewhere.

The can print your photos immediately, so this is a good camera/printer for a party, but essentially nothing else. This is not a good photo printer by any means, despite the draw to the novelty of an ink-free printer.

All of the physical controls are located on the top of the camera housing, including the print button, and the d-pad. Aside from those sets of buttons, not much else actually does much to control the printer itself.

The tiny display of the is a 2.7" LCD screen that flips up if you elect to do so. With an equally tiny resolution, the picture quality isn't spectacular, but you really only need it to see what options you are looking for in a menu.

If you're not using the internal memory of the , there's an SD card slot, and that's just about it. This printer is more designed as a counterpart to the camera it's attached to, and nothing more.

There really isn't a whole lot to do to set up the printer part of the itself; really, just drop in the paper and go. With each new packet, you'll need to print the page with the bar code on it, but after that's made its way through the paper path, you're all set to start snapping photos and printing.

There are no drivers necessary to print with the .

Normally, this is where we'd tell you where the ink on the is, or how much it costs, or how many pages you could expect to get out of the cartridges. Well, there is no ink used by the . At all. Save for a small bit of painting on the outside of the camera casing, you will not find ink for the printer to use, because all the printer uses is a specialized paper to print without any dyes.

The only uses one size of specialized "ZINK" paper, so if you're looking for anything but a 2"x3" print, you're out of luck unless you export your digital photos to a computer that has access to a printer that can handle it.

The paper for the is stored internally right behind the paper path of the . it can accommodate about 20 sheets at a time.

From a value standpoint, it's hard to understate how convenient an inkless printer that gives you instant pictures is, but if you're looking for quality 4 x 6 prints, it's the Epson PM 225 or bust. It really depends on what you're looking for.

The Epson blew the Polaroid printer out of the water here, as it produces extremely accurate colors, whereas the Z340 has a problem across the board here.

Though the Epson isn't exactly the best printer out there in terms of detail, it may as well be compared to the Polaroid Z340's printer, which is awful by any metric.

Though both printers fill a role and do well with it, the convenience of a no-ink printing system is a very enjoyable thing. Despite the lack of performance, having instant prints whenever you want come out of the camera that you took them in is a big plus if you don't care about raw performance.

Both are relatively cheap considering what they are, but in the long run the will probably save you more money with the lack of ink. Still, what you get with paying the extra for the HP 536 is bluetooth connectivity, the ability to make 4x6 and 5x7 prints, and the ability to print from a computer. This value matchup comes down to convenience versus versatility.

Across th eboard the A536 has better color accuracy than the by a longshot.

We may be getting to sound like a broken record, but the 's detail reproduction is bad, bad, bad. The A536's thoroughly mediocre scores place it far beyond the reach of the Z340.

Both are relatively cheap considering what they are, but in the long run the will probably save you more money with the lack of ink. Still, what you get with paying the extra for the HP 536 is bluetooth connectivity, the ability to make 4x6 and 5x7 prints, and the ability to print from a computer. This value matchup comes down to convenience versus versatility.

Across the board the A646 is the winner, as its ability to use custom profiles boosts its accuracy to very good levels, while the Polaroid just flounders in this comparison.

The 's detail is just plainly abysmal, so even an average at best printer like the A646 can trounce it in a comparison of scans.

Both printers have their value and both have their appeal, but if you want prints bigger than 3 x 2 that you can frame or give to your friends, we'd suggest the A646, as it can not only print from a smartphone, but is very versatile in its connectivity options. The instant print function of the Polaroid is nice, but the prints aren't quite there yet.
We'll be honest, the ability to print pictures wherever you are, considering that you're not underwater or otherwise threatening the life of the camera, is very cool. Not only can you snap a picture and within a minute have your first print to hand out to your friends, but you can save your pictures and take them home to post on facebook or what-have-you. With the lack of ink and a return of Polaroid's popular photo system in the digital age, how could you go wrong?

While this is all fine and well, we caution users who think that these pictures will be of much quality. In fact, we suspect that Polaroid may have added a filter or something similar to play on the nostalgia of we who had their cameras in the past. What does this mean for you? Well, it means 3x2 inch prints with exceptionally poor detail and color accuracy.

Don't take this review to mean that the ability to print anywhere should be diminished; it shouldn't. Still, this is not a good printer, and the biggest reason to use it is convenience, nothing more.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging

@cthomas8888

A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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