Mini photo printer in polaroid style: Instax Mini Link in the test

The mini photo printer Fujifilm Instax Mini Link is mobile, small and prints charming photos in seconds. However, the pleasure is not entirely cheap. We have it in the test.

As practical as digital photography is in all its facets, it has one major disadvantage: printed photos are now rare, images are consumed in abundance on displays. The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link opposes this. The pocket-sized, battery-operated photo printer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and prints digital snapshots on analog paper in just a few seconds.

The Instax Mini Link is by no means alone. In addition to its big brother Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 (test report), we also tried out a lot of zinc printers like the Huawei CV80 (test report) or the Canon Zoemini (test report). In the large comparison test, we compared all mobile photo printers. We collect this article and all tests on our mini photo printer topic page.

The expectations regarding the design and workmanship of the Fujifilm Instax Mini Link were high, precisely because the Instax Share SP-3 from the same manufacturer is at the forefront in this area. The Instax Mini Link does not live up to these high expectations. We have the blue version, and you can also buy it in the colors light gray and pink. It is made of a matt, slightly corrugated plastic all around and is reminiscent of a cheap hard case. Another common feature with a case from the discounter: The plastic cracks and creaks when printed – not exactly a sign of high quality workmanship.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link comes with a single button that sits in the middle of its front. A multi-color LED surrounds it and shows its status. At first we suspected that the button reacts differently to light and stronger pressure, it feels strange after a kind of double click. Similar to cracking and creaking, it is a processing error.

After all, it weighs only 244 g including ten pictures and, with its dimensions of 12.5 × 8.8 × 3.3 cm, it is quite compact. It fits in most trouser pockets. We doubt that it has any kind of watertightness, but a plastic flap protects the micro USB charging port. Fujifilm does not reveal the capacity of the battery. However, depending on the usage scenario, it should be sufficient for up to 100 prints.

On the lower side there is a small lever that opens a flap for the photo cartridge when folded. Fujifilm warns against opening the flap if there is still photo paper in it. This could expose them and make them unusable. Zinc-based photo printers do not have such problems. With the HP Sprocket Plus (test report) and the Huawei CV80 (test report), the user can open the paper tray and add or remove photo paper at any time.

Such a party print can be quite creepy.

When you start the app for the first time, it requires a connection to the Instax Mini Link. Registration is not necessary. In contrast to the Instax Share SP-3, which connects to the smartphone via WLAN, the Instax Mini Link uses Bluetooth 4.2. That makes sense, since Bluetooth uses less energy to maintain the connection. The transfer of the image data from the smartphone to the printer is still very fast with about 6 s.

A position sensor is built into the Instax Mini Link. Depending on whether it is lying flat on the table or upright, the app switches between the Print mode and the Fun mode. Each mode has its own options. If the printer is connected to the app, switching between the modes is only possible via the location of the Instax Mini Link, not via the app. We find this extremely cumbersome. Fortunately, there is an option in the settings to turn this feature off.

There are options in print mode Easy printing, Video printing and Instax camera. Under Easy printing you first select an image from the internal memory and the Google Photos image service, which is automatically connected on Android devices. The app does not support other image services. You adjust the size using the pinch-to-zoom gesture. Now you can still choose between the filters monochrome, sepia and automatic and adjust brightness, contrast and saturation.

Video printing prints the freely selectable still image of a video. In mode Instax camera the app uses the smartphone's camera to take a picture. When recording, you can zoom the Instax Mini Link by tilting and press the button on the printer. At least the latter can make sense in some situations.

in the Fun mode there are the options Frame print, Collage print, accordance and Party printing. At the Frame print 31 more or less successful frames are added to the printing options mentioned above. There are no additional stickers or fonts. The Collage print gives the user many options for dividing the already small expression into even smaller segments and filling them with individual content.

in the Match mode you choose a picture with two faces or two pictures with one face each and let a random generator decide whether you fit together or not. The Party printing resembles that Collage print, only that several users are involved in parallel. The Match mode and the Party printing are two options that may be fun at an event, but tend to offer no lasting added value.

The photo paper is 8.6 × 5.4 cm in size, but the printed area measures only 6.2 × 4.6 cm. The print resolution is 800 × 600 pixels. So the pictures are quite small, even a bit smaller than those of the zinc printer, but the quality is right. The pictures convey a pleasant retro charm, which is partly due to the fantastic feel of the printouts. Thanks to their plastic coating, they give the impression that nothing can harm them so quickly. On the other hand, the colors look a little less intense, almost as if a retro filter were lying over them. Overall, the quality is very good and better than that of zinc printers. We only find the pictures of the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 (test report) better, since they are a bit larger.

Selection of images printed with the Instax Mini Link.

The printing process itself is straightforward and fast. With an existing connection, it takes less than 18 s between the print command and the finished printed image. The printer itself has no color cartridge or the like, the color is already in the paper. A 3-color exposure with OLED tickles them out.

When the picture leaves the photo printer, it is initially completely white – just like with iconic Polaroid pictures, it only shines in full splendor after a few minutes. This is actually not a bit annoying, but increases the tension on the finished picture – really cool! You shouldn't shake it, the picture quality could suffer.

With a good 100 euros, the printer is not that expensive. The paper then costs around 15 euros for 20 pieces.

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

Fujifilm Instax mini Link, Dusky Pink, Pink (16640670)

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link, pink

Fujifilm Instax mini Link, Ash-White, gray (16640682)

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link, gray

Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film, 20 pictures (16386016)

Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film, 20 pictures

The core discipline of a photo printer is to print photos. The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link does that really well. Although quite small, the images are sharp, valuable and exude a cozy, warm retro charm. But every expression needs to be carefully considered, after all, a picture costs around 75 cents.

The app works reliably, but is unnecessarily complicated with its peculiar subdivision into print and fun mode. She would also like to support other photo services in addition to Google Photos and give more options for image adjustment.

One can argue about the appearance of the device, it reminds us of a cheap hard case. The Instax Mini Link creaks with light pressure and the button feels anything but valuable. At least the printer is relatively small and light.

Overall, the Instax Mini Link achieved a scarce good as a grade and thus received our buy recommendation. This is mainly due to the fact that no other manufacturer can produce such charming retro prints. If you like this, you can also take a look at the somewhat more expensive, but much better processed Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 (test report). It also offers a slightly larger photo format.

Alternatively, there are countless zinc printers that are not only significantly cheaper, but whose prints are also stickers. For example, we recommend the Huawei CV80 (test report). If you want to delve deeper into the topic, you should read our large comparison test mobile photo printer. This article and all individual tests can also be found on our photo printer topic page.