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Instax Mini Link: A Smartphone Printer that Links People Together

Fujifilm recently launched the Instax Mini Link in Manila. Aside from a ton of remarkable features, it also has the ability to turn strangers into friends.

Today’s social media generation is built on speed, with nearly every possible activity completed after just a few button presses. From sending messages to sharing photos with friends, communication is as quick as an impulse and the instant gratification is as addictive as caffeine. However, as each moment tends to bask in the limelight only in the short duration between updates on social media, a lot of valued experiences are treated with fleeting relevance – if only we had something more tangible than Instagram’s imaginary borders.

Well, we actually do, with the recent release of Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Link, a palm-sized smartphone printer that allows users to print captured photos and video stills at any given moment. Made by Fujifilm to break the standards upon which devices within the same category are defined, the souped-up printer dispenses an image in a mere 12 seconds, and has the capacity to print 100 photos on a single charge, among other features. Simply put, the Instax Mini Link preserves any experience in an instant and with the gravitas that it deserves given the prints’ classic white frames.

I, for one, was a beneficiary of the device’s remarkable features not just as a writer, but also as someone who enjoys meeting like-minded personalities. At the launch of Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Link, there were moments that were preserved beyond the fleeting nature of social media. In fact, they are encased within the four white borders of one’s little box of pleasant memories.

No strings attached

There is a multitude of features that separate the Instax Mini Link from other smartphone printers, one of which is that the device need not require a physical connection to operate. Upon downloading the Instax Mini Link app (iOS, Android), users can connect their mobile phones to the smartphone printer via Bluetooth and start printing the most aesthetically pleasing images and video stills on their albums, without the need for internet, wires, and chargers.  

Realizing that I lacked images on my phone fit to turn into profile pics during the launch, I immediately downloaded the app and thought of printing a photo as a souvenir. To add a bit more context, I accidentally befriended a social media influencer and her son in the elevator on the way to the Mini Link launch, and we decided to stick together for the entire duration of the event. She had her way of taking astonishing self-portraits and so, she decided to help me out in that regard. 

Anna, also known as @annanainpanjamas on Instagram, asked me to pose in front of the stylized wall as she took several snaps. While at it, she also gave me tips on how to shoot portraits in between exchanges. I know it’s not on the list of features, but the smartphone printer, apparently, also has its way of connecting people. And I got an influencer-worthy souvenir to commemorate that.  

Blue is for Print Mode

Through the Mini Link app, printing is as easy as a push of a button – or a swipe up on a selected photo – and keeping the device in an upright position. A blue LED light beneath the Instax logo signifies that it is in Print Mode. Users, on the other hand, can turn the device upside down and press the power button to reprint the last printed image.

Anna noticed that we could edit the photos using the app, in the same manner as on photo sharing sites like Instagram. There are scores of filters and stickers at our disposal to tweak photos, and the difference between the original photos and the edited versions is noticeable in print. We also found out that the printer can act as a zoom lens; tilting it forward brings the subject closer and vice versa.

Aside from photos, we also discovered that we could print video stills using the Mini Link, which is a huge convenience as, in some cases, phones produce better images through the built-in camera function of Instagram Stories. Some phones are built to produce videos that have crisper images than actual photos as well.

As we talked further over dinner, Anna revealed that she already has an Instax camera, but pointed out that the Mini Link is still a worthwhile purchase, as it leverages the wide availability and superior image quality of most modern smartphones on the market. Its suggested retail price is certainly reasonable, considering the boatload of functions that the device has on offer.

Orange is for Fun Mode

A recipient of the Good Design Award in 2019, the Instax Mini Link is truly fun at parties, minus the irony attached to such a statement. The launch, after all, was a party, and I definitely had a blast with my party pals for the night.

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The event organizers cheekily had Anna and me try the printer’s Match Test, which rates the romantic compatibility of two people. Apart from scanning our facial structures, the Mini Link app had us answer questions akin to those asked on dating games on TV. Funnily enough, we scored 84%, coupled with favorable ratings for everyday routines (3/5), values (5/5), conversation (5/5), decisiveness (4/5), and home life (4/5).

Like the responsible adults that we were, we laughed off the whole thing and proceeded to participate in the next game, which was a photo contest using the Party Print feature. 

The Mini Link allows users to choose from 27 frame designs and 14 collage styles, and we settled on a simple three-window frame. It’s the theme that counts after all.

Thinking of the satay we had for dinner, I grabbed two sticks of chicken skewers from the buffet and had Anna pose like she was feeding me and her kid in a quirky three-image collage. The real challenge was keeping a straight face amid fits of laughter over the silliness of the whole thing, and at one point, Anna devoured both skewers, much to my chagrin.

Once we had finally composed ourselves and managed to compile three photos, we laid the Instax Mini horizontally on a table, which yielded an orange light behind the logo – Fun Mode. Not long after, we marveled at the culmination of our crazy pursuit. It didn’t exactly win any award, but for us, encapsulating the unlikely convergence of a young mom who works several jobs, her industrious kid, and a writer who stubbornly marches to the beat of his own drum was a big enough victory.

I continued to converse with Anna upon leaving the event, before parting ways on a high note. I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again in person to be honest, as the paths of writers and influencers don’t often intersect, and they tend to stick to their own people during events like these. But I will always have proof that at one point in time, I genuinely had fun with those people, a fact that has more permanence to it than any fleeting social media post.   

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