GADGET REVIEW: KiiPix Smartphone Photo Printer

by - October 17, 2018

Hey guys! Today I'm doing something a little bit different here on the blog and the focus won't be so much on beauty - unless we're talking about the beauty of the photographs that we take. Recently, I had the opportunity to try out the KiiPix Smartphone Photo Printer* and there was some nostalgic part of me that just really, really wanted to try it out. I think it brought me back, on some level, to when I was a kid and the idea of an instant camera that would spit out pictures for me felt like something magical. Pairing that feeling with modern technology - technology so much more magical than anything I could have dreamed of when all I wanted was to be able to see the pictures I took immediately - just gave me a really warm, excited feeling.

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The thing that really appealed to me about the KiiPix Smartphone Photo Printer* initially was the ease of it. It's small enough to toss in your bag and take with you on the go, it doesn't require batteries or bluetooth, and it uses easily available FUJIFILM Instax Mini Film* to print the pictures. It's available in three colours: Cherry Blossom, Sky Blue, and Jet Black. Unsurprisingly, based on my wardrobe and general purchasing choices, I chose Jet Black. Quite frankly, before I had it in hand I really had no idea how it was going to actually work. 

The cool thing about it is that it works very much like the old school instant cameras that this brought me back to. Rather than connecting your device to the printer, you sort of take a picture of your picture and it prints it for you, hence why you don't need batteries. This works mechanically, opening up a shutter for the picture, rather than working digitally. I have to admit that this posed a few problems for me initially, but I finessed it a little bit and figured it out. 

When you're ready to use your printer, it unfolds to make what is essentially a phone stand. The sides unfold upwards and inside is the lens and a frame that sits on top of the KiiPix and holds your phone when you're printing photos. When you first open your KiiPix, there are protective strips that you remove on the frame, which allows you to center the photo exactly where you want it and holds pretty firmly as you put it in place. On the side of the KiiPix you have your shutter button, which snaps the photo, and then a little wheel that you turn to eject your photo from the KiiPix. Simple enough, right?

The first picture I tried to print with this one didn't turn out very well at all, so I went to the internet and checked out this video, which gave me a much better understanding of how to use this. Don't get me wrong, it's not at all difficult or complicated, but it definitely does work better when you follow the steps correctly. Once you have your photo placed that way that you want it - which you can check using the small mirror next to the lens, you just have to press the Shutter button and then turn the knob to eject your photo from the printer. Like an old school instant camera, it does take some time for your photo to show up and I did find that it takes a while for it to fill in completely. When using this, if your pictures initially seem a little dull, give it a couple of hours for them to really fill in. I really noticed a difference after letting them sit for a while. 

Top Photo: Full Brightness, Bottom Photo: Medium Brightness

I do have a few tips for using the KiiPix that I wanted to share. The first thing is that when they tell you to turn your phone brightness to full, I highly recommend that you listen. As you can see in the photos above, there's a pretty big difference in the quality of the print out of the same photo with my brightness turned to full vs with my brightened lowered to about medium. I think I might actually play with the settings a little bit so that I can find a happy medium between where these two photos sit.

Another tip is not to use pictures that are too high contrast, because that will be exaggerated in the printed photo. While the does give it a more classic instant photo type of a look, which I love, I do think the photo quality is better if you have a little bit less contrast in the original. 

Overall, I think this printer is really cool. I don't really think it's a fair comparison to put this up again most of the digital photo printers on the market, because it really is a different animal. Ultimately, these photos aren't going to have the crisp picture and saturated colour of a digital print, but as far as I'm concerned that's kind of the point. If you like the charm and vintage of look of these types of instant photos, this is a great option. You can edit the photos as much as you'd like to on your phone, position them where you want them, and print as many or as few as you'd like. What I really like is that I don't have to worry about batteries, yet another charging cord, or wifi. I actually really think this is a great gift idea for kids and teens who want to have tangible photos to hang on to - I know I would have been absolutely obsessed with this during my teen years!

The KiiPix Smartphone Photo Printer* is available at ToysRUs in store and online and retails for $49.99. 

Thanks for reading!

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