Customer Reviews: Polaroid Instant Digital Camera with ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology Z230E
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on August 5, 2009
This is an early review (a pre-ordered camera only arrived a couple of days ago) so I've only spent a few hours using it.
Quick summary - in some ways the camera is surprisingly limited, and it's a bit bulky (and very ugly), but this is overshadowed by having a built-in photo-printer at the price of a regular digital camera. It offers the instant-printing of the old Polaroids, but with greatly increased digital flexibility, and lower operating cost.

With an overall thumbs-up in mind, some other notes:

The camera functions are quite basic and bare-bones compared to pocket cameras today, though are more advanced than a cellphone camera. There is no zoom, just "digital zoom". There are too few buttons to operate camera settings on the go without navigating through menus, so if the environment isn't suited to just point-and-click, I'm likely to miss my shot, and if the conditions are too challenging (low light and high movement), I'm likely to fail to get a good shot.
- The camera does turn on quickly though - it takes about two seconds from pressing the ON button to it being ready to take a shot.
- Navigating your photos on the memory card is going to become a problem. Your options seemare just NEXT and PREVIOUS, and once there are thousands of photos on the memory card, that is going to be frustrating. (The ability to print any photo at any time, plus the cheapness of large capacity memory cards means that there is incentive to carry a lot of photos around in this camera)
- The LCD screen is nice and large. I guess that since it's a large camera with a bigger battery because of the printer, you might as well put a well-lit big screen on it.
- I haven't used the video recording or voice memo functions, so can't comment on them.
- On the highest quality settings, 5MP photos are saved as JPEGs at about 700kB. So compression artifacts can be noticeable, but this is not an issue if you are only using the photos for the built-in printer.

The printer... well you can read the reviews of the previous Zink bluetooth printer - it's the same as that. There are no consumables other than the photo paper. The photos are also all stickers, which is really useful. The photo-print quality is mediocre which, given the cost of the consumables and the portable nature of the device, is impressive. I'm quite pleased with it. Loading more paper is far simpler than any polaroid film camera. Simpler than a desktop printer, even.
- The (Zink) paper is cheap compared to polaroid film or to inkjet printing. That's something REALLY nice - the device does not rape you on the price of the consumables, instead, prints are so cheap that you don't need to worry or second-guess yourself before hitting the print button.
- You can print any photo on the camera, as many times as you like, and you have some (very) limited editing functions available. (And since for a few dollars you can put a 4GB memory card in this, you could load it up with a library of thousands of useful photos and graphics and labels that you can print and stick if the need arises, without compromising the ability to use it it as a polaroid camera)
- What should be the most useful of the editing functions is being able to crop the photo before printing it, however the crop operations only zoom and step in large increments, so you can only get a crude approximation of the cropping that you want.
- You can add a decorative border to your photo before printing, from a selection of pre-set border graphics. This would be an astoundingly useful feature if you could edit or create your own borders (it would allow you to include your contact info on photos, for example). It would help even if the supplied borders were less useless. As it is, the feature is as taunting in its potential as it is frustrating in its uselessness. I hope that this will be addressed at some point through software - a utility (to import your own custom-made borders to the camera) should not be difficult to provide.
- The nature of the printer seems to be that colors are offset from each other by ten or so pixels, so if your image is thousands of pixels wide, ten pixels is nothing and the everything is colored correctly, but if your image is hundreds of pixels wide, the colors might be offset by a mm, which looks terrible. So it will print your photos fine, but if you're putting your own graphics onto the memory card, and they're low resolution, consider interpolating them up to photo resolution.

I haven't spent much time with the accessories, but
- The camera case has a useful little pocket in it for photo-paper refills.
- The photo software is a bit buggy.

For the price, I think this is good value with a lot of function. At the same time, it still appears to be early days - I'd expect that in a couple of years, there will be fuller-featured photo-printing-cameras that address most of the shortfallings of this first device. In the meantime, this does the job, at a good price, and hints at the future (while looking like the past).
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on September 15, 2009
The Polaroid Pogo Camera is everything it claims to be. But...
It does turn on pretty fast, so it is ready to take pictures with only a mild amount of anticipation. It is easy to set up. It is easy to use, but could be easier if it had a more intuitive buttonology (the manual provided is also somewhat poorly written), especially once in printer mode. It is a 5.0 mp camera but with only digital zoom and relatively slow reaction time. 5mp digital photography was great 8 years ago. The large LCD is great and easy to view. I haven't had any trouble with it even in sunlight. It does use SD and SDHC cards, and with 5mp PIX, you don't need a huge card to store thousands of pictures.
As a printer, you can select any of the pictures you have taken for printing (made easier with the large screen). Like the Pogo printer stand-alone, it prints 2 X 3 pictures on Zinc paper. The advantage over the printer is that the camera can do a small amount of editing internally (cropping and red-eye removal, for instance) and can print 50% more pictures on a charge than the stand-alone (which I also have). I have gotten over 40 prints without a recharge (25 is the rated number). The huge advantage is that you don't need any cables or extra accessories. The small prints are still cheaper than the old Polaroid films (about 30 cents a print) and cheaper than my inkjet photo printers per print as well.
The camera is about 3/8 in thicker than the printer alone and still fits into a shirt pocket. It is bigger and heavier than most point and shoot cameras of today, but then again, they don't have the printer capability.
The camera printer combination is a huge winner for foreign travel and for parties with kids. It is still a huge magnet to watch the picture come out of the camera and be able to give it to the subject right away. Kids love to watch this. People who you don't know become friendly when you hand them their picture.
Yes, it would be nice to get a 3X5 or 4X6 print. But it would no longer be a shirt pocket size.
Yes, it would be nice to have a better camera with better resolution, better zoom, etc.
Yes, it would be nice to have better instructions and be easier to use.
BUT, the combination camera-printer is still a winner.
JT San Diego
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on August 31, 2009
The Pogo instant digital camera that I recently purchased is fantastic! I'm a nurse practitioner and use it to take photos for mothers of them with their newborns. Though the photos are only 2"x3", they are borderless and can be taken close up so the photo itself seems larger. The image is clear and mothers love these photos. The photo's adhesive backing is an additional convenience. I highly recommend the Pogo camera and its many features.
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on September 29, 2009
We were very pleased with this camera. Our company needed to update the cameras that we use for our corporate teambuilding photo scavenger hunts. We needed something that was lightweight, easy to use, had decent pictures and wouldn't break the bank with film. The Pogo Camera worked perfect to fit our needs. Of course we ordered them at the last minute and needed them within two days. They came without a problem.

Ease of Use - On the way home in the car I put in the film strips and starting taking pictures. It was really that easy. The film is a cinch to load. I hadn' even opened the instruction book. It is just that easy to use the basic camera. What was pleasantly surprising was the wide range of things the camera can do. I mean it is still an instant camera so keep in mind it is what it is. It has the ability to use a memory card and download to the computer. The camera is smaller than the old poloroid so it can easily fit into a bag or backpack.

Battery Life - we used them for a two hour event and the batteries stayed charged. We had no battery problems at all. They are also very easy and quick to charge.

Picture Quality - the quality of the picture is good, better than the old polaroid. The size worked well for us. We didn't need to have 4 x 6 pictures and having the ability to download them to the computer gives you another option. They groups that we worked with liked the idea that the pictures had a sticker back to them. They were going to post the pictures on a photo board outside of their dinner function so that everyone could see them

The camera is what they advertise it to be. We were pleased with it and the photo paper. I would recommend this camera for those looking for a polaroid instant camera. I could see this being so popular for a birthday party or special event. We ordered ten cameras for our event and were very pleased. Also, they came with several packs of film strips and a nice little camera bag.
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VINE VOICEon July 10, 2010
There are reasons you buy a camera like this one, and none of them have to do with getting fabulous pictures. The "fun" aspect of this camera cannot be overstated. Kids LOVE it. Even grumpy kids can be coaxed into a smile if you take a picture and turn it into a sticker on the spot for them.

* Compact
* Easy to handle
* Different settings for different situations

* Battery life. And this is a big one. The battery can only take about 20-25 pictures before it needs recharging. For a "party camera," that's not acceptable.
* Overheats easily. Like the battery issue, I found when I took this to a kids party that I was frequently having to wait for it to "cool down" before I could use it again.
* Print quality. Yeah, it's not good. The pictures aren't bad when you take them home and put them on your computer, but the prints are less than optimal.
* Zoom. What can I say? Don't use it. Just get as close to your subject as you can, because if you use "zoom" all you're going to do is create a HUGE pixelation and a blurry mess. You can't "zoom" in or out--you're either in "wide" or "telephoto" and "telephoto" is a disaster.
* Menus. This is a fairly minor quibble, but the it's hard to figure out what setting you want. It's not intuitive.

Would I recommend this product? Not as your only camera. It's a fun toy, but not a great camera. It might be better to get the Polaroid CZA-10011B PoGo Instant Mobile Printer (Black) alone, and use it with whatever camera you already have, if that's possible.
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on November 13, 2009
I bought this camera to use to make a picture guest book at my wedding reception and it worked great. I did plan ahead & have it located near an electrical outlet. It worked fine & took pictures & printed while it was plugged in.
IT was GREAT! Picture quality is better than the old Polaroid, but not quite comparable to other photos. It's fun because it's sticky.
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on December 22, 2009
I have not run into some of the problems the others have complained about... where else can you have digitial - video - instant print for one low price..... I think the ones complaining about it must work for the other guys....... anyway I really like everything about it..... works well.... lots of choices ...... easy to operate IF you read the manuel......... sounds like some haven't....
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on November 16, 2009
We wanted to take a picture of our patients to include in their file for identification purposes. After looking at several rather expensive options we decided to try a digital camera and the Polaroid Pogo printer. It worked great for us and with the sticky back on the photo we could mount it right on the patient folder. When they announced the camera/printer combo was coming out I started watching for its availability. Just like the convenience of the original Polaroid it's point, click, print.
We have 2 of the Pogo Instant Cameras and take anywhere from 10 to 50 photos a day. Other than the paper being a little bit pricey (which is offset by not having to buy expensive hardware and supplies for alternative solutions)everything about the camera/printer is great for us - handy, easy to use, low initial cost.
I don't think I would use this camera for vacation photos but for our need it is just perfect.
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on April 11, 2012
If you are looking for a slick digital camera, look elsewhere. If you are a Polaroid fan, or want to be, this camera is your new best friend. First of all, the camera is relatively bulky. If you have seen the Polaroid PoGo printer, this camera/printer combination is about 1/3 thicker. It will not work well in your shirt pocket. As for the electronics of the digital camera itself, it is very reminiscent of the earlier digital cameras. The LCD screen is not terribly bright, making it difficult outdoors on a sunny day. The menu provides choices that modern digital cameras generally handle automatically, but that's all part of the experience. When you review your photos, you will wonder about the quality but when you see them on a large, crisp, computer monitor you will probably be pleased with the 5-megapixel digital images. So, first, realize that this is a digital camera, capable of supporting an SD card with a size of 4GB which can hold thousands of pictures this camera creates. Note also that the camera shoots video clips which are of acceptable quality although the sound leaves much to be desired. Now that you know this is a camera, recognize that it is also a printer. While you never have to print a picture, if you choose to, it produces photos 2x3 inches with a water-resistant glossy finish. These are rugged little business-card sized photos. Unlike the original Polaroid, you can now shoot a number of pictures, select your favorite, do some minor editing within the camera it self, and print the image. If you like what you see, you can print as many copies as you like. I remember wasting so much film with my Polaroid years ago, but this camera allows me to view the pics and even edit them, prior to printing anything. The cost of the photo paper (called ZINK - for Zero Ink) is quite inexpensive. You can find it for about 33 cents per photo if you shop around. Since you only print your favorite pics, I suspect that a pack of 100 sheets will last quite a long time. Bottom Line: Like I said earlier, if you want a state-of-the-art digital camera, go elsewhere. If you want a nostalgic trip into Polaroid land, grab this camera. Despite the rather primitive digital camera, the less-than perfect prints, and the clunky size, I love it. I have my Nikon for when I want to get serious, but when I am just looking for some fun and sharing the Polaroid magic of an instant photo with others, I grab my Polaroid. This should not be your first camera, unless you are a child, but if you already have a nice digital camera, this will be a fun addition to your collection. That's why I give it five stars because it lets you relive the Polaroid experience.
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on November 24, 2009
I have been using various Polaroid cameras for years to support geology fieldwork. It's great to be able to take pictures in the field, print, and stick them directly in one's field notebook. I started with the "teenie" I-Zone Camera but moved to the Olympus/Polaroid Camedia C-211. The latter might have been the first and only digital camera that included a built-in Polaroid picture developer. I saw both the I-Zone and the Camedia become obsolete when Polaroid announced it would discontinue the production of film. Hence, I was elated to hear about the Zink-Polaroid Pogo Camera. For what I do it is perfect. It is MUCH smaller than the C-211 and the pictures are of much better quality. However, as noted elsewhere among these reviews, the camera is a "bare-back" minimal camera - no zoom, two settings (close-up and landscape), and very little battery life (I got about 3 hours out of mine). I have had issues getting focused images out of the "close-up function" - it's little improved from the point and click I-zone in this regard.

If you are a scientist or engineer in need of a convenient in-the-field-prints camera this is the best it gets - however, don't expect a sleek, small, fast, high-resolution, great zoom piece of art. It is not.

I am generally surprised to see how little advertisement I have seen for this camera. Most people have never heard of it and alarmingly, the originally flashy sales setups that appeared when it first came out have all disappeared. Indeed, two of the major retailers here in North Carolina who slated to sell the camera no longer do (although they still sell the individual printer). I suspect this camera might either be followed up by a MUCH more advanced version soon OR will be discontinued.

I would opt for the printer-only version of this gadget (a quarter the price of the camera+printer) at this point and wait for the Pogo 2.0 - assuming there will ever be one.
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