Thank you, Polaroid, for ensuring that the actually physical printed picture is far from gone. The Polaroid Socialmatic is a digital camera, yet in keeping with the manufacturer's past, can still spit out an instant image using the on-board printer. Intrigued? So are we.
The camera uses a built-in printer to spit out 2x3 images at the push of the button. These photos have a sticky back and are even embedded with a QR code so you can track where they go. Polaroid was able to make the printer small enough to put inside the camera by using Zink technology. Zink printers do not need ink cartridges. Instead, the ink is imbedded in the paper--the printer uses heat to activate the ink.
In-camera editing allows you to tweak the images before you print. Or, since it uses an Android operating system, you can download your favorite image editing app to use right on the camera. While the coolest feature is certainly the ability to instantly print digital photos, wi-fi and the Android operating system allows for instant online sharing as well.
What's concerning, however, is that Polaroid doesn't detail the full specifications like they should for a digital camera. What size is the sensor? How bright is the lens? We just don't know anything about pretty much all the factors that determine image quality. We do know that the camera has 14 megapixels, but we'd like to know whether or not that sensor as small as a smartphone's to fit that printer inside, or closer to the typical point-and-shoot. Because so many details are missing, we weren't able to rate it any higher than a B-. We're hoping for a pleasant surprise in the image quality department, but can only guess at this point.
The instant prints are obviously the selling point of this camera. While Polaroid has continued to make instant film cameras, this is just their second camera that also takes digital images (the first was the ZS2300), so you can still share online. Keep in mind, Polaroid has a mobile Zink printer that will print smartphone pictures in much the same way--you can probably print pictures from any camera with wi-fi this way, though you may have to upload to your phone first, then send it to the printer. That Zip Mobile Printer is expected out in the Spring of 2015.
We like what we see so far--we're just a bit reserved until we know more on the image quality.