The world's most in-depth and scientific product reviews

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Review

A simple and easy to use design that produces cool-looking throwback prints
Fujifilm Instax Mini Link
Credit: Jason Peters
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $100 List | $100 at Amazon
Pros:  Vintage film look, portable, simple
Cons:  Poor image quality, high price per print
Manufacturer:   Fujifilm
By Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Apr 6, 2020
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
27
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Color - 35% 2
  • Black and White - 35% 2
  • Print Capabilities - 15% 3
  • Operating Cost - 10% 4
  • Set-Up - 5% 9

Our Verdict

While this pint-sized printer doesn't boast high resolution or vivid colors, its vintage paper has a lot of appeal. The INSTAX instant film captures the classic Polaroid look. So, if you're interested in ease of use, instant gratification, and a throwback appearance, this is the machine for you. If you want lots of formatting options and high-quality images, have a look at desktop printers.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $100 List
$99.95 at Amazon
$800 List$500 List$350 List$100 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
27
84
79
67
58
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Vintage film look, portable, simpleBroad print dimensions, vast print mediums, low print costs, fantastic image fidelityHigh resolution, vivid colors, great dynamic rangeConsistent color, easy set-up, broad format optionsEasy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizes
Cons Poor image quality, high price per printHuge footprint, expensiveHard to set-up, big footprintMicrobanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areasMicrobanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturation
Bottom Line A machine that will kindle the fun and freedom of instant printing in a ventage formatThis near-professional quality machine leaves little to be desiredThis is a top-tier, professional level printer at a reasonable priceThis printer yields high-quality images at a reasonable priceA quality mid-size machine that will appeal to the casual user
Rating Categories Fujifilm Instax... Epson SureColor P600 Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Expression Photo... Canon PIXMA TR4520
Color (35%)
2
8
8
6
6
Black And White (35%)
2
9
9
7
6
Print Capabilities (15%)
3
9
7
8
5
Operating Cost (10%)
4
8
7
7
5
Set Up (5%)
9
6
4
5
6
Specs Fujifilm Instax... Epson SureColor P600 Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Expression Photo... Canon PIXMA TR4520
Resolutioin (dots per inch) 318 5760 x 1440 4800 x 2400 5760 x 1440 4800 x 1200
Max photo deminsions (inches) 2.4" x 1.8" 13" x 129" 13" x 19" 13" x 44" 8" x 10"
Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print) $0.64 $0.36 $0.40 $0.45 $0.58
Machine deminsions (HxWxD inches) 1.3" x 3.5" x 4.9" 9" x 24.2" x 14.5" 8.5" x 27.2" x 15.2" 6.3" x 18.7" x 14.5" 7.5" x 17.2" x 11.7"
Printing technology In paper 3-color exposure with OLED Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD) Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD)
Print time per 4" x 6" (or mini print) 9 seconds (plus developing time) 63 seconds 55 seconds 34 seconds 128 seconds
Color palette (ink cartridges) N/A Matte Black, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Vivid Light Magenta, Light Black, Light Light Black Black, Gray, Light Gray, Cyan, Photo Cyan, Magenta, Photo Magenta, Yellow Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Gray, Red Black plus color cartridge
LCD screen No Yes No Yes No
Touch Screen No Yes No No No
Battery Yes No No No No
Memory cards supported N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ink type N/A Pigment-based Dye-based Dye-based Pigment (black) and dye-based (color)
Roller paper No Yes No No No
Connectivity Bluetooth, USB (charging only) Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print support; USB 2.0, Wireless n1, Wi-Fi Direct1 and 100Mbit Ethernet, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (1 port), 100Base-T Ethernet (1 port), Wi-Fi CERTIFIED (802.11n only), Wi-Fi Direct
Epson Connect 4: Epson iPrint Mobile App, Apple Airprint, Google Cloud Print
Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n), Ethernet
Hi-Speed USB, PictBridge (Cable not included)
iPad, iPhone and Android tablets, Alexa and smartphones; Ethernet networking, andard Connectivity:
Hi-Speed USB, USB Host, Wireless 802.11 b/g/n5, Wi-Fi Direct 5, Ethernet 10/100
Hi-Speed USB
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n wireless networking, 2.4 GHz)
Operating system requirements Android and iOS Apple macOS 10.13.x-10.12.x, OS X: 10.11x-10.7x
&
Microsoft Windows®: 10, 8.1, 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Vista SP1, Vista SP2, Windows XP SP3 32-bit Intel processor
Mac OS X v10.5.8 - 10.9.x7
Windows 10 8/8.1/Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit)
Windows Vista (32-bit , 64-bit)
Mac OS X 10.6.8 — macOS 10.12.x6
Windows:20 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Mac:21
Mac OS X v10.10.5 - macOS v10.13 (High Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:22 iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Fire OS (Amazon Fire) devices
Scanner No No No No Yes (bed and feed)
Touch Screen No Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link is not the best printer, nor is it the best mini printer for that matter. This might show our age, but the entire review staff loved the vintage look of the prints that this machine produced. The colors were off, the resolution was a bit blurry, but the images still looked really cool to us. In a time where professional-quality photo technology is available to the layperson, a printer like this reminds us that there is more to photography than high resolution.

Performance Comparison


The heavy, classic-looking borders on the Link's prints go a long...
The heavy, classic-looking borders on the Link's prints go a long way in mitigating the low color quality.
Credit: Laura Casner

Color


We conducted many hours of side-by-side color quality evaluations of the printers in this review. Our critique focused on resolution and overall impression. To put it bluntly, the Fujifilm did not perform well in comparison to its peers. Its resolution was poor, its dynamic range was limited, and the whites tended to be blown out. However, the skin tones and color fidelity were reasonably accurate.


While we all want decent resolution in our pictures, for shots of people, color accuracy is arguably more important. This printer also produced a warm tonal cast in the images. This coloring added a vintage appearance as if they had just been pulled out of a dusty photo album. In our opinion, if you are into the old Polaroid look, the shortcomings in image quality actually add to this aesthetic.

This printer did not inspire anyone with the abysmal quality of the...
This printer did not inspire anyone with the abysmal quality of the grayscale prints.
Credit: Laura Casner

Black and White


If you want to render detailed images in grayscale, this is probably not the printer for you. As one tester put it, "the resolution is abysmal." Additionally, the dynamic range on the Instax Mini Link is at the lowest end of the class. The resulting lack in tonal transitions leaves out a lot of details as the darkest and lightest areas are washed out.


On the upside, given that we're talking about a mini printer, the color is surprisingly good and keeps with the original image. However, there is a slight magenta cast through light grey, but this kind of warming is present in many of the mid and full-size printers as well. As with the color evaluation, this printer is good for candid, social setting type imagery, and would be great fun at a party.

Limited by the instant paper used, the Link can't compete with the...
Limited by the instant paper used, the Link can't compete with the desktop printers.
Credit: Laura Casner

Print Capabilities


This metric looks at the paper types and dimensions that the machine can accommodate as well as other features like print time and tray capacity. As is the case for all of the mini machines, the Fujifilm prints in only one size, in this case 1.8" x 2.4". Additionally, the paper capacity is limited to the 10 sheets that come in a sealed pack.


It's not all bad news. This machine kicks out pictures in just 9 seconds. Although the development of this image takes a bit of time, you can immediately start on the next picture. Another cool feature is that, although there is only one type of proprietary paper (INSTAX) that the printer will accept, that paper comes in a variety of border colors — a nice variation on the classic white border look.

Among the most expensive printer in the cost per printer analysis;...
Among the most expensive printer in the cost per printer analysis; this fact is exacerbated by the much smaller print size (2" x 4") compared to the desktop machines (4" x 6").
Credit: Laura Casner

Operating Costs


The operating cost metric is an assessment of how much it costs to maintain the printer. The maintenance cost is expressed in the form of price per print. In the case of mini printers, this is not an estimate because the photo paper is self-developing and no estimates of ink consumption are required. Thus, the cost of a single piece of photo paper — in this case $0.64 — is the operating cost of the Instax Mini Link.


While 64 cents is not the cheapest cost per print, it's certainly not the most expensive in the class either. There is a catch though. The mid and full-size printers cost per print estimated was based on a 4" x 6" picture, while the mini printer's images are less than half the size.

You can't beat a mini-printer for ease of set-up via a smartphone app.
You can't beat a mini-printer for ease of set-up via a smartphone app.
Credit: Laura Casner

Set-up


When you line up mini printers next to their desktop counterparts as we have done here, the mini printers are cast in the shadow of their bigger brothers. However, when it comes to set-up, the mini-printers cast the desktop models in a bad light. These mini printers are so easy to operate and in their simplicity comes a lot of opportunities to have fun digitally editing the pics before you hit print.


So, what does it take to get the Instax Mini Link up and running? If you can download an app and make a Bluetooth connection then you can set-up this printer. It's that easy.

Value


The Fujifilm Instax Mini Link is among the lowest scoring printers in this review and yet it's priced similarly to all the other mini printers. By this accounting, this printer is not a good value. There is only one unique and redeeming aspect of this machine, and that is the vintage-style photos it renders. If this look appeals to you, then the machine will have value.

Conclusion


The main appeal of the Instax Mini Link is the throwback Polaroid-like pictures it produces. That, and it is easy to set-up and operate. Aside from these notable characteristics, this machine has limited capabilities and relatively low image quality. That said, if the Polaroid cameras of old appeal to you, this printer is worth a gander.

Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer