Reviews You Can Rely On

Polaroid ZIP Review

This printer has very few checks in the pro column
Polaroid ZIP
Credit: Jason Peters
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Price:   $100 List | $198.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great app, easy set-up, okay resolution
Cons:  Orange cast, streaking, poor fidelity
Manufacturer:   Polaroid
By Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Apr 6, 2020
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33
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Color - 35% 2
  • Black and White - 35% 3
  • Print Capabilities - 15% 3
  • Operating Cost - 10% 6
  • Set-Up - 5% 9

Our Verdict

While we are certainly fans of the mini printer format, we were not impressed with this machine. For the money, there are several models that outclass this printer — several of which are covered in this review.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Polaroid ZIP
This Product
Polaroid ZIP
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $100 List$350 List
$349.49 at Amazon
$100 List
$99.99 at Amazon
$130 List
$129.00 at Amazon
$100 List
$99.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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43
Star Rating
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Pros Great app, easy set-up, okay resolutionConsistent color, easy set-up, broad format optionsEasy to use, decent resolution, prints common sizesUser-friendly, sharp images, affordable, playfulConvenient, simple, inexpensive, bluetooth connectivity
Cons Orange cast, streaking, poor fidelityMicrobanding in grayscale, relatively low definition in dark areasMicrobanding in larger formats, off skin tones, over saturationLimited print sizes, limited tray capacityRelatively low resolution, single print dimension
Bottom Line This printer has very few checks in the pro columnThis low-cost, full-sized machine delivers high-end resultsAn easy to use mid-size printer at a good priceThis portable printer kicks out quality 4" x 6" prints anytime, anywhereThis portable printer captures the fun of the old Polaroid cameras but with a fresh twist
Rating Categories Polaroid ZIP Expression Photo HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Color (35%)
2.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Black And White (35%)
3.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Print Capabilities (15%)
3.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
Operating Cost (10%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
6.0
Set Up (5%)
9.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
9.0
Specs Polaroid ZIP Expression Photo HD... Canon PIXMA TR4520 Canon SELPHY CP1300 Canon IVY
Resolutioin (dots per inch) 314 x 400 5760 x 1440 4800 x 1200 300 x 300 314 x 400
Max photo deminsions (inches) 2" x 3" 13" x 44" 8" x 10" 4" x 6" 2" x 3"
Cost per print (4" x 6" or mini print) $0.50 $0.45 $0.58 $0.43 $0.50
Machine deminsions (HxWxD inches) 0.9" x 2.9" x 4.7" 6.3" x 18.7" x 14.5" 7.5" x 17.2" x 11.7" 2.5" x 7.1" x 5.4" 0.7" x 3.2" x 4.7"
Printing technology In paper, thermal-activated dye Inkjet (Piezo DOD) Inkjet (Theromal DOD) Inkjet (Dye- sublimation) In paper, thermal-activated dye
Print time per 4" x 6" (or mini print) 31 seconds 34 seconds 128 seconds 51 seconds 40 seconds
Color palette (ink cartridges) N/A Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Gray, Red Black plus color cartridge N/A N/A
LCD screen No Yes No Yes No
Touch Screen No No No No No
Battery Yes No No Yes (sold separately) Yes
Memory cards supported N/A N/A N/A SD, SDHC, SDXC, miniSD, miniSDHC, microSD microSDHC and microSDXC N/A
Ink type N/A Dye-based Pigment (black) and dye-based (color) Dye-based N/A
Roller paper No No No No No
Connectivity NFC, USB Micro-B, Bluetooth 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)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN, 2.4 GHz, IEEE 802.11b/g)
Memory Card Slot
PictBridge (USB) & Wireless PictBridge (Wireless LAN)
Hi-Speed USB (Cable not included)
USB Flash Memory
Blutooth
Operating system requirements Android, iOS 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
Windows:12 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows 7 SP1
Mac:13 Mac OS X v10.10.x - macOS v10.12 (Sierra)
Mobile Operating Systems:14 iOS, Androidâ„¢, Windows 10 Mobile, Amazon Fire devices15
Android, iOS
Scanner No No Yes (bed and feed) No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

What sets the Polaroid ZIP apart from the class is its poor image quality and its abandonment of the vintage Polaroid film look. The ZINK film it uses is great. It has an adhesive sticker back, and in other printers it yields quality results. Not so with the ZIP. For a greater return on your dollars, look to other mini printers in this review.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


Truth be told, we didn't really like this printer. Sure, it has okay resolution. It's also true that the accompanying app is one of the better in the review, and the set-up was breezy. Yet, all that is irrelevant because its photo renderings were poor.

Credit: Laura Casner

Dislikes


We are not going to kick a product when it's down. All we can say that, considering all the other similarly priced mini printers out there that produce impressive images, you don't have to settle for low-quality results.


Value


This printer is not a good value. For the same amount of cash you can get yourself a much better machine.

Conclusion


The Polaroid ZIP was, unfortunately, a disappointment. Throughout the reviews of mini printers we repeatedly referenced the fun and excitement that Polaroid instant prints created, and how the mini printer technology is bringing that energy back to parties and social gatherings. It's too bad that the ZIP wasn't the leader in this revitalization.

Nick Miley, Jason Peters and Austin Palmer