LG Pocket Photo: Another Passing Fancy?

 
LG Pocket Photo

LG Pocket Photo

The LG Pocket Photo catches everyone’s eye, but despite stirring curiosity, it does not leave a mark, as Raj Lalwani finds out.

Despite all the retina technologies and jawdropping ppis, there is something incomplete about looking at photos digitally. Even when you are looking at an old picture of a friend and you, the screen is transient. It switches off. Does not allow you to keep a print in a pocket.

For the Compulsive Instagrammer
It is in an effort to address this that LG has introduced their rather unique Pocket Photo printer. It is not the first printer aimed at casual users, but it surely brings a smile. I travelled with the printer to Goa, and whenever I would make a portrait of someone I had just met, I would make a print and give it to them immediately.

Compatible with iOS and Android, this miniature device is NFC enabled and helps you print photos from your cellphone or tablet. It is really small, smaller than most high-end smartphones and consequently, the prints it makes are really tiny too. No, it cannot even do a 6 x 4. The resultant print is more like a carte de visite, and a little similar to the print created by Fuji’s instant camera, the Instax Mini.

A lot of people may wonder what the point of such a small print is. I personally think it has its own charm. Imagine a bunch of tiny prints pinned on a clipboard, or a photographer who uses the prints like playing cards, to make his final edit. Or of course, the fact that one can slip such a print in one’s wallet.

Prints Without Ink
Unlike regular printers, the LG Pocket Photo does not use any ink at all. Instead, the ink is on the proprietary ZINK (Zero Ink) paper that is used for printing. The quality of prints is average. I don’t expect accuracy from a small, fun device like this, but I was left wanting more. The images are darker than one would expect, but the blacks are not deep enough, making the print dull and washed out.

Whom is it Really For?
Considering its limitations and subpar printing quality, one can easily surmise that this is not a serious photographic product. The problem is that the fun is shortlived too. It takes an hour and a half to charge the printer completely, but the battery is enough for only eight or nine prints.

And this is expensive fun. The Pocket Photo is priced at an exorbitant Rs. 14,990! This is actually much more expensive than larger, but superior printers from Canon and Epson that make 6×4 prints.

A packet of ZINK papers costs Rs. 1099 for 30 sheets, which comes to approximately Rs. 37 per print with the LG. In comparison, instant cameras like the Fuji Instax end up costing the same amount per print, but are faster in terms of clicking the photo and getting the print in one’s hand. The LG Pocket Photo is a fun concept, but one that loses its sheen rather soon.

Final Ratings
Features
Limited functionality, NFC enabled, no screen
13/20

Performance
Inadequate battery life, prints quickly, dull and lacklustre prints
25/40

Build Quality
Tiny, but sturdy enough
13/15

Ergonomics
Simple and straightforward
18/20

Warranty & Support
One-year warranty
3/5

OVERALL: 72%

Who should buy it?
Digital photographers who like the concept of an instant camera.

Why?
Considering its battery life and price, it is not a practical choice for most, unless you really know what you intend to use it for.

Tags: Raj Lalwani, November 2013, LG Pocket Photo, LG Pocket Photo printer, LG printer, LG india, LG Pocket Photo price india, LG Pocket Photo review