The Instax Mini Link 2 Is a Pocket Rocket Printer for Your Phone

The Instax Mini Link 2 Is a Pocket Rocket Printer for Your Phone

Fuji’s Instax cameras are everywhere. There’s rarely a gathering when one isn’t whipped out for some old-school happy snaps that inevitably end up on Instagram. Part of the joy is waiting to see how the photo turns out — but that also means you don’t get any do-overs, which can quickly become a costly exercise. Enter the Instax Mini Link 2 smartphone printer.

I’ve previously reviewed the retro-style Instax 40 Mini, and I’ve got a Mini 11 that I use quite regularly (my nieces know that’s the only one they’re allowed to play with, and boy are they obsessed with it).

The Link 2 printer uses the same film as the Instax Mini cameras. My hot tip is to buy it in bulk to save some money — I usually get the 60-pack from Officeworks. Just keep an eye on the use-by date. The printer allows you to be more selective with your shots and reduce waste/panic attacks over the cost of the film.

It retails for $179 and comes in Clay White, Soft Pink and Space Blue, with matching cases to purchase separately.

Now, let’s dive into some of the functions.

Frame Print

This is probably the easiest function to add some pizazz to your photos. There are a heap of frames to choose from, including holiday themes, and you can easily flip between them to see where each sits on your selected photo.

I, of course, tested it out on my super cute and not at all shy nieces because I know they’re absolutely going to send me broke playing with this function themselves.

Instax Mini Link 2 review - frames
So shy. Image: Melissa Matheson/Gizmodo Australia

Collage Print

This is my favourite function because I love the clean lines. It’s great for holiday snaps and displaying a series of photos. It also saves the day if you only have landscape photos instead of portrait shots. There are 14 collages to select from and three split print options.

Instax Mini Link 2 review - collage
Bragging rights from my trip to Sweden. Image: Melissa Matheson/Gizmodo Australia

Match Test

This one is more for the kids, if you ask me. You can test your compatibility with friends by using a photo of the two of you, answering a few questions, and the final print includes a score. I’ll admit I’m too old for this one, but fun, I guess.

Instax Air

Oh boy was I shit at this. The idea is that you can use either your finger to paint on the smartphone screen or use the actual Instax Mini Link 2 by holding down the top button and drawing in the air. You can choose from spray paint, petals, neon, stars and bubbles. The spray paint is a lot harder to control with the printer than you’d think. Or maybe I just haven’t done enough tagging (or any at all).

Instax Mini Link 2 review - air
Yeah look, I wasn’t great at this. Image: Melissa Matheson/Gizmodo Australia

Sketch, edit & print

I gave this a crack knowing full well I am a terrible drawer (my storyboards at uni were limited to stick figures), but the spray of stars I drew in a notebook came out as a negative and I couldn’t work out how the hell it was meant to transfer without covering 99 per cent of the image in purple. I imagine this would be a great feature for people who can actually draw, like my very talented colleague Ruby Innes.

If you just want to print your phone snaps as-is you can do that too. The Simple Print function on the Instax Mini Link 2 does what it says, while giving you the option to colour-correct, crop, apply a filter, and add text or a sticker.

Instax Mini Link 2 review - simple print
I’m a knitter, can you tell? Image: Melissa Matheson/Gizmodo Australia

The app also allows you to print a screenshot from a video on your phone, and transform your phone into an Instax camera, but with the lovely addition of being able to delete dodgy shots. No wasted film, huzzah!

Instax Mini Link 2: Final verdict

It doesn’t have the same romance or spontaneity as the Instax cameras, but the Link 2 smartphone printer is a great option if you want multiple prints of a treasured shot. I also found it came in handy after I lugged my Instax Mini on a whirlwind trip to Sweden and forgot to take a single photo. The Link 2 printer allowed me to salvage that with some pretty cool collage photos from my phone.

While the Instax Minis are not great in low light (that flash flatters no one) the Link 2 solves that by harnessing the power of the iPhone camera (I’ve got an iPhone 13 Mini and it’s great in low light). However, I found the colours of the Link 2 prints aren’t as vibrant as the images on your phone, even when using the Instax-Rich Mode. All my images printed with a yellow tint and weren’t as crisp as they appeared in the app.

For me, the Instax Link 2 is not a replacement for any of the Instax cameras, it’s just a fun option. Think of it this way: If you’re a fan of scrapbooking then the Link 2 is very much your jam. If you hate scrapbooking, like I do, then you’re only going to use a handful of functions and an Instax camera is probably better value for you. Plus the camera is pretty cool to wear on holidays, even if you don’t end up taking any photos with it.

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