Instagram may have brought back the Polaroid-style photo, but it's LG that's trying to bring back the instant print. At CES today, LG is showcasing the second version of Pocket Photo, a portable printer that can quickly turn your cellphone pictures into 2 x 3-inch prints.
Just like Polaroid, Pocket Photo's printing process alters the look of every photo that passes through it. Sometimes that means saturating its colors, other times that means giving a stark, washed-out look, but it seemed to always mean printing out a photo that's a little bit more interesting to look at than whatever came straight out of your smartphone.
Printing a photo requires downloading LG's companion app, but it's a surprisingly simple process. It's available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and while the app itself is far from beautiful, it makes it easy enough to crop photos and connect to the printer over NFC or Bluetooth. I saw the printer pair with both an iPhone and an LG G2, and both printed without a problem.
Printing won't be cheap though. The printer itself, which should go on sale in the US in the next few months, sells for $149, and its photo paper sells in packs of 30 for $15. The good news is that that's all you'll need: there's no ink cartridge you'll have to refill because the printing all happens through heating up the photo paper. That printing process takes about a minute, but that's not much of an inconvenience — you'll probably want to pace yourself given the high price of added paper anyway.
Though this is Pocket Photo 2.0, not much has changed from the original model. LG says this new model holds its charge for longer — long enough now to make it through an entire pack of photos. It's also smaller by 4mm, but it's still by no means a tiny device. It's small enough and light enough to throw in a bag if you know you'll want to use it with some friends later on, but it's not something you'd want to keep in a purse day in and day out. For all those times without it, you'll just have to head back to Instagram.