The Instax Pal is essentially a round, palm-sized digital camera that doesn’t print any photos and doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder. Instead, it generates images using the companion app, and you can then print those photos via the included Instax Mini Link 2 smartphone printer. The price also includes a 10-pack of Instax Mini film, which is a nice extra that Fujifilm’s instant cameras don’t often offer.
I’m not going to lie: my first thought when I heard about the Instax Pal was, “But… WhyAfter all, Fujifilm already sells the Instax Mini Evo instant camera, which can also send images to an app And prints photos for about the same price. It also comes with a real viewfinder as well as other controls that make it feel like a real camera. The Instax Mini Evo also doesn’t try to guilt me into using it by making weird, sad sounds when it’s idle.
My best guess is that Fujifilm is trying to replicate some of the success of its Instax Mini Evo instant camera by creating an easier-to-use, cuter version for kids. That’s why everything about the camera is designed to scream “fun.” You can, for example, create your own custom shutter sounds, add filters, text, and stickers in the app, and apparently even earn rewards (although I’m still figuring out how). And of course, its small size and removable ring should make it easier for little hands to hold.
At the same time, as with the Instax Mini Evo, children can choose which photos they want to print. This is a feature that parents will especially appreciate, as it can help kids avoid wasting expensive movies on bad shots.
But is all this worth $199.95? I’m still testing the camera and its app – which is still under development – so I can’t give a definitive opinion yet. But so far, I’m not convinced. An instant camera that doesn’t print any photos and doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder? It doesn’t feel like the Instax Pal is a camera but rather a nice accessory that comes with a smartphone printer.