Harken back to the days of instant photography with this nifty gadget.

In an age of digital complexity where pictures taken on smartphones can be edited and retaken with little to no effort, Polaroid-like instant cameras still maintain a special place in our hearts. There’s just something really satisfying about waiting for a picture to develop on instant film, and Japan loves it.

Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy has designed a specialized photo printer made for smartphones, making use of instant film to bring back the fun into developing pictures. Called Printoss, this little device bagged the Best Japanese Toy 2017 award and has quickly become the bestseller in the photo printer category on Amazon Japan.

▼ Easily print out pictures taken on your smartphone with the Printoss.

Our Japanese-language reporter K. Nagahashi watched the video and couldn’t wait to get his hands on one of the units. Given his love for toys and photography, his inevitable purchase of a Printoss seemed like a no-brainer.

▼ 3,700 yen (US$33.90) for a toy printer? Why not!

Unfortunately the unit didn’t come with instant film at the time of writing, so he had to make a separate order. But all the expenses would be worth it if it meant getting some sweet Polaroid nostalgia.

▼ Instax Mini film was his choice of ammunition (10 sheets, 734 yen)

▼ Nagahashi was shaking with excitement as he unboxed everything.

▼ The film fit snugly into the back of the unit with a satisfying click.

▼ A few twists on the knob caused the instant film cover
to be spit out. Printoss was now primed and ready!

▼ Nagahashi unfolded the unit’s wings and
took out the white plastic frame within.

▼ Removing the little transparent sticky sheets from the frame was easy.

▼ He switched off his iPhone’s auto-brightness feature and adjusted
the brightness to roughly 80 percent as per the instructions.

▼ For a test print, Nagahashi decided to go with a stunning photo of
fellow Japanese correspondant, Go Hattori’s alter-ego Ray,

▼ He then placed his iPhone on the supports with the screen facing down…

▼ …clicked the little shutter button on the side…

▼ …and twisted the knob as if his life depended on it.

▼ And after a few moments…

▼ …the picture was finished!

▼ Amazed at how a toy printer like this with no battery or electricity
could develop instant film, Nagahashi went ahead and created even more.

Nagahashi was rather pleased with the vintage feel of them, and although he was thoroughly satisfied with his purchase, there are some important points to keep in mind for prospective buyers.

The window of the white plastic frame measures 46 x 62 millimeters (1.81 x 2.44 inches), meaning that screens larger than that will have borders blocked out. Images displayed on a vanilla iPhone 7 or 8 would be perfect, but the Plus series which have enlarged screens will suffer a bit of cropping issues.

▼ As shown here, but at least Mr. Sato’s in there.

▼ Here’s a size comparison of pictures on Nagahashi’s
iPhone 7 Plus and the developed images.

▼ There’s significantly less workable area.

▼ The color is also a little bit off, but chances are you’re
not too worried about accuracy with a printer like this.

What’s more, the smartphone may move when pressing the shutter button after being placed on the supports, resulting in blurred images and wasted film.

▼ At least the tiny mirror inside lets you confirm
if your smartphone has automatically switched off.

Perhaps the most crucial thing about the Printoss is that the picture’s quality is largely dependant on the brightness of your smartphone, and our trusty reporter recommends setting it at 70 to 80 percent on iPhone 7 Plus.

▼ Depending on your model and make,
it might take several tries to get the best picture quality.

Printoss is now available online here.

Despite its shortcomings, the Printoss can be the perfect present for loved ones who grew up on Polaroid film, spicing up the simple act of taking pictures on smartphones into something much more. Weighing 350 grams (0.77 pounds), the printer can also be easily brought to parties for some great entertainment. As Mr. Sato knows, a bit of retro photography can never go wrong.

Images: ©SoraNews24
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