Polaroid Go Review: Fun Little Instant Camera With Some Caveats

Updated: Aug 21

Polaroid is back with what they claim is "the world’s smallest analogue instant camera". Courtesy of our friends at Tech360.tv and Polaroid’s local distributors, my partner Jacq and I had the opportunity to take this tiny camera out for a ride.

First off, the Polaroid Go is an absolute beauty. Its design pays homage to the old-school Polaroid cameras of the 70s and 80s while ensuring modernity with its clear white overall aesthetic and curved edges. The signature rainbow stripe is the cherry on the cake for this minimalistic yet cute device.

At just 4.1 inches long, 3.3 inches wide and 2.4 inches tall (105 x 84 x 61mm), the Polaroid Go is really tiny. It fits in the palm of one hand and is super lightweight, weighing just 242g. Most importantly, it is extremely portable – something you can easily pack into a small sling bag on a day out without taking up too much space. We definitely found it more likely for us to take it out as compared to its bigger brother, the Polaroid Now.

Given its small size, I was a little worried that it would be cumbersome for my big hands to operate. But after taking a few initial test shots, I found it really comfortable to handle and take photos with. With smaller hands, Jacq felt that the Polaroid Go fit like a glove, and she starting operating it like it was second nature to her.

The Polaroid Go also comes with its own lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which according to Polaroid is able to last you through 15 packs of film, each of which allows for 8 instant photos before you need to recharge it via USB. While we didn’t have that many packs of film on hand to push its battery life, the knowledge of a strong battery life gave us the confidence to snap away without any worries.

In addition to its portability is its ease of use. Shooting instant photos with the Polaroid Go is a no-frills affair as you only find two buttons on the camera – one for the shutter and the other for the flash. The flash button has multiple functions: as a self-timer by holding down the button for a few seconds and to activate double exposure mode by pressing the button down twice. The selfie mirror was obviously great and we found ourselves using it together with the self-timer function the most as we explored Jewel on a day out.

That said, we highly recommend users who are using this for the first time to read the short manual before you actually start loading in your film and shooting with it so as not to waste any of your films.

Photos aesthetics are washed out and not exactly sharp, but we guess that’s the charm and uniqueness of the instant camera after all. Each photo that emerges is in a 1:1 aspect ratio that covers a surface area of 46 x 47mm, which is relatively small. The plus point of such a small size, though, is that you can easily fit these photos into your wallet or decorate your walls with them easily without taking up too much space!

While we understand instant photo is not like shooting on a DSLR/mirrorless camera or even your smartphone where you have more control over the final outcome, the result from the Polaroid Go was too much of a hit-and-miss situation for us. You will probably see from other reviews online that this is the consensus, where the results of the photos are too erratic.

As seen from these examples above, the 4 photos on the left came out relatively nice as compared to the four photos on the right, which were clearly underexposed.

We initially thought this was only for shots taken further away and that selfies wouldn’t run into such problems. However, as seen on the selfie examples on the right, the camera has limitations when handling bright sunlight and backlit lighting, as well as capturing images in low light situations even with the in-built flash.

Nonetheless, it is still pretty remarkable for such a small instant camera, and we might have been expecting too much given that we are too used to perfectly exposed selfies taken on our smartphones and cameras.

The USB charging port was another miss for us, given that it is still using a microUSB input instead of USB-C, which is a standard now across the majority of gadgets.

Lastly, the film is a little on the pricey side. A double pack, which gives you 16 shots, retails for around S$36, which means each photo is about S$2.25! That might unfortunately make one a little apprehensive before taking each shot and can take away the fun and enjoyment of shooting with it.

The Polaroid Go is a really fun camera. Its small size and minimalistic design is part of its intended appeal – an instant camera that is compact, portable and easy to use. It was a refreshing experience going back to instant photography, given that most of us today are so used to snapping away with our smartphones and cameras and post-processing them for upload onto Facebook and Instagram soon after. What you shoot with the Go is what you get, and that’s the beauty of capturing moments with it.

On the flip side, the hit-and-miss image quality output of the Polaroid Go can prove to be a downer at times. However, some may consider that as part of the instant photography experience and see it as part and parcel of capturing images that come out in physical copy.

If you love taking instant photos and want something that is small and easy to bring around, the Polaroid Go is definitely the go-to option, given that none of its competitors have a similarly sized product.

The Polaroid Go retails for S$208 and a film pack of 16 retails for S$36. A special bundle for both the camera as well as the film pack is now retailing for S$228.

Rating: 3.2 / 5 Stars

Note: All images taken for review were with the Sony Alpha 7C.

Written by Claudio Chock (@claudio.chock) and Jacqueline (@jiahwee)

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