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Polaroid Now i-Type Review

The old school fun and classic prints you know and love with a few modern perks
Polaroid Now i-Type
Credit: Polaroid
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $120 List | $110.27 at Amazon
Pros:  Classic instant film experience, beautiful vintage-looking prints
Cons:  Expensive film, awkward size
Manufacturer:   Polaroid
By Adam Yee ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 24, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Image Quality - 40% 6.3
  • User Friendliness - 30% 7.2
  • Features - 15% 7.0
  • Battery - 15% 8.0

Our Verdict

With its throwback look, feel, and simplicity, the Polaroid Now i-Type is geared toward the nostalgic crowd. The retro vibe extends beyond the design and onto the images, which have muted colors and aren't as sharp as most modern instant cameras. This camera is very easy to operate and includes a double exposure mode and an adjustable flash for those who want to be more hands-on. However, this model's size, shape, and weight feel bulky compared to other more current options. The Now shoots best in indoor settings, but it doesn't adapt to extreme (i.e., bright/dark) conditions very well. But for those who simply crave the Polaroid experience of their childhood, look no further.

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Polaroid Now i-Type
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Price $120 List
$110.27 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Classic instant film experience, beautiful vintage-looking printsLots of creative options, convenient size, great image quality, can save photos and view before printingDurable, comfortable to use, creative optionsDurable, user friendly, adjusts well to different lightingEasy to use, convenient size, reliable, budget friendly
Cons Expensive film, awkward sizeMild learning curve to ensure prints come out well in different lighting situationsLearning curve, heavy for its size, super contrasty prints with dark lightingA slight learning curve, tends to shoot dark, on the heavy sideLimited creative controls, non adjustable flash
Bottom Line The old school fun and classic prints you know and love with a few modern perksA hybrid that utilizes the best parts of digital and film, all in one convenient little packageA nice mid-sized option with lots of features that adapts well to different lighting conditionsA visually pleasing blend of modern instant camera tech with old-fashioned film appealA reliable and simple to use option that's great for all ages
Rating Categories Polaroid Now i-Type Fujifilm Instax Min... Fujifilm Instax Squ... Fujifilm Instax Wid... Fujifilm Instax Min...
Image Quality (40%)
6.3
7.5
6.5
6.8
7.0
User Friendliness (30%)
7.2
8.7
8.1
7.5
8.2
Features (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.4
7.4
6.8
Battery (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.5
9.0
6.5
Specs Polaroid Now i-Type Fujifilm Instax Min... Fujifilm Instax Squ... Fujifilm Instax Wid... Fujifilm Instax Min...
Film Cost Per Photo (approx) $2.12 $0.85 $0.95 $0.85 $0.95
Film Capacity 8 shots 10 shots 10 shots 10 shots 10 shots
Battery Capacity Claimed: 15 packs (or up to 60 days)
Tested: Battery never died during our test period, but it started to lack power around 6 packs and self timer wouldn't work without charging
Claimed: 100 prints per charge depending on conditions
Tested: Accurate; camera was used in a wide variety of conditions (cold, indoor/outdoor, near a heater), and the charge was never drastically affected.
Claimed: 30 Instax Square 10-pack
Tested: Accurate; the same batteries it came with were used throughout all of testing
Claimed: 30 Instax Square 10-pack
Tested: Accurate; the same batteries it came with were used throughout all of testing
Claimed: 10 Instax Mini film packs of 10 exposures each
Tested: Batteries the camera came with died after a few packs, not 10. The camera lasted longer with different batteries but continued to die before hitting 10 packs.
Power Supply Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB) Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB) Two CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries Four size AA 1.5 V alkaline batteries Two AA-size alkaline batteries (LR6)
Dimensions (as per manufacturer) 94 mm x 112 mm x 150 mm 82.5 mm x 122.9 mm x 36.7 mm (excluding protrusions) 118.7 mm x 128.1 mm x 58.1 mm (excluding protrusions) 167.8 mm x 94.7 mm x 120.9 mm (excluding protrusions) 107.6 mm x 121.2 mm x 67.3 mm
Weight (as per manufacturer) 15.2 oz (without film pack) 8 oz (without fiilm pack and memory card) 10.4 oz (without battery, strap, and film pack) 21.6 oz (without battery, strap, film pack, and close up lens) 10.4 oz (without battery, strap, and film)
Picture Size (as per manufacturer) 88.9 mm x 116.68 mm prints with a 78.74 mm x 78.74 mm image area 62 mm x 46 mm 62 mm x 62 mm 62 mm x 99 mm 62 mm x 46 mm
Image Settings Double exposure Multiple filters (stylish, B/W, sepia, fish eye, vivid), 10 in-camera frames (antlers, color stripe, light bar, wings, speech bubble, photo inside a photo, comic strip, etc.), 30 frame options through the app, ability to put a time stamp on prints Double exposure, light or dark mode, macro, landscape, portrait Light or dark mode, djustable focal zoom dial Autofocus
Focus Distances Autofocus system via 2 fixed focus zones 0.55 m-1.3 m, 0.6 m - infinity 3.94 in / 10 cm to infinity Macro Mode (0.3 m - 0.5 m/1 ft - 1.6 ft)
Normal Mode (0.5 m - 2 m/1.6 ft - 6.6 ft)
Landscape Mode (2 m/6.6 ft and beyond)
Motor-driven 2-range switching (0.9 m - 3 m / 3m - infinity) Normal Mode (0.9 m - 3 m) Landscape Mode (3m - infinity) 0.3 m and beyond (use selfie mode for 0.3 m to 0.5 m)
Focal Length 103 mm standard, 89 mm portrait 28 mm (35 mm fiilm equivalent) 0.3 m and beyond (use selfie mode for 0.3 m to 0.5 m) 95 mm 60 mm
Aperture f/11 - f/64 f/2 f/12.7 f/14 f/12.7
Film or Digital Film Film prints, digital camera Film Film Film
Film Development Time 10 to 15 minutes Around 90 seconds to develop, 12 seconds to print 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature) 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature) 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature)

Our Analysis and Test Results

Relying heavily on its retro style and brand name, the Polaroid Now has a recognizable design with a few updates. Similar to its predecessors, this camera has minimal buttons, making it simple to operate, but the body is bulky and slightly awkward to shoot with compared to current competitors. Like the camera itself, the photos have an old-school feel with muted colors, a soft focus, and vignetting, giving them a vintage vibe. The newer features like a double exposure setting, adjustable flash, and self-timer are definitely nice, but they don't help the images from sometimes coming out blurry or out of focus. Scoring right around average in most of our tests, this camera didn't really stand out in any particular area, but it does deliver that classic instant film experience.

Performance Comparison


Polaroid Now i-Type instant camera - the polaroid now has minimal controls making it very user friendly.
The Polaroid Now has minimal controls making it very user friendly.
Credit: Laura Casner

Image Quality


The Polaroid Now came in at the lower end of average in our image quality tests due to the limited and inconsistent range of colors. This caused many of the color prints to look as though they were shot on black and white film. However, when actually using black and white film, the image quality improved, showing more richness in details, a wider range of hues, and better clarity. This camera performed best in ambient indoor lighting and did better during golden hour than in any other outdoor setting, but the clarity was often distorted and details were frequently lost in all other conditions. As a brand that's synonymous with instant cameras and that has been making them for well over half a century, it is surprising that Polaroid hasn't done more to improve the quality of its prints.


These days, several brands make cameras with a vintage aesthetic to their design. However, most others have added updates to the functionality of their cameras, allowing them to produce a sharper and more current-looking image. As previously mentioned, the Polaroid Now does produce better quality photos when used with black and white film, but it's a shame that this consistency doesn't carry over to the color prints.

Polaroid Now i-Type instant camera - the polaroid now is simple to operate but also includes an...
The Polaroid Now is simple to operate but also includes an adjustable flash and double exposure setting.
Credit: Laura Casner

User Friendliness


Having minimal controls and a straightforward interface, we expected the Polaroid Now to be quite user-friendly, and in the most basic sense, it is. But, due to its awkward size and the inconsistency of its prints, it didn't score particularly high. Although the design is similar to a retro Polaroid, which may be appealing for nostalgia's sake, it is rather bulky, making it harder to carry both from the neck strap and in a bag.


This camera is user-friendly in that there aren't many settings to mess with, so it can be easily shared when socializing. However, despite the limited controls, getting a usable print is more difficult than you'd think, as close to half of the shots we took ended up getting thrown out due to blurriness or a lack of color contrast. The Now simply lacks the controls to help it adapt to different lighting and capture scenes realistically. It also didn't score very highly because changing the film packs can be troublesome and sometimes required forceful pulling. That said, for anyone who is more worried about capturing the moment than achieving clarity and accuracy, the Polaroid Now will do a decent job of accomplishing this.

Polaroid Now i-Type instant camera - the polaroid now is easy to use but the film can be finicky during...
The Polaroid Now is easy to use but the film can be finicky during development.
Credit: Laura Casner

Features


While it doesn't have many features, the Polaroid Now does come equipped with some updated options that add to its fun. The most artistic addition is the double exposure setting, allowing for two frames to be captured in one photo, which is something our parent's Polaroid cameras couldn't do. This camera also has a two-lens autofocus system that adjusts the focal length automatically to help you get the best shot from any distance. The adjustable flash is another welcome addition that gives the user more control and helps the camera adapt to different lighting conditions. Other upgrades include a self-timer, digital shot counter display, and rechargeable battery, which may not improve the photo quality or support creativity, but are nice to have nonetheless.


When compared to its competitors, the Polaroid Now has fewer features than most, placing it toward the bottom third of the pack in this metric. So, even though this camera does have a few updated features, the numerous creative controls provided by the more modern options overshadow it by far.

Polaroid Now i-Type instant camera - some updated features add appeal to this nostalgic camera, but it...
Some updated features add appeal to this nostalgic camera, but it still offers less than many of the more cutting edge options.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery


Our battery test was the one area where the Polaroid Now did quite well, especially compared to the other rechargeable cameras in our review. We never fully killed the battery on this camera, but it did start to lose power after shooting around six packs of film, and the self-timer wouldn't work until we gave it a brief charge.


Polaroid claims that this camera should last for up to 60 days or 15 packs of film, which we find to be a pretty generous statement, though we didn't push to quite that limit. Either way, the rechargeable battery in this camera held up well through our tests and never died, so the manufacturer's estimate likely isn't too far off.

Polaroid Now i-Type instant camera - battery life on this updated classic is quite good.
Battery life on this updated classic is quite good.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


After our assessment, we found the cost of the Polaroid Now to be slightly expensive but still fair. Considering its average scores across the board, it's fitting that its price tag is also right in the middle. It didn't outshine the others in any area, but it also didn't have any huge malfunctions or problems. The main drawbacks of this camera are that the images are often hazy, and the cost per photo of Polaroid film is more than twice as expensive as any other brand. The double exposure and other features definitely help to up the value from similarly priced models, but it still feels like you're paying extra for the brand name.

Conclusion


Offering classic style and a few fun perks, the Polaroid Now i-Type is simple to use and instantly recognizable. Its old-school look is accompanied by vintage-looking photos that often have a pink tint and a slightly blurry and dreamy feel. This camera performs best when used with monochrome film, as many of the color prints ended up looking black and white due to a lack of color clarity. The minimal controls make it easy to share with friends or loved ones, and it shoots most consistently indoors, where the images often come out moody and artsy. Overall, the Polaroid Now is an enjoyable and reliable camera that produces the classic mementos the brand is known for.

Polaroid Now i-Type instant camera - with its familiar retro styling, the polaroid now offers simple...
With its familiar retro styling, the Polaroid Now offers simple point and shoot action.
Credit: Laura Casner

Adam Yee

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