Fujifilm’s new Instax Square Link is the latest in the company’s range of pocketable instant photo printers. Using the same film cartridges as the supremely successful Instax instant cameras, these printers can deliver great-looking prints in a few seconds with a popular retro look.

As a direct replacement for 2017’s Instax Share SP-3, the new printer brings some welcome updates. However, not all of the changes are for the better.

Here, I explain the differences between the two models to help you decide which you should buy or whether it might be time to upgrade.

Main Differences at a glance

The new Instax Square Link brings:

  • A redesigned, lighter, more compact body
  • Improved print output with the new ‘rich’ print mode
  • Connection via Bluetooth instead of WiFi
  • A USB-C charging port
  • New battery with lower capacity, but quicker charge time
  • An all-new smartphone app with improved features

Instax Share SP-3 Features removed:

  • Direct connection to Fujifilm mirrorless cameras
  • Indicator lights
  • Removable battery

Redesigned Body – smaller and lighter, but missing Indicators

Available in ‘ash white’ or ‘midnight green’, the Instax Square Link features a smaller and significantly lighter body with subtly curved lines that give it the appearance of a small pillow. The pointed, angular design of the Instax Share SP-3, on the other hand, appears to have served as design inspiration for the Tesla Cybertruck. It comes in simple ‘black’ or ‘white’ versions.

One thing missing from the new printer’s design is the Instax Share SP-3’s row of LED indicator lights. These show remaining battery life and film capacity at a glance, without having to load up the companion app.

Print Output – new color mode

Perhaps the most significant change comes in the quality of print output.

Both printers use Fujifilm’s Instax Square film, which produces 62mm x 62mm images framed on a durable 86mm by 72mm print. The print resolution and technology also remain the same at 800×800 pixels and 256 shades available of each red, green, and blue color component.

However, many will prefer the output from the Instax Square Link which now adds Fujifilm’s new ‘Rich’ print mode. This delivers richer, more vibrant colors than the ‘classic’ Instax look, which remains available as an optional setting.

Bluetooth Connection

Another very important change is the switch from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth connectivity. The Instax SP-3’s Wi-Fi connection could often prove a little cumbersome to set up. The Instax Square Link now operates via simpler Bluetooth 4.2 connection instead.

USB-C Charging

The new printer also supports charging via a USB-C port rather than micro-USB as used by the Instax Share SP-3. Note that only Bluetooth connections via the companion app are supported for printing, you can’t print directly from a laptop with a USB cable.

New Battery – lower capacity, faster charging

Where the Instax Share SP-3 came with a replaceable NP-50 rechargeable battery, the Instax Square Link comes with a fixed battery that can’t be replaced. It also reduces the maximum number of prints from 160 down to 100 on a single charge. Something worth considering if you plan on using the printer while out and about or at an event. Thankfully the new camera does charge significantly faster, in as little as 80 minutes, compared to the three hours of charge time required to replenish the Instax Share SP-3.

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An All-New Smartphone App

Each Instax printer comes with its own smartphone app and, in addition to supporting Bluetooth connectivity, the new Instax Square Link app adds some fun new features to help you edit, enhance and share your photos.

Both cameras’ apps allow you to edit, crop and save your photos, but the Instax Square Link also adds augmented reality features which let you add animated overlays and messages to your photos which become visible when viewed via the in-app camera.

These are activated by means of a QR code, printed visibly in the corner of your photo, which can be scanned by any smartphone to launch the effects. The viewer must, however, have the Instax Square Link app installed to see the results. Scanning the QR code will prompt them to install it if they don’t have it already. They don’t need to own an Instax printer to be able to do this, although there are several unnecessary and unskippable setup screens that must be navigated before they can start using it.

Also new is Fujifilm’s Instax Connect feature which allows the user to add personal messages to any image before sending it directly to any of their contacts. The recipient will receive a notification allowing them to print the image directly, along with the overlaid message. It also features the ability to set calendar reminders.

Direct Camera Connection Removed

One key feature of the Instax Share SP-3 sadly absent from the Instax Square Link is the ability to print directly from a selection of Fujifilm digital cameras. With this feature owners of supported cameras can produce instant prints on an Instax Share SP-3 without having to load up the smartphone app. Those sort of direct printing is sadly no-longer available on the new model.

Price

The good news is that the Instax Square Link is significantly less expensive, retailing at £129.99$139.95 USD Vs £174.99/$199.95 USD for the Instax Share SP-3. However, the Instax Share SP-3 has already been removed from the US Instax site and prices already seem to be going up as stocks become depleted.

The Bottom Line

The Instax Square Link prints more vibrant photos, costs less, is smaller, lighter and cuter than the older Instax SP-3 but does miss out on camera connectivity and extended battery life. For most users the new printer will be a much more compelling purchase, but if you need any of those missing features, buy an Instax Share SP-3 now before stocks run out.

Key specs of the two printer models are shown below:

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