Polaroid Go review: a compact and cute instant camera with a vintage look

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Judit Llordes
@juditllordes
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The Polaroid Go is a small instant camera that comes just after the Polaroid Now and also delivers square format photos. The Go enters into direct competition with the Instax Mini from Fujifilm, provided with a credit card format.

Presentation

While we recently tested the Polaroid Now, the manufacturer unveiled the Polaroid Go in April 2021. In addition to a design using the same graphic codes, the Go differs above all in its reduced size. A compactness that forces Polaroid to also present a new film format, still in square format, but much smaller.



Fujifilm and its Instax Mini in the crosshairs

Of course, this novelty can only remind us of Fujifilm and its Instax Mini which also have a very small film format, but in a rectangular format. Moreover, we have also just tested the Instax Mini 40 with a retro look and which is presented as a variation of the Instax Mini 11.


The Polaroid Go has something to seduce.



The Polaroid Go therefore uses the square format for its films, but also a form of simplicity of use. In addition, the double exposure and self-timer functions are also renewed. In short, the Go is the little brother of the Polaroid Now.

Price and availability

The Polaroid Go has been on the market since the end of April 2021 at a price of €119,99. The 16 films divided into 2 cartridges are sold for €19,99. A pack including the camera and 16 films sold for €139,99, so no savings compared to buying the whole thing separately.

Polaroid Go Film


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Getting started

He is cute

The Polaroid Now already had its own design, with its white and gray dress, its little rainbow above the lens and the red release button. The Polaroid Go takes up these codes and takes the opportunity to round off the corners a bit. The result is a very cute little device. Without wanting to advance us too much, he will surely be noticed by his little face, as much among children as among adults.




The small face of Go does not leave indifferent.

Beyond its devastating look, this design has the merit of being really practical. He quickly finds a small corner to lodge in a satchel or in a handbag. Obviously, in use, the very light Polaroid Go is therefore easy to use.

Pay attention to transportation

Note, however, that the slightly textured white plastic coating easily attracts smudges. It will be almost essential to protect it in a small cover. It will also be necessary to take care not to position your fingers in front of the flash – and the various sensors positioned below – or in front of the lens as the device is compact.


To the right of the counter, the luminous point indicates the activation of the flash. You will notice the marks of friction on the white surface.

On the top, we find the very characteristic red trigger button. It helps focus and lock exposure when halfway. Like a more classic camera, it is possible to measure the exposure and focus before changing the frame to create its composition.


Advanced functions

Next to the trigger button, the dedicated flash button loses the yellow color found on the Polaroid Now. This button is used to activate specific Go functions:

  • a simple press deactivates the flash
  • a long press (about 2 seconds) activates the 9-second self-timer
  • a quick double tap activates the double exposure function.


The Polaroid Go comes with some colorful stickers and a wrist strap.

The new viewfinder of the Polaroid Go seemed to us nicer and wider than that of the Polaroid Now; a height! Shifted to the left, it suffers from a small parallax problem: the framing is a little different between the sight and the captured image. It is a classic on this type of device. If the subject is positioned at less than 1,2 m, the framing must be compensated by slightly offsetting the subject towards the upper left corner.

Easy selfies

While an Instax Mini 11 offers a small selfie mirror, the Now didn't make it easy for the user. With the Go, Polaroid corrects the problem. A mirror effect coating has been placed on the viewfinder and thus makes it easier to take a self-portrait. It's much better, even if the small mirror remains more practical.


The Polaroid Go fits easily in the palm of your hand.

At the rear, the film counter is very bright and practical. Note that if by chance you happened to open the film refill compartment, the counter would then start at 0, losing the real count. This is all the more problematic since the films housed inside the Polaroid Go could be messed up.

USB charging

The Polaroid Go does not offer tripod threads, a feature that is becoming increasingly rare. Finally, the Polaroid Go has a rechargeable battery thanks to a supplied micro-USB cable. When plugged in, the green, orange or red light indicates the charge level.


The Polaroid Go is definitely more compact than its big brother, the Polaroid Now.

Reactivity

The Polaroid Go powers up quickly once the power button is pressed. Triggering is also very fast. Be careful, even if the latency is low, the recording is not quite instantaneous. This offset must be taken into account to avoid having an intruder on the image.

A rapid onset, but a very long development

A few fractions of a second later, the photo is quickly ejected! This can also surprise during the first use. The plate is then protected by a black protective film. The photo must be left in place for 5 seconds to protect it from light rays which could damage it. What's more, it is better to keep the image face down to protect it from an unwanted light source for a little longer.


On the underside of the Polaroid Go, a hatch allows you to insert the refill of 8 films.

Without shaking the picture, it is then necessary to wait about 15 minutes to have a suitable result. It's rather long, although this point also contributes to the charm of this technology. However, this does not hinder the use of the device, even if the Fujifilm Instax remain more practical on this point.


With the Go, Polaroid unveiled a new film format.

Image quality

A new very compact format

Along with the Polaroid Go, the company also presented a new film format (66,6 x 53,9 mm) dedicated to the new device. The aspect ratio is almost square; it measures 46 mm wide by 47 mm high. Compared to the square format of the Polaroid Now, the Go film offers an image area reduced by almost 3 times, all the same.

It is very difficult to judge the image quality of an instant camera as the result depends on the film used and not necessarily within the image quality standards as we usually understand it. In this sense, the tests in our laboratory have not been very conclusive in bringing out the Polaroid Go against its competitors. Indeed, the results obtained with a classic exposure of our scene or in very low light without flash were rather catastrophic.


The photo of our scene with its default exposure is unusable.

Exposure not always well measured

Shooting with the scene normally lit and without flash is a problem for the Polaroid Go. The image is thus largely overexposed. With flash on, the Go reduces exposure, but it's not enough to compensate for overexposure. With our lighting in very low light, the Polaroid can't offer a good shot. It is this time too underexposed.

Finally, it is the night scene with the flash activated which offers the best rendering, which we also saw with the Polaroid Now. Polaroid specifies it well in its user manual: leaving the flash activated is generally the best option. Reading the manual is particularly recommended to understand how the Polaroid Go works and to take note of the little tips that are scattered there. It is available for download on the Polaroid website.


In very low light, the Polaroid Go is not able to take a good photo without the flash.

An assumed vintage tone

The image often offers a somewhat retro-looking purple tint. It is not uncommon to have a shot that is a little too underexposed. And getting a well-done image often requires several costly tries. If faithful, detailed and more vividly colored reproduction is a primary criterion for you, an Instax Mini 40 is positioned as a better choice.

On the other hand, the Polaroid Go gives us a marked and assumed vintage rendering that some may prefer beyond the intrinsic "quality" of the film. From our point of view, the aspect remains interesting, but also more difficult to master to obtain what can be considered as a beautiful image.

Galerie d'images

  • © Guillaume du Mesgnil d'Engente / TechnologiesTips
12 images

Highlights

  • Compact design and size.

  • Double exposure function and self-timer.

  • Selfie mirror.

  • Films with an assumed retro look.

  • Deactivable flash.

  • USB charging.

Weak points

  • Exposure of the image sometimes missed.

  • Polaroid film more difficult to use.

  • No screws.

  • Long development time.

  • Plastic coating sensitive to friction.

Conclusion

Note globale

True little brother of the Polaroid Now, the Polaroid Go has something to seduce. In addition to a very cute and really compact look, it does not forget to offer a self-timer, and especially the famous double exposure. If the Polaroid Go is not difficult to handle, mastering it to achieve a beautiful image is another pair of sleeves. The more cautious will probably turn to a Fujifilm Instax Mini 11. For the more daring, succeeding in a shot with retro tones with the Polaroid Go will not fail to bring certain satisfaction.

Sub Notes
  • Getting started
  • Reactivity
  • Image quality
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