The new Polaroid Z340 has been designed to combine digital photography with instant printing in one handy product, and we were invited along for a sneak preview.
The 14MP camera sports classic Polaroid styling, with the rather large chassis sporting a decidedly nostalgic look. While the aesthetics hark back to the old days, the technology involved is right at home in the 21st century. Digital photos can be taken using the pop-up 2.7in LCD screen which can then also be used to review your snaps and there's also a 4x digital zoom on board. Pictures can be cropped and edited on the Z340 before being stored on SD card or printed directly from the camera.
The built-in printer uses Zink paper which comprises three layers of dye crystals that are activated by heat to produce the image, so there's no need for any pesky printer cartridges. Once printed, the pictures are designed to be water resistant, smudge proof and tear proof.
You'll have the choice of whether to add the classic Polaroid white border to your snaps or to stick with full bleed 3 x 4in pictures, while an app will enable you to personalise your prints by designing your own borders.
The camera is gripped in the same way as a classic Polaroid snapper and we were also told that the Z340 will sport a camcorder-style handstrap by the time it hits the shops. Although slightly bulky, we found that the camera was comfortable to hold, despite its slightly old-school chunkiness which, if anything, adds to its charm (although this is certainly not a product for those that want a pocket-sized camera).
Although the models that were on display were early, non-operational samples, there was a working sample on site that was being closely guarded by a professional photographer who was taking snaps of attendees. She told us that the camera was extremely easy to use and although not the lightest camera around, it's still a lot lighter than its size might suggest.
The Polaroid Z340 comes with ten sheets of Zink photo paper, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a charger, and USB cable. It's due to hit the shops in time for Christmas and will be priced at £229.99.