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The Instax Mini Li Play is a good hybrid with an easy-to-use app.
It is a digital camera and mobile printer Fun function to record audio The app works very well LCD screen MicroSD option
The battery does not last long and you cannot change it. It does not include creative modes. Limited options for printing
The Instax Mini LiPlay is the latest model in the extremely popular line of instant cameras, and it doesn't look like anything you've seen before. More than just a camera, it is also a mobile printer. In fact, the LiPlay (we are not sure how it is pronounced) is basically an Instax Share printer with a digital camera on the front and an LCD screen behind.
You could say that in a way this is cheating, talking about instant film, because the image is not directly exposed by the lens. This makes it a much more practical device both in terms of size and operational cost. The lens is much smaller, because it only needs to cover a tiny sensor, and over time you will save money by not having to print every photo you take. Your starting price of $ 160 dollars is not bad at all.
DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT
The unit we reviewed came in White Stone, the color that makes the camera look like a large soap. The silver touches definitely bring a retro vibe. The surface is very smooth so it is not the easiest camera to hold.
The organization of the buttons does not help with that either. The trigger is on the right front and is difficult to reach with the index finger without the other fingers plugging the flash or lens. The audio recording button is also in front, but in the other corner, and on the left side there are three shortcut buttons and the power button. None of this makes sense, but we imagine that you get used to it. It is part of its charm.
The shortcut buttons allow you to quickly apply a favorite frame and view a previous image before taking the picture; You can also apply frames later. The camera includes many built-in frames you can add everything from text balloons to color effects, and from the application you can add more things. You probably won't be using them all day, but in some situations they can be fun.
As a digital camera, the Mini LiPlay is nothing exceptional, and does not need to be. It has some megapixels, enough to make a 1.8 x 2.4 inch print, and that's really all we need to know. We would not rate the quality of the image as great, but it manages to preserve that aspect of instant old-school movie.
As a digital camera, the Mini LiPlay is nothing exceptional, and does not need to be.
In the menu there is a basic exposure compensation option, and you can activate or deactivate the flash, but that is all as far as manual control is concerned. Simplicity is an advantage in some situations, although it can also be an obstacle. The only focal point is in the center of the frame, for example, and that forces you to focus and then reframe when your point of interest is not right in the center, and the autofocus itself is quite slow.
The screen is also nothing special. It is low resolution and looks worn, but it doesn't matter is an Instax. Our only real complaint is that it is not tactile. Images are recorded in the internal memory or on a MicroSD card.
As a camera it is fun, but the LiPlay is even better as a portable printer. You will get better results by taking a picture with your phone and sending it to the camera to print. It should be noted that better is not synonymous with good, we also print an image taken with a $ 10,000 dollar Hasselblad and a $ 5,000 lens, and anyway it looks like a cheap instant photo, although, well, that's the idea.
A disadvantage that the Mini LiPlay is fully digital is that the battery lasts less
A disadvantage of the Mini LiPlay being fully digital is that the battery lasts less. We took 22 photos, printed 24 and the battery warning light came on. That is definitely not good when compared to other cameras and is even worse for the lack of an interchangeable battery but the good news is that it is charged through a USB, so you can recharge it where you are with a portable USB battery. And you can probably take many more photos if you're not stopping to print.
SELFIES THAT SPEAK
It's no surprise that Instax cameras are popular for selfies (next to the lens there is a mirror so you can frame yourself) and the LiPlay takes your self-expression self-expression one step further, letting you also talk about yourself while you portray yourself.
Outside of jokes, in fact the function to record audio is great. You activate it by pressing the microphone button. Then the LiPlay records 10 seconds of audio next to the next photo you take, including about 5 seconds before the shot (you can also press the microphone button when playing images, to record audio on a photo taken previously although you cannot record audio with a photo of your phone). You can use this function to add audio notes, record a message for a loved one or simply capture ambient sounds to give your photo another dimension. But how is it heard?
This is the interesting part. When you press the print button for a photo with audio, you will have the option to print with sound. This will generate a QR code on the print. When someone scans the photo with the camera of your phone, be taken to a place where you can listen to the recorded audio and see the original image without the QR code. It's like a hidden little message, and we think there are those who can have a lot of fun with this.
AN APPLICATION THAT WORKS
Camera manufacturers are usually not the best when it comes to application development, but the Mini LiPlay app hits the spot. From the application you can print photos taken with your phone, control the camera remotely, view and listen to your photos with audio and program the shortcut buttons.
The LiPlay is a bright and fun product that offers one of the most refined experiences around an instant camera, although it lacks some advanced features present in other Instax models. The application is very well designed and easy to use, and the audio recording and playback system based on QR codes are surprisingly entertaining things.