Hands-on with Polaroid’s Socialmatic Instagram camera

We wanted to love it. We sort of still do.

Mar 1, 2020, 12:39 pm*

Tech

Taylor Hatmaker 

Taylor Hatmaker

What is there not to love about a giant 3D Instagram icon that prints tiny photos? Letting nothing stand in our way, we tracked down Polaroid‘s Socialmatic digital camera last week on the show floor at CES 2015. It’s an irresistibly kitschy concept and one we were eager to get our hands on… so eager, in fact, that we looked into ways to rig up our own Instagram camera in the mean time.

Taylor Hatmaker

The Socialmatic isn’t just your average digital camera in most ways. For one, it’s a printer—one running Android. Unfortunately, it’s stuck on Android 4.4, and if you’re worried about upgrading your device to the newest, smoothest Android experience, you better believe that a kitschy digital camera will be last in line. 

The Socialmatic packs a 4.5-inch, awkwardly rectangular touchscreen that also serves as a viewfinder—with a 14MP front-facing camera and a 2MP back-facing camera. The tiny photos the Socialmatic produces are 2-inch by 3-inch full-color images that print out of the right side of the device after a bit of a wait. Naturally, you can connect the Socialmatic to the Internet and your smartphone over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker

Ultimately, the Socialmatic is even more superfluous than a lot of already pretty superfluous gadgets. There’s almost no reason to buy a point-and-shoot camera, let alone one that prints tiny photos on top of what your smartphone already does, but it’s still a fun idea. The Socialmatic’s execution could have been a bit smoother considering its $299 price tag, but it’s such a silly idea to begin with we can’t help but remain a bit smitten. 

Photos via Taylor Hatmaker

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*First Published: Jan 13, 2015, 10:48 pm