Fujifilm Instax Square Link Review: It's Hip To Be Square

  • Allows for quick prints of phone images
  • Pairs seamlessly and quickly
  • App is easy to use
  • Prints can be costly
  • Some features are quite gimmicky

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Everything in our lives, it seems, has become ethereal. We no longer have a need for daily newspapers, physical media, or even printed photographs. Virtually anything we might want to consume can be delivered via any number of screens in our pockets, on our desks, or even embedded into our kitchen appliances for some reason.

A backlash against these ubiquitous screens and towards tactility seems to be bubbling to the surface. Walk into a big-box store and quite likely the only way you can buy music is on a vinyl record. Photography buffs have been scouring flea markets and garage sales for film cameras and forgotten lots of film.

Fujifilm has skillfully latched onto that physical media trend that has swept any number of industries. My own children, having had cheap digital cameras nearly their entire lives and smartphones since they were around ten or so, have thoroughly enjoyed their time with their own Fujifilm INSTAX cameras, snapping and sharing precious moments with their friends. The Fujifilm INSTAX Square Link, on the other hand, marries the physical media with the incredible photographic capabilities of our everyday mobile devices with a seamless interface packed with useful and fun features.


As you can likely deduce, the INSTAX Square Link produces square images on INSTAX Square instant film. When printed, the image is 62mm square –- just under 2.5 inches square –- with a resolution of 318 dpi. If you've used any of Fuji's INSTAX cameras, the film is identical, and the process of loading is very similar.

The killer app here is just that — the app. Fujifilm's INSTAX Square Link app, available on both Android and iPhone, is an incredibly easy way to take an image right from your phone and spit out a print. Or ten prints, should the moment inspire. While using a dedicated INSTAX camera is about as intuitive of a process to get a single printed image as there can be, that's all you get out of such a device – a single image. Should a number of friends want to each have a copy of that special moment, the INSTAX Square Link printer allows you to take those images that are already on your phone and print them repeatedly.

Fujifilm provided this INSTAX Square Link printer, as well as film, for purposes of review.

How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?

My kids spend a fair bit of time on Snapchat, for better or worse. My goodness, I'm starting to rant like my own father. Anyhow, sending captioned photos back and forth between a circle of friends is a pastime that seems to know no bounds –- why must they always, always take photos of themselves in a bathroom mirror? The INSTAX Square Link app allows you to caption or even doodle on your images before printing. Adding text and stickers personalizes the print, and lets you record for posterity in which bathroom you took that mirror selfie.

The AR Print takes this even further by adding a QR code to the print. Scanning this QR code allows you to add even more flair to the image -– in this case, a floating "Happy Birthday" GIF appears hovering over the printed image. It sounds a bit silly to this Gen-Xer, but my kids ate this feature up.

Digital And Film Combined

A somewhat meta way of sharing your images is through the SNS Share feature within the INSTAX camera app. This allows you to pull from your recently-printed photos, mat the virtual print against a colored background -– or even a collage of images from your camera roll –- and share the virtual print on social media.

I went a bit old-school, by taking photos of my digital camera, my iPhone, and the INSTAX Square Link with my 35mm film camera. I then had my local photo shop develop the film and scan the negatives, which I then uploaded to my camera roll so I could print an image with the INSTAX Square Link. A rather roundabout way to get an image, but I was bored.

If you want to be a bit more in the moment, you can forego your phone's default camera app and use the INSTAX Camera function within the app. Flipping to selfie mode, activating a flash, setting a self-timer, or even adding an old-school date stamp to the image is but a screen press away.

The INSTAX Square Link printer is compact enough that slipping it into a bag is a cinch. At just over four inches long, an inch and a half thick, and five inches wide, it's not much larger than the phone you're keeping in your pocket anyhow. It has but two buttons on the face. Holding the main central button down for a second wakes the device, and will also power down the unit –- five minutes of inactivity will shut it down as well to preserve battery life. After printing an image, pressing that central button once again (assuming the power hasn't cycled off) will reprint the last image.

Ease Of Use

The printer charges via the included USB-C cord, and Fujifilm quotes a charge time of 80 to 120 minutes. It will function while connected to power, so bring a compact power bank if you've set up the INSTAX for a party.

Connecting the INSTAX Square Link via Bluetooth is quite simple, as the required app makes it so. A couple of clicks and ensuring the printer is turned on is all you need –- that was perhaps my only source of frustration when beginning to use this printer, as I'd forgotten to turn it on when I went to pair it and couldn't find it anywhere. I'm getting old, I know.

I'm quite happy, to be honest, with the image quality from the INSTAX Square Link. For such a small image, the resolution is more than acceptable. The colors do on occasion seem a bit muted –- the reds especially –- but that's perhaps a function of my chosen photographic subjects as well.

My main concern here is the cost of printing. The INSTAX Square Link itself runs around $130 – reasonable considering all that goes into an instant printer. However, a two-pack of film –- each pack containing 10 prints –- costs right around $20. That's a dollar per print. Consider that many online photo printing services will send you 4x6 prints for under ten cents per image, and even a drugstore photo printing service will give you 4x6 prints for less than fifty cents per shot. The INSTAX instant gratification is novel and fun, but you have to consider whether the cost per image is worth it.

Printing From The Camera You Already Have

I suppose that, if you stick to the literal meaning of the words, I am a professional photographer. I mean, I do actually get paid at times to provide digital images — most often in conjunction with the prose you'd find on pages much like the one upon which you're reading now. I own a variety of traditional cameras –- DSLR, mirrorless, and even a vintage film SLR –- and will use them to capture images for public consumption. Nobody will mistake my work for that of Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams, that's for certain.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm carrying any of these cameras with me each and every day. No, for my daily photographic needs, I cling to the adage that the best camera is the one you have with you, and right now the one with me is my iPhone 14 Pro Max. A trio of lenses and quite possibly more computational power than the entire Apollo space program put together can make for quite the combination when it comes to something I can shove into my pants. Half a terabyte of onboard capacity and even more in the cloud keep me from the immediate calculus of deciding whether or not to take the shot lest I run out of either film or storage.


But this wealth of both capability and capacity comes at a cost: thoughtfulness when it comes to making images. When artificially limited to 24 or 36 frames like I am when I load a roll into my Nikon FE, I slow down and carefully consider. I preserve those memories in something tangible. That tactile sensation of holding a captured moment in one's hands is treasured, now that it's something that is novel.

I'm no Luddite — if I'm awake, my cellphone is never more than an arm's reach away — but I'm swaying towards a newfound appreciation for physical media. I've added a turntable to my office setup and am slowly re-acquiring those old LPs that I let slip away. Rolls of Ilford and, yes, Fuji 35mm film litter my bookcases – no, I never completely ditched my books for e-books, though in the height of Kondo-mania, the thought briefly crossed my mind.

But I find that thumbing through a shoebox full of printed memories does indeed spark joy. A number of prints from the variety of INSTAX cameras that have floated through our home still find themselves pinned to the walls of our teenagers' bedrooms, serving as a brief reminder of friends and moments passed. The Fujifilm INSTAX Square Link printer allows my family and me to recreate those moments over and over again.

You can purchase the Fujifilm INSTAX Square Link printer on Amazon right now for around $140.