Review: Kodak Smile Classic 2-in-1 Camera & Printer

As a native of Rochester, NY, home of Kodak, I always have a soft spot for Kodak gear. The company created the photography industry but then watched as competitors like Polaroid and later smartphones took over. It looks like Kodak is back in the game with its new Kodak Smile Classic ($149.99) which the folks there sent to me to try. I own the latest Fuji and Polaroid instant cameras so I was pleased to see several enhancements that those devices don't match.

Related: iPhone Photography Gear: Top Tools for Capturing Stunning Images

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First, the camera is meant to be held flat, much like the old instant cameras from my youth, whereas many modern cameras cover the face of the photographer. I think this choice will help when taking photos of kids and animals as they can still see the much of the photographer's face. Next, the size of the prints is larger, measuring 3x4 inches. Special ZINK (Zero Ink) paper is required and available with a sticky back to turn your instant prints into stickers. The paper isn't cheap; and because of how it works, every photo you take will print. The camera holds only 10 blank prints at a time and the battery lasts for about 35 prints, before you have to recharge using USB. And paper costs between fifty cents and a dollar each. So you may want to reserve prints for special occasions. Unlike some competing instant cameras, there is no screen, so you have to resort to using a viewfinder. bBut there is a free companion app that lets you control your camera/printer from your phone.

You can send photos from your phone to the Kodak Smile Classic to act as a photo printer or use the app to act as a remote control for selfies and group shots that include yourself! Note: there's also a 10-second timer button on the camera itself. The other trick is Augmented Reality. You can view your prints using the app and it will recognize the image and triggger an AR image or video, straight out of Harry Potter! Photos can be preserved on an optional microSD card for archiving, editing, and printing later. Kodak sells the camera in assorted color choices.

Pros

  • Larger format instant prints
  • microSD card for archiving, editing and printing later
  • Clever app for editing, remote control, and AR
  • Assorted color choices
  • Works as a photo printer

Cons

  • Zink paper can be expensive
  • No screen

Final Verdict

The Kodak Smile Classic is a fresh update on the instant cameras of the past and even the present from competitors.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.