TOY BOX: New Polaroid offers instant satisfaction

Reviewing products is like easing into a relationship. You must appreciate what you're looking at for what it is, not what it isn't.

Reviewing products is like easing into a relationship. You must appreciate what you're looking at for what it is, not what it isn't.

On that note, the Polaroid Image1200 instant camera is pretty cool. It's the first Polaroid to include an LCD viewfinder, which gives it an air of digital sleekness, even if it is, in all other ways, still your basic Polaroid.

But hey, Polaroids are fun. Instant gratification is the American way, and I don't care how fancy a digital camera is; nothing gets you a finished photo faster. And a Polaroid shot may be the last graphic image on Earth you can be absolutely certain hasn't been altered by Photoshop.

But then there's the big picture: Putting an LCD screen on a Polaroid is kind of like putting an antennae on your rotary phone. It may make the thing look modern, but it doesn't change the fact that it's an effectively obsolete device.

If you're in the market for a fancy new camera, odds are you will just go digital. Only if you're exclusively in the market for a new Polaroid - meaning if you're an insurance claims adjuster - will the 1200 really shake you up.

Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to toybox@prweek.com

  • John N. Frank writes Toy Box. He is the Chicago-based Midwest bureau chief for PRWeek.

    Price $169

    Available at major retailers and polaroid.com

    Specs 30 ounces without film; takes Polaroid Spectra Image 1200 instant film; 10- or 12-frame packs; requires two AA batteries

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