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Polaroid Now+ review: The best of old and new

Our Rating :
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Price when reviewed : £140
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The Now+ pairs Polaroid’s old-school aesthetics with modern functionality


  • Large retro prints
  • Fully featured app
  • Attractive design


  • Expensive film
  • Light meter can be inaccurate
  • App-dependent features

Following up on 2020’s Polaroid Now, the company’s latest instant camera, the Now+, has been upgraded with Bluetooth support for smartphone app connectivity, an all-new filter system and a tripod socket.

On its own, the camera operates as a classic point and shoot, but paired with Polaroid’s newly revamped smartphone app it gains access to a range of creative options, including a remote shutter, night and double exposure modes and an aperture priority mode. There’s even a full manual function that offers users independent control over the camera’s aperture, shutter speed, focus and flash.

The Now+ is a marriage of vintage and modern camera systems, pairing Polaroid’s iconic styling with some 21st century conveniences. For photographers yearning for more creative control over their instant images, the Polaroid Now+ could be the perfect match.

Polaroid Now+ review: What do you get for the money?

The Polaroid Now+ retails for £140 and for that you get the camera, a neck strap, a micro-USB cable and a case with five custom lens filters.

Like the regular Polaroid Now and the OneStep+ camera that preceded it, the Now Plus shoots Polaroid’s proprietary i-Type film. Available in both colour and black and white, a pack containing eight shots will set you back around £16.

The camera blends Polaroid’s classic OneStep silhouette with slightly softer, modern lines. Across the front, there’s a 40mm equivalent lens, shutter button, flash and viewfinder. There’s also a Bluetooth button, a strip of indicator lights and, across the bottom, a film ejection slot.

At the side, you’ll find a micro-USB charging port and, on the base, a standard 1/4in tripod socket.

The rear of the camera contains the eyepiece, power button, joint flash and exposure compensation button and an LED display that tracks your remaining shots.

The Now+ features a dual-zone autofocus system, with the camera automatically selecting between standard or close-up internal lenses depending on your subject. You can also manually toggle the flash and compensate the exposure for tricky lighting situations. For more granular control you’ll need to boot up Polaroid’s companion smartphone app.

Polaroid Now+ review: What’s new?

The Polaroid app, available for both Android and iOS, greatly expands the camera’s creative capabilities. While this isn’t the first Bluetooth-enabled Polaroid – the previous flagship OneStep+ and Impossible I-1 cameras both featured app integration – this latest version is the most fully featured yet.

The app offers dedicated modes for double exposures, night photography, portraits and light painting. There’s also remote shutter control and a self-timer, as well as both aperture priority and full manual modes.

Beyond Bluetooth integration, there are a few other nifty upgrades over the standard Polaroid Now. The camera comes with five custom filters: blue, yellow, orange, red vignette and starburst. These can be used for colour-washing your colour film images, adding contrast to your black and white images or, in the case of the starburst filter, adding some cheesy 80s vibes.

The Now+ also has a 1/4in tripod socket, something that was inexplicably missing on the standard Now.

Polaroid Now+ review: What do we like?

While there are plenty of instant cameras on the market, nothing turns heads quite like a Polaroid. The camera is a little chunky but has a reassuringly solid feel in the hand. The large viewfinder is lovely and the onboard flash and exposure compensation controls, although a touch fiddly, are a big step up over other fully automatic cameras.

What really sets the camera apart, however, is the smartphone app connectivity. I found the initial setup very straightforward and from there my phone was able to automatically pair within just a few seconds of powering up the camera. The app is beautifully presented and easy to navigate, and there are helpful tooltips for beginners, too. I was particularly fond of the manual mode, which offers complete control over the camera’s aperture, shutter speed and focus. Using a light meter app on my phone I was able to dial in the exact exposure settings I wanted with little effort.

While they may not be for everyone – the cost of Polaroid’s i-Type film is likely to limit most people’s experimentation (more on that later) – the new filters are also a nice touch, adding some creative flair when called for.

Under good light, the Now+ is terrific fun to use. The colours aren’t entirely true to life and the plastic lens isn’t exactly sharp, but the prints are big, bold and oozing with retro charm. While rival Fujifilm’s smaller Instax prints need to be viewed up close, Polaroid’s large i-Type shots are big enough to display, and their classic white-bordered look never falls out of fashion, either.

Polaroid Now+ review: How could it be better?

The Now+’s main drawback, and indeed the drawback of all Polaroid cameras, is the film cost. Currently, a double pack, which contains 16 shots, will set you back around £28. This works out to around £1.80 per shot. The film also takes around 15 minutes to develop, during which time it needs to be kept in the dark and at around room temperature.

Comparatively, a pack of 20 shots of Fujifilm’s Instax Square format film is only around £17, or around 85p per picture, and takes around two minutes to develop. Granted, Instax Square is a little smaller and Instax cameras don’t quite carry the same cachet, but at less than half the price and a fraction of the developing time, it’s certainly an attractive alternative.

I think the price-per-shot could be more easily accepted if the prints were perfect every time, but unfortunately a certain amount of luck is required. The camera’s built-in light meter isn’t exactly infallible, and I found that the camera would often lean towards overexposure, resulting in washed-out images. The app does allow you to input your own manual settings, but juggling the camera in one hand and your smartphone in the other isn’t always ideal.

Polaroid Now+ review: Should you buy it?

The Polaroid Now+ combines classic point-and-shoot aesthetics with contemporary creative controls. While a little hefty, the camera itself is effortlessly cool, and Polaroid’s revamped smartphone app is attractively designed, easy to navigate and well featured. The camera is a lot of fun to use and, when you nail the shot, the large white-bordered prints are display-ready.

It’s still subject to the usual Polaroid hangups: principally, pricey film and somewhat inconsistent exposures. If you don’t plan on using any of the app features, the standard Polaroid Now will likely offer better value, and if you can live without the Polaroid styling, Fujifilm’s cheaper Instax SQ1 is also worth considering.

For photography enthusiasts looking to get the most out of their classic white-boarded instant shots, however, the Polaroid Now+ is the best modern Polaroid camera you can buy today.

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