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Which camera should you buy, the Polaroid OneStep+ or Pop?

We’ve looked at each of the Polaroid cameras on the market in recent years and know with conviction that these devices aren’t created equal. Some aren’t even what you would call a traditional Polaroid camera.

Polaroid OneStep+

Our pick

$140 at Amazon

Pros

  • A real Polaroid camera
  • Uses traditional Polaroid film
  • Includes useful mobile features

Cons

  • Film outrageously expensive
  • Can’t store images on the camera
  • Though iconic, it’s a bulky design

The Polaroid OneStep+ is every bit like the Polaroid OneStep cameras of past decades, except it’s been recreated for the digital world. You still can’t store your prints for later use, unfortunately, and the film is expensive.

Polaroid Pop

More features

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • 1080p/720p HD video recording
  • Capable of using microSD up to 128GB
  • Touchscreen display adds on-demand features

Cons

  • Glossy plastic on prints gets scuffed easily
  • Photos are slow and appear low resolution
  • Many photo-editing features are more comfortable to perform on your mobile device

The Polaroid Pop offers a fresh, modern take on the Polaroid cameras of yesteryear. However, it’s much more than a camera since you can record GIFs and 1080p/720p HD videos with the device too. Just don’t expect super high-quality prints from it.

The Polaroid OneStep+ and Polaroid Pop represent two different takes on how an iconic brand from the 1970s and 1980s can get back on track in the 21st century. Where you stand on authenticity and how many modern features you want will likely determine which camera is best for your household.

Polaroid OneStep+ vs. Pop: Nostalgic digital camera showdown

Before digital cameras — and then mobile devices — became the rage, the world was in love with instant cameras. And if you owned one of these, it was almost certainly a Polaroid. These cameras were unique because they used square format integral film, which contained everything you needed to produce and develop an image in virtually realtime, including the negative, developer, fixer, and more. This concept remains mostly intact on the next-generation OneStep cameras such as the 2017 OneStep 2 and 2018 OneStep+.

The Polaroid Pop, like many others, also produces instant photos. In this case, however, it uses the newer Zink technology, which consists of heat-sensitive layers with cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes in colorless form.

Polaroid OneStep+ Polaroid Pop
Dimensions 5.9 × 4.3 × 3.8 in 6 x 4 x 1 in
Design Traditional Polaroid camera Bulky, thick, rounded square
Battery 1100mAh Bulky, thick, rounded square
Power Rechargeable via USB Rechargeable via micro USB
Connects to phone Yes via Wi-Fi Yes via Wi-Fi
Compatible phone app Yes Yes
Digital copies Technically, no Yes (microSD up to 128GB)
Review pictures before printing? No Yes
Video recording No Yes, 1080p/720p HD
Touch screen No Yes
Built-in photo editing No Yes
Flash Yes Yes
Self-timer Yes Yes
Manual lighting adjustments Yes Yes
Close-up shots Yes, with Portrait Mode Yes, digital zoom
Prints Polaroid 4.2×3.5″ inch film Polaroid 3.5×4.25″ inch Premium ZINK paper

If you’re looking for the Polaroid camera with the most features, the Polaroid Pop is the camera for you. However, the choice shouldn’t be that simple.

Yes, the Polaroid Pop allows you to store images both on the camera and on microSD cards. And yes, it also offers video recording and the ability to create GIFs. However, smartphones can do this too, and in most cases, are much better at it than the Polaroid Pop. The most significant benefit of owning a Polaroid Pop is its ability to print photos that are stored on your mobile device. However, the 3.5-by-4.25-inch Zink paper only provides low-resolution prints, at best.

The Polaroid Pop isn’t better because it provides more features — you can do a lot of the same things better on mobile devices.

By contrast, the less expensive Polaroid OneStep+ is meant to allow folks to take imperfect, iconic Polaroids that capture a moment in the quickest time possible. It also offers a limited number of advanced features through the Polaroid app, including a remote trigger, double exposure, light painting, self-timer, manual mode, and noise trigger. The OneStep+ also offers a portrait lens with a minimum focusing distance of 89mm for the first time (the lens on traditional Polaroid cameras provided distance up to 103 mm only).

Polaroid OneStep+ vs. Pop: Which one is right for you?

If you’re looking to buy an instant camera (as opposed to a digital camera), go with the closest thing to the original, in this case, the Polaroid OneStep+. Yes, the film for this camera is a little bit more expensive, but we believe it offers better prints than Zink Paper, so it’s worth the premium price. The Polaroid Pop isn’t better because it provides more features — you can do a lot of the same things better on mobile devices, including video recording and the post-processing of photos.

Polaroid OneStep+

Welcome back, Polaroid

$140 at Amazon $123 at Walmart

Iconic brand reborn, but not entirely revamped

Live the authentic Polaroid experience for the first time or the hundredth with the Polaroid Originals OneStep+, which is available in black and white. It doesn’t have the capabilities for internal storage, but the prints are high quality, and you’ll be getting an authentic experience.

Polaroid Pop

Is newer better?

$200 at Amazon

Do more

The Polaroid Pop is a workhorse of an instant camera. You get 20MP, 1080p/720p HD video recording, built-in photo editing tools on the touch screen, and selective printing, so no sheet is wasted. Still, unless you’re planning on using this camera as your primary on-the-go photo printer, you should go with the OneStep+.