The concept underlying the Polaroid PoGo doesn't differ much from that behind the original Polaroid instant camera - except that this time the printer is a separate peripheral from the camera itself, and you don't have to shake the output to make the image appear.

Thanks to the Zink design, we could print while holding the Polaroid PoGo printer at an angle, but when we did so, we had to pay attention to where and how the image came out of the printer to avoid crushing or bending the paper.

We also found that the unit ran fairly hot; after the Polaroid PoGo printed eight photos in quick succession, its surface was toasty.

The output came out dry to the touch, so we didn't have to worry about smearing. The printer's software automatically scaled images to fit the paper's 2x3in area; as a result, the bottom or top of an image sometimes got chopped off - and there's no way to control which part of the image appears in the final print.

As was the case with the original Polaroid images, obtaining instant gratification in the form of PoGo prints necessitates some compromises - though fewer than you might expect. Output quality directly correlates to the quality of the captured image: our Treo's 640-by-480-resolution image was flat, with little contrast and dull colours; moreover, it wasn't sharp and we noticed banding in the landscape's blue sky.

A higher-resolution digital SLR image of a gymnast flipping through the air, however, printed surprisingly well, complete with skin gradations and detail in the muscles and flying ponytail.

OUR VERDICT

The Polaroid PoGo's appeal lies in its mobility and its near-instantaneous picture production. The price is steep for what amounts to a one-trick gimmick printer. But that doesn't detract from the silly fun people can have by printing pictures on the go. Teens and tweens, in particular, will love this feature; and casual users and business people (for example, real-estate agents who want to print pics of specific rooms for clients without delay) may appreciate PoGo's portability.