PREVIEWED: Polaroid iZone Wi-Fi camera

CES 2015, Las Vegas: It’s wireless, but what’s it actually for?

Polaroid iZone“Anything you want!” boasted the booth attendant in Las Vegas, with only a hint of desperation. “It only costs US179.99!” he followed it up with, as if a low price meant it was prudent to buy now, find out what it’s for later.

High quality images

The iZone takes 18-megapixel images, which for something so small (it’s about the size of a tomato) is pretty impressive. The concept is simple; connect the iZone to a smartphone of either Android or iPhone flavour over the iZone’s own Wi-Fi Direct network (so there’s no need for public Wi-Fi), then use the smartphone as a viewfinder to line up the perfect shot in real time. Images taken with the Polaroid iZone camera can be saved directly to the smartphone, bypassing the 32 MB internal memory of the camera.

What’s it for?

The biggest feature is definitely the 8X optical zoom. “Smartphones will work for taking some photos, but the built-in digital zoom just isn’t great when it comes to image quality. To get better quality optical zoom on a smartphone requires adding an accessory lens, and it’s easy to miss the shot while you’re busy attaching the lens,” said Edward Cohen, VP of Imaging with Sakar/Vivitar. “But, with the Polaroid iZone camera, you’ve got instant access to an impressive 8X optical zoom-the same as found in much larger, higher-end cameras. Simply point, zoom and snap.

Groupies

Is it for selfies? Not really. More ‘groupies’, where the person operating the iZone with their smartphone is in the shot. Does it fix onto a helmet or bike handlebars? Nope, but it does have a tripod mount. It’s cute, it’s cheap, and it’s small, but the iZone is one travel gadget that lacks a killer app.