By Evan Ackerman
It doesn’t quite have that magical exciting warm and fuzzy spur of the moment cheap plastic instant gratification feeling that traditional polaroids do, but the Tomy Xiao TIP-521 digital camera does provide the same basic functionality: immediate physical access to pictures. It does this with a tiny built-in Zink printer, which uses special pieces of composite paper embedded with heat activated yellow, magenta and cyan dye crystals to make 2″ x 3″ borderless prints with sticky backs. There are no ink cartridges to replace, you just add more paper, at about $1 a sheet.
With a printer packed inside the camera, there isn’t much room left over for optics (the case is pretty bulky looking as it is) so I wouldn’t expect wonders from the 39mm equivalent fixed focal length lens and 5mp image sensor. For that matter, I wouldn’t expect wonders from the printer, either. But I would expect the camera to print out something a mere 60 seconds after you snap the picture, which is no small feat in of itself.
The Tomy Xiao TIP-521 will be available in Japan on November 28 for about $350.