The Polaroid PoGo Instant Digital Camera represents a logical evolution for Polaroid. The company may have stopped producing film for its famed instant cameras (the first came out over 60 years ago), but the name lives on, synonymous with photo prints. That the company would integrate its PoGo portable instant printer into a digital camera was almost inevitable.

That seemingly perfect match hasn't turned out to be so, however: In my hands-on with a shipping unit, I found the camera's design and image quality sorely lacking. Unfortunately, the reborn, digital Polaroid camera is reminiscent of the clunky, poor-quality devices of yesteryear that nonetheless made Polaroid a household name. That this camera falls short is a shame, too: In concept, at least, the device is innovative. But poor imaging and kludgy design not unlike that of 1.1-megapixel cameras of a dozen years ago make the PoGo Instant Digital Camera an unnecessary drain on your pocket.

In size, shape, and weight, the boxy Instant Digital Camera closely matches the PoGo instant printer, only with an optical element on one side and the necessary buttons and LCD screen on the other. While the PoGo works well enough as a pocket-size printer, that same design fails miserably as a camera. It's very heavy compared with other point-and-shoot cameras, and it has poor ergonomics (no grip to hold onto, no logic to the placement or organization of the keys).

The basic spec disappoints even more than the unit's physical design. This camera offers 5 megapixels, a count that's completely out of line with today's 10-megapixel norm for point-and-shoots. So from the start this digital camera is at a disadvantage, as it can't substitute for your regular one if you want to continue capturing high-quality images.

And the images I got from this camera underwhelmed, even when compared with 4-megapixel images from an old Canon point-and-shoot. Viewed on a computer, the Instant Digital Camera's photos lacked sufficient sharpness, colour accuracy, and detail. The camera has a variety of scene modes--fireworks, snow, and portrait among them--but given its image quality, I can't see why anyone who would go to the trouble of selecting scene modes (presumably, to capture a good picture) would want to use this camera. Curiously, the menus offer shooting tips under the different scene modes (for night shots, the tip suggests that you hold the camera steady).