Polaroid’s Z340 Isn’t Quite The Gaga-Inspired Beauty We Saw At CES

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Back at CES, we spent a long time waiting for Lady Gaga to show up (again) and introduce her new product line, a collaboration with Polaroid called Grey Label. The camera sunglasses and Bluetooth printer didn’t exactly blow our socks off, but the GL30 camera prototype sure did. It was beautiful. Of course, no matter how much I bugged Polaroid, I never got word one about availability or what have you. And then this thing turns up!

Now, I’m not convinced this is the same product we saw at CES. A relative of that product, perhaps, but not the real thing. I refuse to believe that they’d throw away a perfectly good design like that, one associated with Gaga herself. So what is this?

The Z340, which ePhotozine previews here, has similarities with the prototype GL30, but I’m not digging the differences. Gone is the shiny veneer and bellows motif. Gone are the (slightly impractical, I’m guessing) controls under the LCD. The shots show an interface that isn’t particularly lovable, and although I don’t want to bash it too much without trying it, that forest of buttons doesn’t look like a lot of fun. I down with Zink, but this isn’t something I’d like to carry around with me.

Polaroid hasn’t gotten back to me, and we weren’t invited to the hands-on party (sniff), so until we hear about the fate of the actual GL30, it’s anybody’s guess how this thing fits in. All we know is it costs £229.99 (around $375) and it’ll be available in December.

Update: Polaroid writes “The Z340 is launching this October in both the US and UK. The GL30 Instant Digital Camera will be available in the spring of 2012.” I suspected as much: the GL30 is taking a bit too long to finalize, and this, perhaps a polished-off version of a more consumer-oriented prototype, is being made available in the meantime.