When it comes to portable printer devices which are wireless via their Bluetooth adapters there are a few keys things which you need to know. Find out more below.
When you’re wanting a wireless mobile printer which is capable of wireless connectivity then it’s Bluetooth which people are mainly looking at for a number of key reasons. Firstly it’s truly wireless and isn’t hindered by wandering around trying to find a wireless access point for example. Secondly it’s also far more up-to-date than the infrared which used to be, and still is, very common – although who actually uses it anymore is a little questionable.
So when you’re wanting Bluetooth there are a few important aspects which will probably influence your buying decision. The first is in relation to either an external or internal adapter. Having an internal adapter is what people tend to prefer, because if it’s sticking out the side it’s far more prone to being knocked out (and potentially broken) – and it’s also a little unsightly as well.
The problem is that most people want inkjet based printers, which is understandable because for most people I would say that’s the most suited for them. But on the other hand apart from literally one to two out of the 20 devices I’ve looked at they all require optionally purchased external dongles which is a real let down. Some of the older devices do allow for Compact Flash cards, but these are limited – again only a few models allow this.
As you can see it’s a clear problem, one Canon printer allows the dongle to be mounted internally which is ingenious, but apart from that you’re going to have to carry it around (which somewhat defeats the point of it being wireless) and risk the potential of accidently breaking it.
If you’re looking at thermal printers it’s a different story altogether because all of the Bluetooth portable printer devices based on thermal mechanisms have the option for purchasing an internally stored adapter. This is a big step up in terms of both convenience and portability – and whereas for inkjets you only get the choice for external – for thermal devices you get the choice for both which makes it a very attractive option for people seeking genuine mobility.
Another issues which needs to be pointed out are the costs involved, now I’ve spoken quite a lot on their exorbitant prices. One thing you need to be aware of is that these isn’t the type of product when a Google savvy semi-tech nerd can quickly locate a cheaper compatible product for half the price. They’re purposefully made device specific, and they’re expensive too, costing around 40-70 dollars. One good thing about them being device specific is that if your model is a little older (however it does work for new models too just less effectively) you’ll find people willing to sell you their old Bluetooth adapters for a fraction of the price because they can’t actually use it for anything else.
This should definitely be an option you consider to create your very own wireless portable printer, and it’s a much safer way of saving money than buying the entire device itself second hand. This opens up a much greater chance of it being broken, not fully functioning or missing critical parts. On the other hand external adapters don’t have parts to miss, it’s obvious when they’re broken and they’re quite hard to break at that.
Overall they’re definitely a good choice if you want movable wireless printing, but you need to be aware of the costs incurred, how to get them cheaper if you can, and finally whether you want something which provides a ‘wire free’ service but means you have to take around a dongle/Compact Flash card with you wherever you go.