When it comes to real portability the Brother Pocketjet 6 is one of the few printers which actually manages to deliver. I’ll explain what I mean by ‘real’ portable printers because it’s really important for you to understand what I mean. Read on below.
When I talk about ‘real portability’ I mean the ability to be able to reasonably carrying around your printer wherever you go in your bag or pocket under two rules. The first rule is that its dimensions can’t be too large, it’s not a mobile printer if it’s too big to fit in your bag, it’s too clunky or it’s just taking up too much room. Secondly it has to weight a reasonable amount and I’d say perhaps under 3 pounds as a general figure is reasonable. If you look at all of the mobile printers from the ‘big two’ – Canon and Hewlett-Packard then you can see right away that their weights range from around 4-12 pounds. Four pounds may be acceptable at a push by 12 pound printers certainly aren’t portable in my books.
This is why I’m really quite impressed with what Brother has produced – it’s a device with genuine portability and the truth is that’s rare in the modern printing world – it’s a great Brother portable printer.
How are they so compact?
Well the big two don’t utilize thermal portable printer techniques in the way that Brother does. They use thermal printing for receipt or ticket printers which are meant for commercial shop floor use which is a real let down. Fair enough a few years ago thermal print mechanisms weren’t advanced enough to get the high dots per inch which we’d all want but times change. The Brother Pocketjet 6 plus hits 300 dpi which admittedly doesn’t touch on many modern stationary printers but for regular users it’s more than enough. If you’re an artist who wants incredibly highly detailed graphical pictures printing of then this isn’t for you, but for practically everyone else 300 dpi is more than enough. I personally can’t even tell the difference once the dpi figure starts hitting around 200 but there you go, some people care and some people like to go for the bigger numbers even if it doesn’t actually make any difference whatsoever.
The Brother PocketJet print range is so compact because of the thermal printing hardware. Remember that unlike inkjet/laser printers they don’t have moving parts which has two advantages. The first and most obvious is that they’re more compact which by extension makes them far more portable and secondly they’re far less likely to break. This may not seem like a big deal at first because printers don’t tend to break that much, but when you consider that mobile printers get moved around much more and combine that with vulnerable moving parts I’m sure you can see the advantage of using thermal printing technology. They’re smaller and break less; perfect for portable printing.
As far as non wired connectivity goes the PJ6 is no wireless portable printer unless you purchase the PocketJet 6 with Bluetooth which comes with the Bluetooth in-built. Or you can opt to purchase an optional Bluetooth adapter and plug it into the USB 2.0 port which seems a little self defeating.
The specifications for the PocketJet 6 are 200 dots per inch which is more than enough for regular print work. It prints on a variety of up to 8.5 inch thermal media which means printing out A4 size sheets is no problem. It’s very low maintenance due to its lack of moving parts and not needing replacing ink cartridges (due to thermal diode mechanisms). It’s very lightweight at 1.3 pounds meaning no one should have any troubles carrying it. It’s also very compact meaning you should have no problems storing it in a bag or even a deep pocket – or even just carrying it on your hands.
Well right away the price is going to put some people of at around 250-350 dollars which isn’t actually much more than competitor printers such as by Canon. However these printers can do much more, but at the expense of any true notion of portability. They need thermal paper which is more expensive than regular paper, however over time the lack of needing ink cartridges should offset this cost if you’re using it enough. It only has a Nickel Hydride battery which isn’t as long lasting as the Lithium-Ion batteries which we’ve come to know and love – however you can upgrade. It’s dpi makes it unsuitable for people who want incredibly high quality crisp pictures. Finally it doesn’t have Bluetooth already installed and so can’t be classed as a wireless portable printer, you’ll have to look to the versions that are ‘with Bluetooth’ or you’ll have to buy the optional adapter.
If you need genuine portable printing this is for you. It comes at a slight cost increase and it isn’t wireless, it can’t send faxes or make pancakes – but it does you exactly what you want, real portable printing. If you don’t need such a portable device then don’t bother with this kind of printer and aim more at Canon or HP’s printers. You’ll get slightly better value and a larger printer which can do much much more.