The Compact Canon BJC 50 with Scanner, Battery and Tiny A4 Size

When it comes to portability you won’t find anything that can match the Canon BJC-50 – it’s the most lightweight inkjet portable printer I’ve ever seen.  Its dimensions are incredibly small and it has numerous features that make it a truly portable printer and not a gimmick.  Find out more below.

When it comes to most inkjet ‘mobile’ printers, the fact is they tend to weigh from 5-10 pounds with dimensions which make them far from mobile.  In this instance however, we’re looking at a genuinely small inkjet printer – if you do need smaller than this the only options for you are thermal portable printers because inkjets just can’t get any smaller than the Canon BJC-50 for the moment.

Taking a look at its portability it weighs a spectacularly light 2 pounds, and that’s with the battery included.  Most portable printers I’ve reviewed tend to state their weight without the battery and wireless adapters which artificially reduces it – and it’s only when I take a further look into their advanced specifications that I see the actual weight of the printer with everything included to make it an actual Canon portable printer.  Finally the second important aspect of portability is indeed the dimensions of the device, in this case being 11.9 x 1.9 x 4.4 inches making it one of the smallest too.

So right away from the perspective of genuine portability this printer is doing well, but the truth is when it comes to core specifications its high degree of mobility sacrifices some core functionalities.  It’s nothing when compared to what I, a long with most other experts consider the ‘best’ wireless portable printer out at the moment – the Canon PIXMA iP100, the one definite advantage it does have over printers is that its core functions although not being anywhere near that of the later portable printers are still good enough for most ordinary uses – and if you desperately need the portability it may be a definite contender.

Taking a look at its printing speed for example, the Canon BJC-50 is a definite let down, at 5.5 pages per minute for black and 2 ppm for color it’s about 4-6 times slower than most stationary printers and around 3-4 times slower than most other mobile printers.  Looking at its resolution is also a let down, it prints at 720 x 360 dpi for both color and black – but going back to what I’ve mentioned above it really depends on what kind of a printer you need.  If you need true portability and you don’t mind having very mediocre print quality and slow speeds then this may very well be you considering it’s a tiny portable printer.

Canon BJC-50

Canon BJC-50

Its connectivity is also a let down and it doesn’t actually support usb whatsoever, or Bluetooth but it does have parallel connect ports which are built in as well as infrared.  But let’s be honest, no one uses infrared anymore, I can’t think of one piece of technology I’ve got which still uses it.  Another annoyance is that you need to feed each sheet through one at a time, it does have an optional auto sheet feeder but this is going to cost you extra.

Canon BJC-50 Portable Printer

Canon BJC-50 Portable Printer

One of the things I really like about this, is that it can’t be considered an expensive portable printer because the truth is that you can get them very cheap second hand nowadays at around 60 dollars.  This price includes the lithium ion battery which comes with it and that stores 100 pages per charge which is very handy.  Most printers don’t actually come with the battery and you have to pay 50-100 dollars to purchase one separately, but the inclusion of the battery is a real plus here especially because some people complain of them not realizing that most (almost all if I’m being honest) devices don’t come with a battery (as well as Bluetooth/wireless adapters) even though they’re advertised as wireless portable printer in the title when in fact they arrive very much stationary.

Canon BJC-50

Canon BJC-50

Summary

You get what you pay for.  If you’re looking for an incredible portable printer then go ahead and purchase the PIXMA iP100 because it’s pretty much a portable, rugged, all-in-one printer with high resolutions to boot.  In my opinion as someone who sits down and studies printers, takes them apart to find out what’s inside and cleaned my hands many a time from ink, Canon creates the best mobile printing solutions at the moment.  Now that’s by no means to say things aren’t going to change, in fact I’m sure they will in the next few years (although HP is focusing its attentions elsewhere).  But ultimately for the right person the Canon BJC-50 performs a fantastic job, if you just need good quality black and white printing for work with perhaps a few pictures than this is perfect for you.  If you need something with a little more va-va-voom then I’d suggest taking a look at the other Canon portable printers because in my mind, a long with my colleagues they’re currently the best brand.  HP can only just about match some of their models and by no means can they outmatch them, especially when you stack up the ‘best’ from each brand against each other in the well documented ‘print offs’!

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