Thermally based devices are different from inkjets in a few ways – the main way is that they don’t use ink whatsoever. This saves substantially in terms of exorbitant ink cartridge prices which people are faced with. It eliminates problems such as the inkjet head drying out, and they don’t have moving parts which make them far more reliable.
You’ll actually be encountering them on a day to day basis but just won’t realize it yet – cashier’s tills! All tills use thermal mechanisms because of this increased reliability (you see tills which are decades old all the time – and still running strong) and low running costs over time.
These benefits transfer straight over to their portable counterparts, reliability is one thing portable printers have lacked over the years and not having moving parts adds to this durability. Then you can combine in the fact that they’re much more compact – all they have are thermal heads which heat to a high temperature and ‘burn’ the correct colors into the thermal paper.
When it comes to the wireless capabilities of these devices you’ll find that they won’t have the ability to connect to wireless access points. However they do have Bluetooth adapters and the great thing about these models is that you can purchase them internally built in. This is in stark contrast to their inkjet rivals which almost all (except one) arrive with external dongles which stick out the side. This makes them far more likely to get knocked out and it just looks a little silly if I’m being honest.
Finally I know I’ve talked a little bit about how wireless thermal mobile printers are more transportable but I really don’t think I’ve given them the credit they deserve. If you take a look at their inkjet counterparts you’ll find that an average size would be comparable to that of a very fat net book.
They’re certainly not large, but they’re similar to the burden of a laptop – you wouldn’t want to be carrying it around all day. Thermally based devices are more like internet tablets or perhaps even smart phones because the majority of them are small enough to fit right into a pocket. The pocket would admittedly have to be reasonably deep, but considering they’re similar in size to that of a laptop battery it’s by no means a ridiculous thing to suggest.
When it comes down to it you need to recognize that these wireless mobile printers are perfect for some people but certainly not everyone. Their smaller size is perfect for people who need absolute transportability, but for those who need better printing resolutions and quicker speeds then they’re certainly not recommended.
Their dots per inch resolution figures are around 200-300 ( Brother PocketJet thermal portable printers for example) which is quite low, and it’s certainly not going to impress people – on the other hand if you want them purely for a work perspective then I wouldn’t shun them for one second because believe me when I say that they’ll be a massive help to people who need printing without the burden of carrying around another bag and just need to take a trip to the tailors to extend a pocket!
It may be worth checking out the limitations of a thermal portable printer because a lot of people are unaware that they’re incapable of printing the color red for example.