A lot of people find it tough when choosing between mobile printers as to find what suits them, therefore I’ve create this concise guide to help everyone out. Find out more below.
There are two starting categories to choose from when you’re looking to purchase this sort of device. You pick between either thermal or inkjet based designs. I’ll give you a brief paragraph as to the differences between the two.
Thermal printers are smaller and more lightweight and they don’t use ink cartridges because of their thermal print mechanisms. They’re more reliable because they have no or very few moving parts. They’re more portable not just because they’re smaller and more lightweight but because their paper is stored internally as well as their wireless capabilities if you choose to purchase them. The flipside is that their transportability sacrifices their core capabilities and as a result their specifications such as printing resolutions and page per minute speeds are severely reduced.
Inkjet printers are much larger – comparable in size to a net book apart from being 2-3 times thicker. They weigh more – around 4-6 pounds contrasted with thermal devices 1-1.5 pounds. Their inkjet head is a moving piece of hardware which wouldn’t be a problem for stationary devices but seeing as it’s potentially getting the bumps and bruises of travelling on the road or by plane this can cause internal hardware malfunctions and potentially break the printer or leave it damaged. Aside from their greater risk of damage and lack of portability you’ll find these mobile printers to have high specifications across the board. This allows for far quicker printing – generally 10 pages per minute in good quality black and white, and 4-6 ppm for color (good quality also). This is contrasted with 2-6 ppm for both monochrome and color for thermal devices. Their resolutions are significantly higher allowing for high resolution photo printing which is certainly refreshing, averaging around 4800 x 1200 dpi. This admittedly isn’t the best but unless you’re a photographer or professional artist you’ be hard pressed to genuinely tell the difference between the two, this is contrasted with the 200-300 dpi for thermals which makes them just able to print low-moderate quality color pictures.
Picking between the two is really a question of whether you need a level of mobility which is incredibly high as opposed to being able to print high quality sheets of paper in quicker times. There are other smaller issues which may affect your buying decision.
For example Bluetooth capable printers for thermal devices tend to allow for internal storage of the Bluetooth components. This is fundamentally lacking across the board for inkjet devices, and it can be a little disconcerting to see a usb 2.0 dongle sticking out of the side of your device. This can easily be knocked out by an elbow and it looks pretty ridiculous to see it horizontally sticking out. You also need to ask yourself whether they’re worth getting seeing as the point of them is to allow ‘wireless’ printing and the point of this is to reduce hassle by carrying cables around – you’ve really just replaced cables with a dongle and so I’m not sure if you’re really fulfilling much purpose here.