A list of the Top 2012 Mobile Printers
Just remember these are the current top printers. None were actually made in 2012. In fact that lest mobile printer by any manufacturer has been in 2011 (and that was HP’s OJ 100 which is incredibly mediocre). These are the best – in order:
Canon PIXMA iP100 Mini Printer
This is it. For most people your journey ends here with the discovery of this. I don’t recommend this as ‘one of the best’ but ‘as the best’ to the vast majority of people unless you have unusual and specific requirements.
It has the highest printing resolution – double that of its competition the OfficeJet 100. It can print laboratory quality photographs in just a few minuets. It can print black and white and color at speeds of around 20 ppm (pages per minute). It features options for the installation of a high powered battery allowing hundreds of sheets to be printed. It also features wireless connectivity options – mainly Bluetooth and WiFi.
What’s the most important thing is that it’s so damn reliable. Is it as reliable as the PJ 6 Plus below, no of course not, it has moving parts and it doesn’t use thermal technology – but it’s still the best when it comes to portable battery printers which use color.
It looks cool, it’s tiny in size being similar to that of a small laptop, and it’s ultra lightweight too. The iP100 is the best mobile photo printer. The best mobile wireless printer. It’s the best mobile printer full stop.
How do I know it’s ‘so damn reliable’?
It’s not just because I have one myself – it’s because I’ve read hundreds of reviews on dozens of different websites and I’ve come to a balanced conclusion. Sure if you’re unlucky you could be one of those suckers who gets a broken device, or perhaps you think it’ll arrive with the battery when in fact (like all the other devices) you need to fork out extra dollars. But you probably won’t be so unlucky or clueless.
Brother PocketJet 6 Plus with Bluetooth
Some people will find this device completely useful for their needs. Others will kiss my feet and recommend this website to all their friends because it’s so damn interesting.
Here’s why you might wanna consider buying this product. Firstly it’s really tiny and really compact. Where’s all its competitors use inkjet technology this uses thermal diodes. This means there are no moving spaces and air gaps required. Instead of having a product which is similar to a large notebook in size (apart from being twice as thick) it’s more comparable to a laptop battery in size.
It’s also super reliable. No moving parts equals less room for error. You bang your iP100 against a wall and you may well break it, you can throw the PJ 6 at a wall and you might just break the wall… er no. That’s ridiculous, but in terms of reliability and durability it is significantly superior. You know those old cashier’s tills which are yellow and 30 years old? They use thermal technology, all tills do… because it lasts. On the other hand inkjet printers are a mad hassle.
You save on ink cartridge costs of course… because you don’t use any ink at all. The actual price of this device is perhaps 100 dollars more expensive (assuming for HP and Canon’s products [which are similarly priced] that you buy a battery and wireless connectivity options) but in reality you’ll save much more over the long term.
There are basically two major downsides that will put you off buying this device. Firstly there’s the lack of color printing. Thermal diodes can print black only, and sometimes red (usually just if the paper roll is nearly out of paper.
The next problem is that it’s a Bluetooth only device. That’s fine for laptops and smart phones – but not for Apple’s products – and the iPad and iPhone will not work with the Bluetooth on the PocketJet 6 Plus.
This isn’t a limitation because of the product itself, it’s limitations which Apple has imposed to retain market control of future products. If it annoys you then take it up with Apple. I hope they release their own portable printer in the future… and that it’s more successful than the ones which HP sponsored.
One minor downside is that although you don’t need to purchase ink cartridges you do need to purchase paper rolls. The upside is that it means you don’t have to carry around paper because it fits right into a storage space within the PJ 6. The downside is that they’re a little expensive – they’re not super expensive but they do cost slightly more than regular paper.
The reason for needing thermal paper is because the electrical diodes heat up the paper which has chemicals inside. The white color chemicals melt and re-solidify as the color black. Red is possible but not for this device.
So, if you just need monochrome (black and white printing) and Bluetooth this is your best option. If you definitely need color or you don’t mind having a chunkier printer than this isn’t for you.
HP OfficeJet 100
Ugh. What to say. Imagine Canon’s iP100 – this is similar in almost every respect. Aside from in almost every respect it’s worse. You just need to take one look at these reviews and you can see that it’s rated much lower.
This is because it’s less reliable, users in forums have complained about paper jamming faults. Sometimes it arrives completely broken. Its printing resolution is half that of the iP100. It’s larger and weighs more too. Its only saving grace is that it does print slightly faster… but who cares. They both print very fast already and I’m more concerned about having a product which actually works instead of having a piece of junk.
I wouldn’t buy it, there’s absolutely no reason to. It’s crap. I hate it. Most people regret buying it. There are better options which HP has manufactured which were made years earlier so this is essentially a downgrade even though it’s their latest product.
The questions you must ask yourself on the mobile printers of 2012..
Do I need Bluetooth or Wireless? If you need both you need an iP100
Do I just need Bluetooth and wired connections? Then you need a PJ 6 Plus
Do I need color printing? HP OJ 100 and iP 100 are fine.
Do I need lab quality photo printing? You need the iP100
Do I want to save money on ink? Then get a thermal portable printer and you don’t need to pay anything.
Do I want the smallest possible device? See above
Do I want black and white (monochrome) only printing? See two above.
Do I want a durable product which can take a bruise or two? See three above.
As you can see there are a lot of questions to ask yourself. I would suggest going to our portable printer homepage and checking out the main pages at the top. These provide the information on everything you need to know… if you want to make an informed choice.
Laptop or Smart Phone Compatibility
Since you’re after mobility you’re going to want to make sure your device can communicate with your printer. The best way to do this is to check the manufacturers websites – this isn’t so important for laptops or netbooks – but for smartphones it is. If you have any Apple products then just assume it’s not going to work unless you have a printer application.
If you want to learn more about printing from an Apple product I suggest you visit the homepage because I spent time creating a recipe for success (as so to speak there).
Generally Blackberries are compatible with just about everything, HTC, Samsung and Nokia are generally good to go too – but checking the manufacturer’s websites is always important.
I actually received a message from a man who bought a PlanOn PrintStik (imagine an inferior, cheaper PJ 6 Plus) who thought he could get his iPhone to work for it. This particular device only supports Blackberries so he was completely stuck.
These are the kinds of things you really need to watch out for… make sure you laptop even has a Bluetooth card to begin with – not all do!
Questions or Additions to the List?
Not to be too cocky but since I do have the only real portable printer resource on the entire internet it’s very unlikely any new release is going to escape through my nerdy fingers. On the hand hand if you’ve got any suggestions make them below in the form of a comment or question.
I’ve purposefully left off the second generation of devices (these three products I’ve listed are the latest generation, the one before that is the second gen) because they’re worse. Because barely anyone makes them anymore. Because they’re expensive. Because if it breaks no one will have the parts to repair it. To be honest there are lots of reasons I don’t both mentioning them. If you really know your stuff then they might be a good idea, but for most people I think not.