This Week in Imaging: A Look at Mobile and Portable Printers

fall colors

Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

There’s mobile printing (the ability to print from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones) and then there are mobile (portable) printers. A battery-powered mobile printer allows you to take your printer on the road with you so that you can print on demand wherever you go. The problem is that some mobile (portable) printers actually don’t support mobile printing, so you have to hook them up to your PC via USB cable or Bluetooth in order to print.

Judging by the popularity of our HP Officejet 100 reports and videos, mobile printers are somewhat popular, but the Officejet 100 is getting rather long in the tooth. Granted, it has replaceable and rechargeable batteries, uses plain paper, and has an ink cost per page that is comparable to most non-portable printers, but mobile printing capabilities are nil. On the other hand, it’s one of the only portable printers that you could use as your only (albeit low-volume) printer – let’s say in a dorm room or anywhere out in the field.

This week, Brother shook things up a bit with the introduction of its latest mobile printer, the PocketJet 7. It’s unique in that it uses thermal black-only roll media (no ink or ribbons) and is very compact, and supports AirPrint, Mopria, Windows 10, and Google Cloud Print. It also features technology that flattens out the sheets as they are produced from the roll. It has a USB, IrDA, and optional Bluetooth connectivity and has a number of accessories including a carrying case, a desktop caddy, vehicle mount, vehicle-power adapter, 360 mAh NiMH and 1500 mAh Li-Ion batteries, and a fanfold paper case.

There are also other portable printers available: the Canon PIXMA iP110; the Epson WorkForce WF-100; and the HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer (Test Report download); and each one uses distinctly different technology.

Make & ModelTechnologyBatteryMobile PrintingBlack/Color CPC
Brother PocketJet 7Black Thermal MediaRemovableYes8.9¢/NA
Canon PIXMA iP100Thermal Color Inkjet/Plain PaperOptionalYes6.3¢/14.2¢
Epson WorkForce WF-100Thermal Color Inkjet/Plain PaperFixedYes8.8¢/9.0¢
HP Officejet 100 MobileThermal Color Inkjet/Plain PaperRemovableNo4.9¢/11.9¢

As you can see from our table above, users definitely need to be well aware of their intended applications before they buy any of these portable printers, as each has distinct strengths and weaknesses.

On the complete opposite side of the printer spectrum – commercial and production printing – were two notable announcements this week, with two traditional office-imaging companies reflecting the trend of office-imaging companies continuing to expand into commercial and production printing, with OKI Data setting up a wide-format printer company, and Konica Minolta preparing for the launch of its digital inkjet press, the KM-1.

Commercial- and Production-Printing News

  • OKI Sets Up New Wide-Format Printer Company with Acquisition of Seiko I Infotech’s Printer Business – Read more here.
  • Konica Minolta Preparing for Launch of KM-1 Inkjet Press for Commercial Printing – Read more here.

Office-Imaging News

  • Inside Samsung Printing Solutions: Interview with VP Chin Yoon – Read more here.
  • Ricoh Offering Just-Released Versions of Nuance AutoStore, eCopy ShareScan, Output Manager – Read more here.
  • New A4 Ricoh MP C306 Color Copier/MFP Boasts Tablet-Like Touch Screen, Cloud Connectivity, NFC, More – Read more here.
  • Sharp Expands Mono A3 Lineup with Three New Copier/MFPs – Read more here.
  • Brother’s Mobile Printer PocketJet 7 for On-the-Road Workers Supports Broad Range of Mobile Solutions – Read more here.
  • New ‘Heavy-Duty’ Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6530 with 4,000-Page-Yield Color Ink Cartridges – Read more here.
  • Eight New Copier/MFPs, New Solutions, from Fuji Xerox for Small and Mid-Size Businesses – Read more here.
  • HP Rolls Out New Partner Programs for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. – Read more here.

3D-Printing News

  • U.S. 3D-Printer Market is ‘White Hot,” According to Latest Research from IDC – Read more here.

Legal Briefs

  • Canon Wins Injunction Barring TonerPirate.com from Selling Alleged Patent-Infringing Toner Cartridges in the U.S. – Read more here.

Acquisitions

  • Konica Minolta Bolsters Healthcare IT Solutions Portfolio with Acquisition of Viztek – Read more here.
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