Portable inkjet printers reviewed

Bluetooth Printers
Image by RafeB via Flickr

One of our customers inquired today about portable inkjet printers, and while there isn’t a source of reviews comparable to the ones for laser printers that I could find, I did run across the following that I hope will be of some help.

Portable inkjet printers are a compact and lightweight option for use with laptops. They can run on battery or electrical power; some even have an optional adapter to run off a car’s cigarette lighter. Reviews say that portable printers can’t match the speed of desktop printers and cost much more both to buy and to run. They are made for low-volume use. Many portable printers are Bluetooth compatible, which means that they will work with a wireless adapter and can receive input from a PDA or mobile phone.

The Canon Pixma iP100 (*Est. $235) receives great comments from CNet.com’s Justin Yu, who says that its speed and resolution are top notch for a portable printer. Print quality is also praised and text is said to be clean, with Simon Williams of TrustedReviews.com stating that the iP100 is on par with full-sized, desktop inkjet printers.

The iP100 is an update of the Canon Pixma ip90v portable printer, and there are several notable improvements. These include a larger number of printheads, higher color resolution, 50-sheet input capacity (an increase of 20 sheets), faster printing and, according to the CNet.com review, a slight improvement in print quality. Connectivity options include PictBridge, USB and infrared for connection to cell phones. There are no memory card slots and the iP100 printer does not offer Wi-Fi connectivity.

HP’s Officejet H470 portable printer (*Est. $220) does not fare as well at CNet.com, where Justin Yu says problems include “fuzzy” and “blurred” text. Photos print out smooth, Yu says, but colors are flat and lack saturation. PC Magazine’s M. David Stone largely agrees, saying the H470′s text quality is “subpar,” and notes banding when printing in certain modes. U.K.-based PC Advisor sees similar issues, but the reviewer writes that swapping the default black ink cartridge for an optional six-ink photo cartridge resulted in “superb” output on photo paper. Simon Williams of TrustedReviews.com, on the other hand, feels that the H470 performs well for a portable printer, and that its print speeds actually exceed HP’s specifications. He also disagrees with negative assessments of the H470′s text printing, saying that even when reproducing small fonts there is only “slight fuzziness” around the edges.

Reviews that contrast the HP Officejet H470 with the Canon Pixma iP100 are inconclusive as to which is the superior product. M. David Stone at PC Magazine notes that while the iP100 is superior in speed and some aspects of print quality, the H470 wins out in such areas as ink cartridge yields. Both printers have some similar costly, optional add-ons, such as Bluetooth adapters and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.

If you are searching for a portable printer, there are some key differences in features between the Canon Pixma iP100 and HP Officejet H470 that may help you choose the best model. Most notably, HP’s H470 offers Wi-Fi connectivity and memory card slots. It also costs less to equip and operate; for instance, the H470′s optional battery costs around $50, while the iP100′s is twice as expensive. HP even offers a soft carrying case — a frill missing with the Pixma iP100. If you do not need these options and value print quality above all else, however, reviews indicate that Canon’s Pixma iP100 is the better performing portable printer. (Source – Consumer Search)


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