Tag: mobile printer

How to effectively establish that Wi-Fi-based mobile network

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Wi-Fi mobile printer – one of the mobile peripheral devices pitched to smartphone and tablet users

A major trend that has become strong over the last few years is the arrival of mobile network devices that connect to each other and to client computer devices via Wi-Fi wireless networking technology.

These are represented in the form of:

  • mobile network-attached-storage devices
  • mobile printers
  • wireless speakers, and
  • mobile broadcast-LAN tuners that work with terrestrial or satellite broadcast systems,
Network setup for mobile NAS and smartphone

Network setup for Wi-Fi-based mobile peripheral devices

What is common about all of these devices, and is treated as a key marketing feature by their vendors, is that they can be set up to be their own access point with their own DHCP server as well as being client devices to existing wireless networks. Some of these devices like most mobile NAS devices are able to work effectively as bridges or routers between an existing wireless network and the network that they create.

This may work well if you are just using the one mobile peripheral device with your mobile client devices but may not work well when you intend to run two or more mobile peripheral devices. Here, you will end up switching between different wireless networks just to benefit from the different mobile peripheral devices.

Mobile NAS as bridge setup

Wireless NAS as a bridge between mobile client devices and another Internet-providing network

But you may want to run one or more of these wireless mobile devices together to serve multiple laptops, tablets or smartphones. Situations that may come about that will call for these setups would be where you are using a mobile NAS and, perhaps, a camera that has Wi-Fi functionality or one of the new Wi-Fi-capable mobile printers. This will call for you to create a proper mobile wireless network for all of these devices.

Use a router-class device as the main device

Here, you would have to run one wireless network device as a DHCP server and “master” access point and this function can be best served by a router-class device.

"Mi-Fi" portable wireless router

A typical “Mi-Fi” portable wireless router for a mobile-broadband service

The most common examples of devices of this class that apply to “on-the-road” use are the “Mi-Fi” mobile routers that work with a mobile broadband service or one of the travel routers pitched to work with a hotel’s wired Internet service. Some mobile NAS devices may also do this wireless-bridging functionality in an adept manner and could be the hub of your “travel network”. Similarly, one of the mobile-broadband wireless routers being integrated in to some new cars by the likes of BMW and Chrysler may also answer these needs.

You may think of using your smartphone’s Wi-Fi mobile-broadband-router functionality but this may encumber your smartphone for what you want to really use it for.

Some highly-sophisticated “Mi-Fi” and travel-router devices may also expose an Ethernet connection for LAN use, perhaps through an optional extended-functionality dock. This can come in handy if you want to increase your coverage area with another wireless access point or want to use devices like games consoles with your mobile network.

You may find that you don’t need to run the Internet connection on the Mi-Fi or travel router if you are simply establishing a link between multiple mobile peripheral devices and client devices and aren’t reliant on Internet functionality for their operation. Similarly, by having your mobile devices working this way, you avoid the need to authenticate with a Wi-Fi hotspot that implements Web-based authentication to do something like gain access to your mobile NAS’s data from your iPad.

Set up known wireless network parameters

Mobile network wiht "Mi-Fi" router and 2 Wi-Fi-capable mobile peripheral devices

Mobile wireless network for two or more mobile devices and mobile client devices – uses a router-class device like a “Mi-Fi” router

When you set up your “Mi-Fi” or travel router, you make this device the hub of your mobile network and have every device “point” to this device’s local-network by associating with its SSID (wireless network name) and security parameters.

Most of the mobile network devices that work on an “open-frame” approach can be quickly associated to this “mobile hub” thanks to WPS-based push-button setup. For devices that don’t support this quick setup mode like most Apple devices, you will need to note down the “mobile hub’s” SSID and security passphrase. Some “Mi-Fi” devices that have a display may be able to show these details on their display, perhaps at the request of the user.

For that matter, a good practice would be to assign a unique SSID for your “mobile hub” device i.e. your Mi-Fi or travel router. This is important when you use these setups in campgrounds, caravan parks or hotels where many of these devices will be used at once.

All wireless devices to link with router-class device

It will also mean that the mobile NAS, mobile printer or other similar device has to work as a client device rather than as its own access point. This also applies to your computing devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones which also associate with the “mobile hub” device.

When positioning your mobile-network devices, make sure that they are in the range of your “mobile network hub” device i.e. the Mi-Fi or the travel router. All the wireless traffic that goes between these devices will pass through the “mobile network hub” device rather than between the devices themselves.

You may find that if you want to avoid draining your “Mi-Fi” router’s battery too quickly, it may be a good idea to have it run from a USB charger that runs from house current or your vehicle’s cigar-lighter socket. Similarly, a high-capacity USB power-pack can also earn its keep with these devices if you are away from power.

What I stand for when reviewing or researching mobile devices

When I review any device for this Website that is capable of being its own wireless network such as a mobile NAS or mobile printer, I test the device with my home network’s Wi-Fi wireless segment as if it is a client device. This is so I am sure they can work in this kind of setup as well as the highly-promoted “own access point” setup. As well, as part of researching a mobile device that uses Wi-Fi wireless technology as part of its link with client computer devices, I verify that it can work as part of an existing wireless-network segment as well as being its own segment.

Similarly, when I research a mobile router-class device like a Mi-Fi or travel router, I would expect the device to support WPS single-push connectivity along with other essential Wi-Fi connectivity and security standards. Similarly, such a device would have to be easy to configure including setting up the SSID and passphrase. As well, the Mi-FI device can’t be very thirsty with its battery if the goal is to have it as a “hub” device.


Once you are able to set up a mobile multi-device network, you can then be able to use it to store or print data while you are “on the road” without needing to constantly switch networks for each different task.

Product Review–Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer


I am reviewing the Brother PJ-773 PocketJet wireless mobile thermal printer which is a highly-compact wireless-network-capable mobile printer. It is also the first mobile printer that I have reviewed that can work with a Wi-Fi network rather than having to be connected to the host computer for it to work. There wasn’t even a need for me to install or plug in a network adaptor for this functionality to come about.

This mobile printer implements direct-thermal printing technology that was initially used by fax machines to turn out incoming faxes. But Brother has rebuilt their faith in this technology for on-the-road transactional printing by using thermal-printing paper that is better than those rolls of thermal paper used with those fax machines.

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer

Print Paper Trays Connection
B/W A4 single-sheet USB 3.0
Direct Thermal A4 paper roll with roll attachment 802.11g/n Wi-Fi wireless



The machine’s standard price: AUD$879

Optional Extras:

DC car charger (cigar lighter): AUD$49.00

DC car charger (direct wire): AUD$49.00

Carry Case and roll holder – rugged design: AUD$99.00

Rubber carry case: – rugged design: AUD$39.00

Vinyl carry pouch: AUD$19.00

Car mount with roll holder: AUD$199

Paper Guide – cut sheets: AUD$69

Paper Guide – paper rolls: AUD$69.00

Thermal paper

Standard A4 thermal paper (100 sheets): AUD$19

20-year A4 thermal paper (100 sheets): AUD$24

A4 perforated thermal roll (100 pages per roll, 6 rolls): AUD$89

A4 thermal roll (15m per roll, 6 rolls): AUD$99

The printer itself

Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer printing

Brother PJ-773 turning out a document – the printing side is on the back of the paper

The Brother PJ-773 Pocket-Jet wireless mobile thermal printer is based on direct-thermal printing technology which was first implemented in a mobile-printing scenario by Pentax when they released the PocketJet mobile printer in the early 1990s as laptops were becoming more common. Here, this printer used the typical fax paper which was ubiquitous then as its printing medium while being a compact printing device.

But Brother had purchased Pentax’s printing assets including the PocketJet thermal-printing technology in 2008 and started to use their branding in 2009on the PJ-5 series of these printers. Then they started to apply their innovations when they manufactured the PJ-6 series of these printers.

Here, this printer is slightly wider than the narrow edge of an A4 or Letter sheet of paper but as thick as a bar of Toblerone chocolate. This means that you could easily stash it in your laptop bag without it taking up much room.


Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer right hand side connections

USB and power sockets on the right side of the printer

The Brother PJ-773 printer is capable of operating on a lithium-ion battery pack or on an external power supply which would be the supplied AC adaptor. But you can purchase through Brother one of two DC adaptors that allow you to use it in your vehicle – one that plugs in to the vehicle’s cigar-lighter socket and one that is capable of being directly wired to the vehicle’s electrical-accessories wiring.

I have set up the Brother PJ-773 thermal mobile printer with my regular Windows computer and used software that was downloaded from Brother’s Website rather than the CD-supplied software. This software worked properly first time and found the printer over the USB connection.

Wi-Fi setup

Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile thermal printer printing mechanism

Very small print mechanism due to thermal printing technology

The Brother PJ-773 printer is capable of being set up to work with a Wi-Fi network. This means that it can either work as its own Wi-Fi access point or it can be part of a small Wi-Fi network or a large enterprise-grade Wi-Fi network. It also is future-proof where you can use the printer with an IPv6 network which is becoming the way to go.

You have to configure it for your network by connecting it to a regular Windows or Macintosh computer via USB and running the USB Device Settings Tool program. The only exception is if you are connecting the printer to a Wi-Fi router or access point that uses WPS “push-to-connect” setup where you hold down the Wi-Fi button on the printer for 5 seconds to instigate this setup routine at the printer.

This also applies if you wish to switch your Brother PJ-773 printer between using an existing Wi-Fi network or creating its own Wi-Fi network. Here, you have to determine whether to use “Wireless Direct” for the printer to be its own access point or “Infrastructure” for it to be a part of an existing network.


Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer alongside Windows test printout that it printed

Slightly smaller than the A4 printed page that it turns out

The Brother PJ-773 had worked properly with Windows 10 and with Android using both the Mopria printing abilities and the Brother iPront&Scan printing app. The latter situation may not work properly if you are using the Wireless Direct printing setup because the Android iPront&Scan software is dependent on an Internet connection for rasterising the documents for printing.

If you want to see the document come out more sharply, you may have to increase the density settings in the driver or app to see something darker.

I completed a document-copy test involving a multifunction printer to see how documents would turn out when copied using one of these printers. This included whether the thermal paper used for this printer would misfeed through an automatic document feeder which is common with multifunction printers offered to the business market. The reason I performed thsi test is because one could copy or scan a “print-and-sign” document as part of their workflow, such as to scan an invoice or repair quote for tax or insurance purposes; and is being underscored by the common “print, sign, scan, email” workflow underscored with the Internet and email.

Here,  I used the previously-reviewed Brother MFC-J5720DW business multi-function inkjet printer to perform these tests and printed the document using default settings for the PJ-773 and copied it using the default settings for the MFC-J5720DW. The thermal-paper original passed through the automatic document feeder on the multifunction without any problems while I found that a standard text document could copy properly on default settings. With some documents, you may have to increase the copy density on the MFC or copier if they come out a bit pale.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer could benefit from improvements as far as Wi-Fi setup is concerned.

Firstly, it could benefit from a hardware switch on the printer itself that allows you to select between Infrastructure or Wireless-Direct operation so you can have it work with an existing wireless network or as its own network without having to go through the rigmarole of connecting it to a regular computer via USB and running a configuration app to perform this switchover.

As well, it could support a “wireless repeater” mode like some mobile NAS units such as the WD MyPassport Wireless mobile NAS so you can have access to an Internet-supporting Wi-Fi network and the printer’s access point network at the same time. For setup in Wireless Direct mode, the Brother PJ-773 could implement WPS-PBC “push-to-connect” as a way of establishing a connection between it and a Windows or Android client device.

Brother could improve on the Pocket Jet direct-thermal printing platform by supporting duplex printing with suitable double-sided paper. This can appeal to applications where you need to turn out a 2-page document without needing to feed through two sheets of paper.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

I find that the Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer earns its keep with basic “on-the-road” transactional printing from both regular computers and mobile devices. This is more so if you are turning out a receipt, invoice or similar document which only covers up to two A4 or letter pages. You may have to use the paper-roll kit of you expect to torn out a document with many pages at a time.

For best results, I would recommend thay you run the printer with the image density setting on 6 or 8. Here, you can have documents that last a long time and can be copied easily on most multi-function printers without any need to configure them. You could use the premium “20-year” paper to turn out legal-requirement documents such as safety and compliance certificates associated with installation work, or for tax invoices in those jurisdictions where you have to keep tax documents for over five years.

Similarly, it may be worth bargaining in the cut-sheet paper guide if you expect to use your Brother PJ-773 to frequently print multi-page documents. Buying the ruggedised carry case with integrated roll-paper holder may make for a practical no-fuss “ready-to-print” option for your briefcase.

On the other hand, you may have to use a Canon or HP mobile inkjet printer if you are expecting to turn out many pages at a time and place emphasis on on-demand colour or greyscale printing such as printing of photos, or you value a choice of media for “on-the-road” applications.

Therefore I would consider the Brother PJ-773 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer as a tool for tradesmen and other mobile workers to have in their mobile office.

Should I buy a mobile printer for my laptop?

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer copying a document

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile all-in-one printer

A device that you may consider purchasing for your portable computer would be a mobile printer.

What are these mobile printers

A mobile printer, like the Canon PiXMA iP100 single-function printer or the HP OfficeJet 150 all-in-one that I reviewed, is typically a compact inkjet or thermal printer that is able to run on internal batteries or AC power or, in some cases, car DC power through an external power supply. These typically are the size of a shoebox and connect to the host computer through a USB wired or Bluetooth wireless connection. In some cases, some of the thermal variants are the same size as a stick of wood.

These printers typically use either a dual-cartridge colour inkjet or a direct thermal printing system which can be costly to run if you use them frequently.

As for features. the current inkjet models have ended up with various forms of functionality that allows them to be of service to gadgets like digital cameras without the need of a computer. For example, they will have PictBridge printing ability so you can print from your digital camera using the camera’s control surface. A few of the printers like the HP OfficeJet 150 have standalone “print from removable media” ability so you can print from a USB memory key or SD card.

Some of the printers that have the ability to scan documents will typically have the ability to scan them to the computer or, increasingly, to removable media like an SD card.

Why do they exist

If you wish to use a printer at your customer’s or business partner’s site, you need to make sure that your laptop computer has the printer drivers for that printer. This problem hasn’t been rectified with a universal graphics-capable printer driver that can work with all printers yet.

As well, a lot of places which offer public-access printers can charge a princely sum for you to use these printers and a lot of us don’t want to impose on a client’s resources for our hard-copy needs.

Who would need to use these printers

Canon PIXMA IP-100 mobile printer

Canon PiXMA iP-100 mobile printer

If you use a computer on the road but always need to be able to turn out hard copy like invoices, receipts or contract documents that you give to your customer, these printers would suit your needs.

A printer with PictBridge or “print from removable media” abilities may come in handy if you need to turn out a draft print of a photo you took with your digital camera. An example of this may include photographing something you need to highlight to your customer and you want the large print so they can see it easily.

The scanning feature would come in handy for anyone who wants to take a hard-copy document to electronic form. Some applications may include sending a receipt or work-consent form that was signed by the customer via email to the office for filing.

Similarly, scanning a fuel-station’s till receipt to electronic form could be par for the course when it comes to keeping track of work expenses using your bookkeeping software and these printers could make it easier to do this chore “there and then” when you fill up your vehicle for example. This can then avoid the situation where you have a glove box full of fuel receipts yet to be “booked in” to your accounting system.

What you should know about using these printers

The mobile printers are best used as secondary or auxiliary printers that are intended for on-road use rather than as the main printer for your computing life. The reasons I would give for this is that they typically use consumables that are more expensive than regular desktop printers.

For example, the inkjet printers use a two-cartridge colour-printing system where you have to replace the colour cartridge if you run out of one of the colours. The thermal printers may require you to use thermal paper that comes as A4 cut sheets rather than as the classic “fax roll”.

Similarly these printers would take a longer time to print or scan the document than a regular desktop printer due to the use of smaller low-powered motors optimised for battery-powered use. The also can continuously feed a small number of sheets of paper which may make them unsuitable for turning out large documents.

At the time of writing, these printers don’t have any support for network-driven document printing so they wouldn’t be able to work properly with the typical smartphone or tablet that uses a mobile operating system.


The mobile printers are a fantastic computer accessory for your laptop computer but they don’t work well as a primary printer device when you are at home, at the office or at the shop. Rather they are best suited for printing small documents at the client’s site or in the hotel room.

Product Review–HP OfficeJet 150 Mobile Multifunction Printer


Previously, I had written an article about the HP OfficeJet 150 as being the first mobile battery-operated multifunction printer that could also scan and copy when it was launched in May. Prior to that, if you wanted a device that did this, you may have bought the Canon BJC-80 alongside a scanning-head accessory for that printer. Then you had to swap the printhead and the scanning head every time you wanted to scan a document.

There are some workflows where you have to prepare and print a document like a quote, then this document has to be signed or annotated before it is emailed back to the office. This work may have to be done while you are on the road and it wouldn’t be feasible to do this on the road in a simplified manner before the arrival of this machine.

As well, this unit’s scanner would allow you to file documents electronically on your laptop or to a USB memory key or SD memory card. It also can become an “on-the-road” convenience document copier.

I have now been given the chance to review this printer and assess it as a mobile computing accessory for those of you who work on the road.

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer closed up

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer ready for operation



Print Scan Copy Paper Trays Connections
Colour Colour Colour 1 x A4 USB 2.0
Ink-jet Resolution Bluetooth



Recommended Retail Price: AUD$449

Optional Extras:

Car power adaptor (Purchase from HP store): USD$79.99

Inks and Toners

Standard High-Capacity
Price Pages Price Pages
Black 25.40 420 30.58 480
Colour 36.57 330 47.58 560
Photo 34.16 130 photos


The printer itself

The HP OfficeJet 150, like the previously-reviewed Canon PIXMA mobile printer is the size of a small “shoebox-style” cassette recorder. It is able to run from AC power using the supplied power adaptor or from internal rechargeable batteries. As well, one can also purchase from HP the “OfficeJet Mobile Car Adaptor” so you can run the printer off your vehicle’s 12V cigar-lighter socket, something I would consider very useful for those of you whose office is your truck or van.

It would take the equivalent of four to five hours to charge the printer’s battery from empty to fully charged, which means that it could be ready to go after you wake up if you charge it overnight.

User Interface and Walk-up functions

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer touchscreen control panel

The touchscreen control panel used as the printer’s control surface

The HP OfficeJet 150 uses a small LCD touchscreen user interface for managing setup and walk-up functions. I find that this screen may be seen as being too small especially when you use the dialog boxes associated with the various operations. As well, I would rather that HP do implement the OLED technology for this printer’s display rather than the common LCD display.

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer copying a document

It can even work as a personal copier

The copy / scan mechanism is a sheet-fed system similar to the typical fax machine and requires you to have the document with the text facing downwards and the top of the document towards the back of the machine.

The OfficeJet 150 was able to print out an image from my Canon PowerShot GIX camera properly and smoothly using the PictBridge setup. This is good if you want a “quick print” of one or more images that you just took with your digital camera.

You can also print from and scan to SDHC memory cards or USB memory keys using the control panel. The SD card slot is very difficult to find but is located on the bottom of left edge of the printer, up the back while the USB socket for this kind of printing is located on the back, close to the USB host socket which you use to connect this printer to the computer.

The advantage of this is that you could scan all those receipts that are in your van’s glove box or those signed documents on that clipboard to a memory key or SD card, then transfer them out to your main computer when you get back to your office. Similarly, you could turn out the preview images from your digital camera to show your customer, again without needing to bring out your laptop.

Computer functions

The HP OfficeJet 150 can connects to a computer via USB or Bluetooth but it cannot use the Bluetooth option for anything beyond printing. Of course, this printer can work with regular computer based on Windows or MacOS X operating environments.

It can also print from an Android device if you load that device with Printshare. Other than that, there is very little support for mobile operating environments.

The software installation experience was very quick although I downloaded the software from the HP site rather than using the supplied CD. This is so I can be sure I am running the latest drivers for this printer. It is infact also going to be the method one will have to use when loading the software on to any of the newer ultraportable computers that aren’t equipped with an optical drive.


During initial setup, the printheads didn’t move to loading position instantly. Instead I had to turn the printer off and on to cause this to happen. As for installing the ink cartridges, you placed them in to their respective holders then closed the lids on these holders to cause them to be in the correct position. This didn’t require much force.

When you scan or copy receipts, dockets and till-rolls, you will need to have the receipt in the middle of the scanning head and manually push the receipt in to the machine as you start the scan or copy process. You will need to “ignore” the dialogs that come up on the touchscreen about the document not being loaded properly by tapping “Ignore”. This is a task that I find that most users are likely to do as part of organising their expense receipts for tax or reimbursement purposes such as those fuel receipts that pile up in the glove box; or managing those payment-terminal or cash-register journal reports as part of your accounting and tax needs.

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer SDHC card slot

The SDHC card slot is located on the left side of the printer, on the bottom edge and towards the back

One thing that confused me initially was the location of the SD card slot that is used for “print-from-card” and “scan-to-card” applications. It was initially hard to locate this until I looked up the supplied product documentation which mentioned that the slot was just about on the bottom edge of the printer’s left had side.

This SD card slot would present itself as an extra disk drive in Windows or MacOS X. It is a bonus if you use an ultraportable computer like the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook that doesn’t have an SD card slot. You also then benefit from an extra memory card slot which can come in handy for jobs like “upsizing” a MicroSD card by moving data to a larger-capacity card.

Printing speed and quality

The HP OfficeJet 150 had turned out clear crisp text at the typical inkjet printing speed when it was printing regular documents. This didn’t matter if it was connected via USB or Bluetooth. The scanning and copying speed was also very similar to what you would expect for most of the smaller fax machines.

I have done the usual colour-photo printing test using the supplied cartridges rather than the photo cartridges. This is because most of us may find it harder to locate the photo cartridge at most stationers or won’t be bothered to buy and install that photo cartridge every time we want to print a photo. I assessed it against the previously-reviewed Canon PiXMA iP-100 mobile printer and noticed it yielded colours that were more saturated yet the image lost out on the contrast. As well this printer also yielded a relatively darker output of the same images compared to the Canon.

HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer back view with battery and USB sockets

Back view with stick-like battery, USB host socket for memory keys and digital cameras and USB computer socket to connect to a laptop computer

It is also worth noting that the photo printing tasks tended to ask more of the printer’s battery life. Of course, the battery life that is rated in pages for these printers assumes that you turn the printer on for the task at hand, complete the task then turn it off before packing it away.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

A limitation that I have noticed is that the HP OfficeJet 150 can have trouble printing an A4 photo when connected via Bluetooth. Here, it could “cut off” the printout very early and cause the host computer to resend the image for printing.

As for receipt / till-roll scanning, the printer could have a second guide from the right in order to simplify this process or the scanner’s feed system can be optimised on the left or right to keep thermal-printed receipts from drifting while scanning or copying. Similarly there could be a “copy and scan” mode which scans a document to an SD card or USB memory key while copying it, which can come in handy when you have to turn out a customer copy while creating an electronic file copy of that work order.

HP and other could move towards a 4-cartridge ink system for these mobile printers so that they are less costly to run when it comes to ink cartridges. This is a system that is commonly used with most regular-sized inkjet printers and has been considered more cost-effective due to the need only to replace only the empty cartridges.

This printer could be able to support Wi-Fi printing through the use of an optional Wi-Fi connectivity kit. Here this could work via an existing Wi-Fi network or use Wi-Fi Direct for standalone mobile printing. This option would make it work with mobile operating environments like Apple’s iOS with its AirPrint function; as well as the ePrint Home & Biz apps available for iOS and Android.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

I would recommend that people who are needing to print, copy and / or scan hardcopy documents but want to avoid carrying many different accessories for each task buy the HP OfficeJet 150 mobile printer.

As well I would recommend that those of us who use this printer as part of working out of the back of a vehicle like a van; or work from a small powerboat purchase the optional car adaptor. Here, you can charge the printer’s battery up while under way or avoid the worry about compromising battery life while printing or scanning near the vehicle.

HP brings around the OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer


HP introduces Officejet 150 all-in-one mobile printer, Photosmart 5520 — Engadget

My comments

As most of us know, desktop multifunction printers which have an integrated scanner have been around with us for a long time and are a popular primary-use printer type. They have worked well also as photocopiers and, in an increasing number of cases, fax machines which are more cost-effective than the cheap thermal-transfer plain-paper faxes that some small businesses use,

But this device class hasn’t become of benefit to the mobile user. Some of these users may require a document to be printed out for the customer to sign as part of the workflow such as a quote-acceptance or job-completion handover form. Here they don’t want to have a pile of these documents occupying space in the briefcase or van before they head “back to base” to process and file them.

Typically, these users either had to buy a mobile printer and a mobile scanner if they wanted to be able to print and scan hard-copy documents on the road. Canon previously offered a scanning attachment for their BJC-80 mobile printers but required the user to install the attachment in the printer if they wanted to scan.

But now HP have offered the OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer which I see as a game changer. It can work in a similar manner to the direct-connect multifunction desktop printer and can link with a regular computer via USB or Bluetooth. Of course it has what used to be known as “three-way” power where it can be run from AC, a rechargeable battery pack or your vehicle’s cigar-lighter socket. Infact the unit does come with the rechargeable battery pack as well as the AC adaptor and the car adaptor can be obtained through HP.

There is the ability to perform driverless printing from PictBridge-enabled cameras and selected (non-Apple) smartphones. But if this is to work with most mobile devices, HP could modify the ePrint Home & Biz app to use Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi wireless for the device connection. Similarly this printer doesn’t support Apple’s AirPrint ecosystem for their iOS devices because this technology is pitched at network connectivity as the main link.

On the other hand, HP could develop and supply an “ePrint / AirPrint” kit with an 802.11n Wi-Fi interface that connects to this printer. This could be set to work as a wireless network adaptor for existing Wi-Fi networks or as an access point for quick-set-up arrangements where there isn’t a wireless router in place.

As I have read through the press material on this device, the HP OfficeJet 150, like all mobile inkjet printers that have been released so far, is a two-cartridge colour printer. This means that colour printing can be very costly on these setups because if you run out of one colour, you have to throw away a cartridge that has plenty of the other colours. This class of printer could be improved upon with the use of a four-cartridge colour printing setup in order to provide the same level of economy as a well-bred desktop multifunction inkjet printer.

What I see of this is an effort to provide tradesmen, travelling salesmen and other similar workers with a lightweight portable device that works with workflows that require heavy use of hard copy and quick-turnaround documents.

Product Review–Canon PiXMA iP100 Mobile Printer


I am reviewing the Canon PiXMA iP100 Mobile Inkjet Printer which is the current-generation successor to the popular Canon BJC-80 portable printer. This particular model has appealed to those of us who need to use a printer to obtain hard copy “on the road” from our portable computer devices.

I have been lent this unit for review by a close friend of mine who had bought it to go with their netbook computer that they were using for an overseas trip they had previously done. This was intended to be used for occasionally obtaining hard copy of emails and similar documents through that journey.

Canon PIXMA IP-100 mobile printer

Print Paper Trays Connections
Colour 1 x A4 USB 2.0
Inkjet PictBridge host port
IrDA infrared; Bluetooth with optional module



The machine’s standard price AUD$449

Optional Extras:

BU-30 Bluetooth Connectivity Module: AUD$69

LK-62 Rechargeable Battery (with reviewed unit): AUD$129

PU-200U Car power adaptor: AUD$129

Inks and Toners

Price Pages
Black AUD$17.50 191
Colour AUD$34.50 249

Canon PiXMA IP-100 mobile printer closed up

The printer - ready for travelling

The printer itself

The Canon PiXMA iP-100 is a very small lightweight printer that occupies the table space that a typical netbook computer would occupy. This makes for reduced storage space that this class of device would require as you travel.

Like its former grandparent model, the BJC-80, this printer is able to work from AC power using a supplied power adaptor which connects to the AC power through the typical “portable-radio” power cord; or from an optional rechargeable battery. You can also buy another power adaptor that plugs in to your car’s or boat’s cigar-lighter socket so you can run it from the vehicle’s battery. From my searches on the Internet about this battery pack, it is rated to allow the printer to turn out 292 pages on one charge.

Canon PIXMA IP-100 mobile printer with external battery pack

External battery pack attached to printer

This printer is a direct-connect printer which can connect to the host using a regular USB cable or wirelessly with IRDA infrared connection or Bluetooth radio connection. The latter method can be achieved if you purchase the optional Canon Bluetooth module and plug this module in to the PictBridge USB socket.

It does support driverless printing for devices in certain situations. The first one would be wireless printing from phones and PDAs that support Bluetooth and IRDA “object-push” profiles for small documents and photos. The second situation would be for digital cameras and mobile phones that have a PictBridge connection.

This latter function can come in handy if you need to print out “example images” or “pre-approval” proofs to show to customers after you have just taken a picture. Of course, some of us may find it useful for printing out the quick snaps to pass around after we take some funny pictures.

Canon PIXMA IP100 mobile printer data sockets and IRDA window

USB and PictBridge sockets and IRDA window

Computer functions

The software loaded properly on my Windows 7 computer and it didn’t take a long time for the computer to “re-discover” the printer on subsequent connections. This would suit its intended market where the printer would be brought out and connected as required.

Output Quality

The printer will turn out very sharp text that would yield a very easy-to-read document. When I print photos,there is strong contrast but sometimes there may be a bit of paleness in the picture. For colour reproduction, there is still some strong colour saturation and it can properly reproduce the skin tones.

Limitations and Points of Improvement

The Canon PiXMA iP-100  could benefit from higher-capacity cartridges, especially high-capacity black cartridges. This is especially more so if it is to be used by a tradesman like a repairman who has to turn out multi-page quotes or invoices; or if it is being used frequently to turn out “proofs”. As well, it could improve on the printer’s operational economy.

In the same context, the printer manufacturers who sell “mobile” printers could do some research in operation-economy-improving techniques like four-cartridge printing and higher-capacity cartridges.

As well, there could be some work done on making it feasible for smartphones and tablet computers to print out using the iP-100. At the moment, this may require use of the Bluetooth module as well as iOS and Android apps that link with the email, photo-viewing and document-creation functions of these devices.

Conclusion and Placement Notes

I would consider this Canon PiXMA IP-100 portable printer as being suitable for basic printing needs that occur primarily in the field like printing quotes and invoices to hand directly to the customer for example. It would also work well for business travellers who need to obtain hard copy of documents or photographs without the need to pay higher costs or face embarrassment when using other equipment.