Portable photo printers and mobile scanners have been around for a while now, and there is a plethora of different options available in a wide range of different price points. This week, we take a closer look at the portable printing trend and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of these on-the-go devices.

Convenience

Obviously the biggest advantage of portable printing technology is the convenience it offers. These devices are ideal if you’re a travelling business person and need to print things on the go like tickets, directions, backup information, and documents or images on a small scale.

Portable scanners are very useful if you want to keep a digital record of documents such as receipts or business cards whilst travelling, or need to scan bulky items which would be difficult to manoeuvre onto a traditional flatbed design.

Price

In the tech world, smaller almost always means more expensive, and the same is true for portable printers. Consumers have to pay for the privilege of carrying around their printing technology, and a portable model can cost as much as a mid range multifunction desktop printer. Basic portable devices start around $150 and scanner start around $175, but the price can vary widely depending on the number of functions you require.

Functionality

Mobile scanners like the ScanJet Pro 1000 tend to be lightweight and offer intuitive button operation, so they’re easy to carry in a backpack or briefcase. Portable printers on the other hand, tend to be bulky and weigh around the 2-3-kilogram mark, so whilst it’s not practical to carry them around in your briefcase, they are useful to bring into meetings or on business trips.

Quality and speed

Considering the significantly scaled down size of portable printers, it’s impressive that many models remain competitive with standard designs in terms of both speed and print quality. Models like the new HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile Wireless Printer boast fast, quiet printing, high page yield per cartridge, and best in class print quality. It is small fast and lightweight so easily stores in your laptop bag.  The OfficeJet 200 is a new update from the previous 100 series.  The Officejet 150 multifunction portable printer  (with scanner) has sadly been discontinued.

Canon’s IP110 has been around for a number of years in a few different forms.  The IP110 now has wireless connectivity a large battery and compact design.  The IP110 has always been an extremely reliable and functional portable printer.

Epson have just entered the market with the Workforce 100 printer which has wi-fi and wi-fi direct so you can print from your network and direct from a tablet or phone.  The battery will charge from a USB connection and uses a LCD display for functionality.

Although portable printers and scanners are no replacement for their full sized counterparts, they can be a useful tool in some circumstances. If you’re the kind of person who travels for business and often in need of on the spot printing, then these portable devices are likely to make your professional life on the road easier. But if you don’t fall into this category, they’re probably not worth the expense and you’re better off investing your money in a full sized printer with more functions.