HP Officejet 250 Mobile All-in-One Printer

A crucial addition to the mobile office

HP Officejet 250 Mobile All-in-One Printer
HP Officejet 250 Mobile All-in-One Printer. Photo courtesy of HP

Pros:

  • Battery charges fast when machine is powered down
  • Light, compact, and well-built
  • Good print quality and decent speeds for a mobile device
  • Runs sure-footed and quiet
  • Battery charges on AC or USB

Cons:

  • High purchase price for inkjet device
  • High per-page cost of ink
  • Two cartridges for 4 inks

Bottom Line: A long-overdue update, this little mobile device prints, copies, and scans well, and at a decent clip for as small as this AIO is; even so, its typical cost of $350 is too-high cost per page, or CPP, diminishes its overall value and restricts the number of would-be buyers.

Introduction

The debut of the Officejet 250 Mobile All-in-One Printer accompanies HP’s corresponding release of the Officejet 200 Mobile, and replaces the Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One Printer reviewed here some time ago.

Design and Features

With its 10-page automatic document feeder, or ADF, and input tray (essentially, the unit’s lid) open, the Officejet 250 Mobile measures 15 inches wide, by 15.8 inches from front to back, and 10.6 inches high (it stands only 7.8 inches deep and 3.6 inches high when closed up for travel). It weighs a stiff 6.5 pounds without the battery and 6.7 pounds with the batter installed. The battery is removable and swappable. Fully charged, according to HP, you should expect about 500 prints, copies, or scans, from the battery.

As mobile devices go, at nearly 7 pounds, this one is heavy; as heavy as or heavier than most laptops, but not so bad when you consider all that it does.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct (or Wireless Direct, HP’s equivalent), and connecting to a single PC via USB, but remember to bring your own USB printer cable as there’s not one in the box. Wi-Fi Direct is, of course, a peer-to-peer protocol for connecting your Android smartphone to the printer without the presence of a network or router.

In addition, HP has provided its HP Auto Wireless Connect feature for quick connections between your mobile computing device and the printer each time the two devices “see” each other. You control these options, as well as configuration and walk-up, or PC-free, functions, from a 2.7-inch color touch screen.

You can charge the battery via AC or USB, and, according to HP, you can charge it in under 90 minutes with the unit powered down. Supported, too, are several other mobile connectivity and cloud features standard to most HP printers these days.

Performance, Print Quality, Paper Handling

Mobile printers are remarkable feats of engineering—cramming so much functionality into so tiny a box. Like the Officejet 200, the 250 is rated at about 10 pages per minute (ppm), which is nearly twice as fast as its predecessor’s rating. Even so, 10ppm isn’t very fast. And when you start loading down your documents with graphics, text formatting, and photos, things bog down considerably.

Depending on what I printed, the slower it printed, sometimes as low as 2ppm or 3ppm. The bottom line is that it’s plenty fast enough for what it is, and print quality makes output worth waiting for. It prints fast enough.

Compared to other $350 AIOs, on the other hand, it’s slow. Print quality, though, is much like that of much larger AIOs. Business documents came out with well-formed type, and embedded business graphics and photographs looked good, too, as did most scans and copies.

A 10-page automatic document feeder, or ADF, feeds the scanner, but the ADF is not auto-duplexing, nor is the print engine itself. In other words, it cannot scan nor print two-sided originals or documents, respectively, without you’re having to flip both the originals in the scanner and the newly printed documents in the output tray (in this case, the surface on which this miniature AIO itself is sitting).

The Officejet 250 Mobile’s paper handling consists of one 50-page tray, which seconds as the lid that covers the printer when it’s not in use or traveling. There is no multipurpose tray for printing off-size originals, and everything it does it does so on a much smaller scale than its similarly priced counterparts. For example, in most cases you’d expect a $350 HP inkjet AIO to print high-volume, but surely not in this case.

Cost Per Page

Usually, when I come across a printer with a per-page cost of operation, or cost per page (CPP), this high, even on the lowest of low-volume printers, I protest. But not here. Above all else, this is a specialty printer, and specialty printers have expensive ink. As described in “When a $150 Printer can Cost You Thousands”, buying the wrong printer and then overusing it can be a very expensive proposition.

That said, the Officejet 200 Mobile supports two sets of ink cartridges. Each set consists of a black ink tank and a tri-color tank containing the other three process colors, cyan, magenta, and yellow, or CMY. When you use the higher-yield, or ‘XL,” tanks, the black-and-white CPP comes out to about 6 cents, and the color CPP about 21.6 cents.

Yes, these numbers are quite high, but then this is a low-volume printer not really designed to print or copy more than 200 to 300 pages each month; hence, its inherently low-volume. Be forewarned that using the Officejet 250 Mobile as an everyday printer/copier can get expensive.

Features at a Glance

As mentioned earlier, this is a remarkable device. Here is a list of its more prominent features.

  • Print, scan, copy
  • Wi-Fi, USB, Wireless Direct, HP Auto Wireless Connect connectivity
  • 10-page automatic document feature
  • Monthly duty cycle 500 pages
  • Charge on battery or USB
  • 2.7-inch touch display
  • USB thumb drive port
  • Borderless printing up to 5 x 7 inches

As well as a few other less significant options.

The End

Yes, this printer is a lot of money for something that may not get used more than a few times a month, and perhaps some months not at all. Only you know what you would use it for, and therefore only you know if the Officejet 250 Mobile will, after you factor in the purchase price and the price of using it day-in and day-out, pay for itself.

And I don’t mean pay for itself in the sense that you’ll save money using it over another similar product. That won’t happen; all of the mobile printers on the market have expensive ink. In fact, currently, HP’s cartridges are cheaper on a per-page basis than those for Canon’s Pixma iP110 Mobile Inkjet Printer and Epson’s WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer, with CPPs of 9.5 cents for black-and-white pages and a whopping 54.5 color, and 8 cents monochrome and 16 cents color, respectively.

Granted, printing and copying with the Officejet 250 Mobile isn’t cheap, but again it is the cheapest among mobile printers, which is saying something. The applications for this type of printer abound, though, if you think of all the different scenarios, travelers who could benefit from the ability to make a copy, print a receipt, or scan a document to the cloud, while traveling. The real question is, how often would you use it, and would you use it often enough to justify the investment.

Again, only you know whether these mostly intangible considerations are worth the expense, but if a mobile printer is in your future, you can spend an additional $70 or so for the ability to scan and copy too, which, depending on your application, could indeed come in handy.

Buy the Officejet 250 All-in-One Mobile Printer at Amazon