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Released in 2010, Canon’s PIXMA iP110 remains the industry standard for what a mobile printer should be. In fact, its age hardly holds it back and it has a feature set that’s still standard even in today’s printing world, all in a package that’s just 4.3 pounds and 7.3 x 12.7 x 2.5 inches. Capable of printing photos as well as 8.5 x 11-inch documents, the PIXMA is the perfect printing companion for life on the road. The optional battery makes it even more portable, allowing the PIXMA to go anywhere with enough battery life for 240 prints wirelessly or 290 sheets while connected to a PC.
Overall, the 50-sheet capacity is low for a standard desktop-sized printer, but for a printer that’s designed to be ultra-portable, it’s more than enough. The included cartridges are rated by Canon as capable of printing 191 black and white pages with color prints rated at 249 pages. However, if you’re printing in full color regularly that page count will drop quickly. Beyond printing itself, the PIXMA can connect wirelessly (802.11b/g) to Apple’s AirPrint for direct printing from all iOS devices, as well as on Android and a slew of online cloud services with a download of Canon’s PRINT application. Ultimately, Canon still hasn’t let age show with the PIXMA. It was built to be the ultimate portable printer and that’s a claim that’s still holding up.
You may want to familiarize yourself with a mobile printer's features before you buy a product.
If you’re looking for the most feature-rich portable printer money can buy, the HP OfficeJet 250 is your best bet. While its price tag might cause you to do a double take, the OfficeJet 250 is portable printing whenever you need it. Just stick it into a backpack or suitcase and you’re ready for on-the-go prints. Beyond printing, the OfficeJet 250 takes the portable printer feature set to another level with all-in-one features such as scanning and faxing in package that’s just 6.5 pounds and 7.8 x 15 x 3.6 inches. Even with a small size, the OfficeJet 250 delivers added portability with a battery for up to 500 prints when disconnected from a power outlet and a two-inch high-resolution display for selecting the appropriate-sized print.
The HP has a 10-page automatic document feeder and 50-sheet capacity that produces both letter and legal-sized prints up to 8.5 x 14 inches. The included black cartridge is capable of 200 pages and the tri-color cartridge lasts for around 165 pages before requiring new ink. HP also sells a separately purchased XL version of the OfficeJet 250 ink cartridges bumping the page results to 600 and 415 pages, respectively. With added features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, printing from a smartphone or laptop is easy courtesy of HP’s native ePrint app available for both Android and iOS.
Geared toward smartphone snappers, the Canon SELPHY CP1300 might be mistaken as anything other than a printer. Under two pounds and small enough to easily pack into a bag or luggage, the portable, wireless device can print high-quality photos — up to 4 x 6 inches in size — on the go at a competitive per-print cost. The SELPHY CP1300 has a 3.2-inch LCD screen and lets you print using AirPrint, a USB card, or the Canon Print app on your smartphone or tablet. Thermal dye-sublimation, a type of printing technology, results in sharp, dynamic, water-resistant photos that can last up to 100 years.
The printer is designed to not just help you remember the party but to be a part of it as well. You can use photo booth mode to get two strips of four photos each, opt to print on sticker paper, and even have all of your friends send photos to the SELPHY CP1300 to create a group collage.
Like the Canon, Epson’s WorkForce WF-100 was released a few years ago, but has continued to outshine the competition as an excellent wireless mobile printer. At just 12.2 x 6.1 x 2.4 inches and 3.5 pounds, it’s as lightweight as the Canon, though slightly larger overall. Size aside, the Epson is capable of printing directly from a PC, as well as iOS and Android devices through Wi-Fi connectivity. Printing itself offers both black ink and color cartridges with a rating of 250 and 200 pages, respectively, which is more than enough for printing out the latest invoices, contracts or spreadsheets that might be required on-the-go.
When it comes to true portability, the 20-sheet capacity can handle life on the road by printing 100 black and white pages (and 50 color pages) while operating strictly on the battery. Prior to printing, the Epson requires a brief setup run-through via the small 1.4-inch color LCD display. It’s less than ideal sizing for a desktop printer, but, for a printer built for portability, the LCD display assists with all the necessary functionality.
It wasn’t all that long ago that all-in-one printers were expensive, often cumbersome devices. But today, you can get a fully functional printer that you can toss into a backpack for well under $100. If you're looking for major bang for your buck, you'll want to check out the HP ENVY 5540.
This all-in-one model allows you to scan, fax and print standard business documents, plus full-bleed 4x6-inch photos. HP offers their standard easy setup, a Wi-Fi-direct option for seamless printing and even a quiet mode should you be printing somewhere in public. It can hold up to 125 standard sheets, and it can print up to 12 pages per minute in black and white and 8 pages per minute in color. Simple HP Smart App connectivity allows you to adjust document layout on your phone, scan documents using your smartphone's camera and more. Plus, the versatile device is only 17.5 inches wide and 14.5 inches deep.
At 5.1-pounds and measuring 15.86 x 6.97 x 5.55 inches, the HP DeskJet 3755 won’t feel as mobile as our overall winners, but its positioning by HP as an ultra-compact all-in-one is worth noting. Far smaller than most traditional desktop printers, the HP won’t fit comfortably into a backpack, but if you’re on a road trip and want something powerful without compromise, the 3755 is perfect for sticking into your car, setting up at a hotel or coffee shop and printing before that big meeting. Additionally, printing using a smartphone or tablet is offered through a variety of methods, including Wi-Fi, HP’s reprint app and Wireless Direct, which offers a direct connection to the printer in the absence of any Wi-Fi signal.
If its size doesn’t win you over, it’s 50 percent savings on traditional ink costs just might. An optional subscription even allows your printer to detect when it’s low on ink and place a new order before you run out altogether. Setup out of the box is a snap, too. Just pull the printer out, power it on, connect to a device and print away. As for prints itself, the 3755 offers a respectable eight pages per minute for black and white prints, as well as 5.5 pages per minute for color copies.
Photo printing quality - Are you primarily planning to print pictures? If so, you’ll likely want an inkjet printer (as opposed to a laser printer) to ensure the highest degree of detail in your photos. (Bonus: if those photos will be standard 4-by-6-inch shots, then you probably don’t need a full-sized printer, either — which means it’ll be even more mobile.)
Speed - When you’re downsizing your printer, you might need to make some sacrifices when it comes to speed. As opposed to full-sized printers, which can score you up to 50 pages per minute, mobile printers hover around five pages per minute for color and eight pages per minute for black and white.
Connectivity - Mobile printers don’t make much sense if they need to be wired to a computer or smartphone to print. Look for a printer that can connect to your devices via WiFi or Bluetooth.