July 29, 2010 - Here's a selection of the top mobile printers available today, based on their specs and features relative to different mobile printing needs.
Although this printer was released in early 2008, it is still one of the best-selling and highest-rated mobile printers on the market. It has a very high print resolution, can print a borderless 4" x 6" photos in under a minute, offers automatic duplexing, and can print a book (or 290 pages of a book) in one charge of its optional battery. Reviewers all around rate the iP100's print quality as excellent. Car power adapter and bluetooth connectivity, however, are optional and there is no wi-fi adapter.
- Dimensions when closed: 12.7" x 7.2" x 2.4"
- Weight: 4.4 lbs.
- Max print resolution: 9600 x 2400 dpi
- Print speed: 20 ppm black; 14 ppm color
- MSRP: $249.99
- Release Date: April 2008
The HP Officejet H470 was billed as the world's fastest mobile printer, based on rated speeds as of July 2007. In addition to the high print speed rating of up to 22 pages per minute, the H470 has a sleek design, 50-sheet paper feeder, and more connectivity options than the iP100 (multimedia card reader and optional wi-fi). Other optional upgrades include an auto power adapter and bluetooth. (Note: the H470 wasn't well-rated on About's Printers/Scanners site, and reviews elsewhere are less positive than for the iP100, but if you need the other connectivity options, the H470 may be a better choice for you. Small Portable Printer has a comparison of the HP H470 vs. the iP 100 if you need more help deciding.)
- Dimensions when closed: 13.4" x 6.45" x 3.25"
- Weight: 4.5 lbs. without battery
- Max print resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
- Print speed: 22 ppm black; 18 ppm color
- MSRP: $249.99
- Release Date: January 2008
Formerly known as the Pentax PocketJet 3 Plus, this is one of the most portable mobile printers, weighing just over 1 pound with battery and about the size of a few stacked rulers. Although it doesn't require any ink cartridges, this manual feed thermal printer does requires special thermal paper and can only print in black and white. It has an expensive list price, but because it doesn't require ink cartridges, may have a lower cost-per-page. The small size is practical for daily in-the-field use.
- Dimensions when closed: 10.04" x 2.17" x 1.18"
- Weight: 1.12 lbs. with battery
- Max print resolution: 300 dpi
- Print speed: 3 ppm black
- MSRP: $529.00
- Release Date: September 2009
A more recent version of the HP A626 Compact Photo Printer (which was rated well by About's Guide to Printers/Scanners), the Photosmart A646 offers a large 3.45" touchscreen; on-board photo editing; and printing directly from memory cards, USB, bluetooth devices, or cameras with PictBridge. It's also one of the few compact photo printers that can print photos larger than 4" x 6" -- the A646 can print panoramas and 5" x 7" photos. Battery and other chargers/accessories are optional.
- Dimensions when closed: 9.92" x 4.61" x 5.28"
- Weight: 2.37 lbs. with battery
- Max print resolution: dpi
- Print speed: as fast as 28 seconds
- MSRP: $149.00
There's really no multifunction or all-in-one mobile printer as of this writing. The Epson Artisan 710 has a relatively compact form as far as all-in-one printers go, but at 21 pounds it also weighs as much as some toddlers and is not actually billed as a mobile printer. Still, the Artisan 710 was the only somewhat portable printer I found that could also scan, copy, and multi-function in other ways (print onto discs, print from iPhone app, wi-fi built in, etc.). Because it's less portable than true mobile printers, the Artisan 710 may be ideal for the home office user who may occasionally want to use the printer at another location (e.g., vacation home).
- Dimensions when closed: 17.6" x 18.0" x 5.9"
- Weight: 21.4 lbs.
- Max print resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
- Print speed: 9.5ppm black; 9ppm color
- MSRP: $179.99
- Release Date: August 2009