What is a Mobile Printer?

Mary Elizabeth

A computer printer is a large, sturdy piece of office equipment that connects to a computer via SCSI cable, USB 2.0 cable, Ethernet cable, or wirelessly. Computer printers may be laser printers, ink jet printers, or daisy wheel and use a variety of types of ink cartridge and/or toner. They may print using black ink or be capable of color printing, and have feed trays that can often hold a ream of paper or more. A mobile printer is an adaptation of the computer printer to a portable format for people who have to be able to take their office on the road.

Printers may be connected to a computer via a port or wirelessly.
Printers may be connected to a computer via a port or wirelessly.

A mobile printer can be useful to a person who works in customers' homes, like a contractor, or to students, office workers who travel, real estate agents, police officers, or emergency medical technicians. Capable of connecting to computers, handheld Bluetooth®-enabled devices, and even digital cameras, a mobile printer can be used to make a copy of a variety of documents.

A mobile printer can immediately be recognized by its size and weight. Whereas a Xerox® Phaser® 8560 Color Printer, for example, is 16 x 21 x 14.5 inches (406 x 533 x 368 mm) and weighs 60 pounds (28 kg), the PrintStik® — billed as “the world’s smallest mobile printer by the manufacturer, Planon® — is 1 x 2 x 11 inches (25.4 x 50.8 x 279.4 mm) and weighs under .14 pounds (less than 60 g).

Full-size computer printers draw power from an electrical outlet. Mobile printers may use power adapter or a lithium polymer battery. They may use a wired, USB, or Bluetooth® connection. Various models of mobile printer use cartridges with black ink only, or with four or five colors to print full-color.

While 300 x 300 dpi (dots per inch) text is fairly standard for a mobile printer, one can find a mobile printer capable of 9600 x 2400 dpi maximum resolution with photo lab quality 4 x 6 inch (10 x 15 cm) borderless prints. Mobile printers can attain speeds up to 23 pages per minute for black and 16 pages per minute color, at least with the Hewlett Packard® Officejet H470 Mobile Printer Color Ink-jet Printer, which the manufacturer claims is the fastest available. Three pages per minute may be more typical.

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