Hands-On Test Report: HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer–Good Things Do Come in Small Packages

HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer as tested.

Because small size is required in a portable or mobile printer, ink-jet imaging lends itself very well. In contrast, with toner-based laser or LED-array printing technology, you need a box (printer) large enough to contain developing units (four of them if it’s a color printer), fuser unit, electronics, power supply, motors, gears, etc. With an ink-jet printer, you just need space for four ink cartridges and space for the print heads to “park” and clean themselves. The size advantage of ink-jet is quite clear with Hewlett-Packard’s just-introduced Officejet 100 Mobile Printer ($279.00). Recently, HP shipped us a test unit, and we were able to obtain an exclusive first look at this very portable color ink-jet printer. Our testing showed that its performance may surprise you.

The first thing you’ll want to know is that you can print on up to 8.5”x11” (A4)—many portable printers are limited to printing only on photo sizes (typically up to 4”x6”). The second thing is that, yes, it’s definitely small and compact (3.2″x13.6″x6.7″) and lightweight (5.5 lbs. with battery), folds up for easy carrying, and nothing protrudes from the printer that could catch on something when you’re transporting it. Two other critical factors for a portable printer are power-supply provisions and connectivity:

The rechargeable battery is removable so you can keep a spare on hand. The AC adapter is the same as most HP laptop PCs.

  • The Officejet 100 Mobile Printer can be powered via standard AC power cord, as well as a standard Lithium-ion battery, the latter of which is rated for printing up to 500 pages. Of note is that you can recharge the Lithium-ion battery even when it’s still partially charged (you don’t have to wait until the battery is completely discharged before recharging it—a big plus in our opinion).
  • Print via: 1) Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity from any Bluetooth-enabled device (notebooks, desktop PCs, and select mobile devices—including BlackBerry and Windows Mobile mobile phones); 3) direct USB connection; and 4) PictBridge/USB port for printing from PictBridge-compatible digital cameras. We would though like the ability to print via WiFi printing apps such as HP’s iPrint Photo app and Apple’s AirPrint for iOS 4.x, and/or similar apps for other platforms such as Android.