Hands-On Test: Add Mobile Printing to Virtually any PCL Printer or MFP with Mobile Printing Hub
Unboxing and Installation (Cont.)
Connect a Printer
- Find a suitable candidate – a PCL printer or MFP that lacks mobile or network access.
- Ensure that the printer or MFP is on the list of compatible printers.
- If networking is available, disable it in Printer Settings. Note that some network printers automatically switch to a USB connection when it’s detected, and this step may not be necessary.
- Power-down the printer and disconnect the USB cable.
- Power-up the Mobile Print Hub. You can use the included AC adapter or power the unit from the printer’s USB convenience port if available.
- Connect the MPH to the printer via the included USB cable.
- Power-up the printer.
- A pair of steadily lit LEDs confirms successful connection.
We connected the MPH to four printers:
- Epson WorkForce WF-7520 (ESC/P) – Although it was listed as a supported printer, MPH would not establish a connection to it (we were told us that there is a fix in the works for this).
- HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer (PCL3 GUI) – Because it only features Bluetooth wireless connectivity (no Wi-Fi), this portable printer is a perfect match for a dedicated MPH unit and connected easily. However, it only printed PDF error pages. However, keep in mind that that this printer uses an old version of the PCL3 printer language and is not on the list of supported printers.
- HP Deskjet 1010 (PCL3 GUI) – Even though HP is not even on the list of supported printers, the MPH worked within seconds with this basic printer.
- HP Deskjet 3540 Series – The MPH worked within seconds with this modern printer that incorporates the latest mobile- and remote communications standards.
Install the App
As stated, the MPH is compatible with both Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. Once connected, it will appear in the AirPrint-related menus of your iOS device. Since Android features and functions are a bit more involved, the following describes its functions via the MPH Android app. Note that once the MPH app is installed, it automatically appears in applicable Android print and share options.
Download and install the MPH App from the Google Play Store.
Connect to a Printer
Left – Use the MPH app to connect to the printer via NFC Tap-to-Print or QR Code reader. From the main screen, select “Status/Settings” or “Printing,” and you’re prompted to connect to a device. Note that the “Update Printer List” (search for printers) function is only available with the Enterprise Version. Center – Touch your mobile device against the MPH unit to connect via NFC. For mobile devices that do not support NFC, use the built-in camera-based QR Code reader to connect. Note that “Search Device” is only available with the MPH Enterprise Version. Right – Once connected, the MPH automatically determines the printer make, model, and language.
Print a PDF or JPEG File
Left – Once you are connected to an MPH-equipped printer, the File Explorer windows opens when you select the “Printing” option. Browse with the navigation buttons to locate the PDF or JPEG file that you wish to print. With the Enterprise Version of MPH, you can also print Microsoft Office files. Center – Your selected document loads into the Printing Module that has “Print,” Print Setting,” “Page Back” and “Page Forward” icons arrayed across the top. Right – The Printing Selection module allows you to select a print quantity, a range of pages, A4, Letter or B5 paper sizes, and color or black-and-white print modes. Note that there are no options to select a media tray other than the default tray, nor to select duplex printing. or photo papers – something that most built-in mobile-printing solutions offer.
In our tests, the MPH was easy to install and use, and while the mobile app only offers a basic feature set, it performed admirably and was able to correctly identify the printers/print language that we connected it to. Aside from the issues that we encountered with several “rare” printers (printers not sold in great volumes compared to other printers), we discovered several weaknesses, many of which are minor, however, when viewed in the overall picture of the solution:
- No support for automatic duplex printing.
- No support for printing on photo media.
- Limited media-size support
- No support for alternate media trays.
- No user authentication or print tracking.
There’s no doubt that the MPH is easy to install and use, and if your livelihood involves mobile printing from a variety of disparate printers, this is a notable solution to a vexing issue. Keep in mind however that, in spite of claims, we found that the MPH did not work with every “PCL” printer we tried (even those on the list of supported printers), so that if you are investing in this product primarily for use with known printers for critical applications, you may end disappointed in spite of your research (we suggest that you check the list of supported printers here). For example, HP, which has has sold more PCL-compabile printers than anybody, is not even included on the list of supported printers, while most of the Epson printers that are supported are not equipped with the PCL printer language.
Nevertheless, if you wish to upgrade an existing printer with contemporary wireless printing features, or are a road warrior with mission-critical printing requirements at a variety of disparate locations, the compact and portable MPH is a worthy addition to your tool bag.
Teco Image Systems (TIS) Co., Ltd.
2F, 1568-1 Chung Shan Road, Sec. 1,
Kuang-In, Taoyuan Hsien, Taiwan ROC
Phone: +886 3 473 3112
Fax: +886 3 473 3613
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