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How to Choose a Portable Printer

How to Choose a Portable Printer

Portable printers are high on convenience and versatility. Here are a few tips on choosing one best suited to your needs.
Rita Putatunda
This is an age when people are constantly on the move. Our schedule can be called up at the touch of a fingertip, we carry our email in our hands, and, of course, we have our cell phones stuck in our ears all the time. Hence, it is no surprise that an increasing number of gadgets that were once confined to the office are being designed these days to be able to move with us. A prime example being the portable printer.

Designed to be compact and streamlined to be efficient, you can take the printer wherever you go, providing you the ability of printing important documents immediately, whenever you need to, regardless of wherever you may be at the time. Of course, business travelers find the portable printer the most advantageous since they can take printouts of their documents through their laptop from anywhere, whether in a hotel room or in an airplane. Most of them find this convenience priceless because it gives them the ability of maximizing their use of time.

Advantages and Uses

Apart from being high on functionality and efficiency, portable printers, in general, weigh below five pounds, which makes them easy to carry. Many of them don't even need an electric source of power, being operable through a car adapter, AC adapter, or NiMH, NiCd, or Lithium Ion batteries. In addition, most can be set up to function as a home/office printer too. Plus, they are high on speed and quality as well, delivering print quality that is as good as desktop printers.

When taken on a business trip, they can be used to print the following:
  • Photographs of real-estate properties or products that can be given to clients.
  • Webpages that can be shared with colleagues during meetings.
  • Presentations made in PowerPoint as a backup―this comes in particularly useful if you happen to amend your presentation while traveling.
  • Boarding passes of the airplane you are traveling by.
  • You can even printout contracts.
  • Driving directions taken from a mapping website online.
Choosing a Portable Printer

When it comes to choosing a portable printer, most major printer companies make them these days. Whether it is Canon, HP, Brother, or any of the other well-known brands, most offer a wide selection of these printers. There are printers that have the ability of just handling documents in black-and-white, or full color, or images that are of photographic quality, or even those that can produce high-definition laser output.

Of course, your exact requirements will help you to decide on the right model. For example, what kind of printing will you need to do? Will you require color printouts or not? Will the quality of the printing be an important factor? And, what will be the volume of your printing?

Inkjet Printers
Amongst all the types, this is considered the most versatile. It can be used to print text, photographs, and graphics. The quality and accuracy is mainly dependent on the dpi, or dots per inch. The more the dots per inch, the better the quality, in terms of the sharpness of the graphics or text, and the colors and shades in photos.

However, the dpi can vary according to the kind of ink used, as well as the fonts, shading, and colors. You will need to check out the quality yourself, which is best done by asking a reputable dealer to provide a demonstration. Inkjet printers use different kinds of paper according to whatever task needs to be done, and the type of paper used can influence the quality of the printing. For example, photographic paper will be required for printing photographs, and heavier bond will be used for printing business letters than required for reports or other documents.

Laser Printers
If you have to make frequent presentations which require several hundred pages to be printed, a portable laser printer would be a better choice, particularly for black-and-white printouts. While the initial expense may be about $700.00, laser printers use toners that are long-lasting, rather than ink cartridges, which are expensive. Hence, if you require making high-volume printing while on the move, a portable laser printer will prove to be less costly in the end.

Thermal Printers
In case all you require to print are receipts and invoices, perhaps a thermal printer would suit your needs. Originally, fax machines used this method of print transfer, although they later switched over to toner and plain paper, since thermal paper is expensive. If you do choose this printer, it is a good idea to locate a good supplier and make sparing use of the paper. Typically, thermal printers are less expensive compared to other printers since they do not use ink or toner.

There are really light hybrid thermal printers that can work with laptops, PDAs, and smartphones, which are just 0.70 inches in thickness, weighing less than ten ounces, and being capable of producing up to 4 ppm at 300 dpi.

Like many products available in the market these days, portable printers are merely another example of the ever-growing tendency for items that are high in convenience and versatility, which are promising to radically change the traditional work environment.