What is a Mobile Printer?

Mary Elizabeth
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.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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