HP's Officejet 100 Mobile Printer is a thermal Inkjet A4 printer that lets users print documents wherever they are – if they're prepared to carry the 2.5kg (5.5lbs) device around.
HP says the Officejet 100, launched in April, can print 500 pages on a single battery charge, and that the black (HP 337) and all-in-one colour (HP 343) cartridges (costing about £40 for the pair) will last for 400 and 330 pages respectively.
The Officejet 100 is about £210 + VAT, but the cartridges need to be bought separately, putting the actual price of the printer at £250 + VAT.
We found it easy to install the printer to print both over Bluetooth connections and directly from USB (using a Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 Slate PC and a Dell Optiplex 980 desktop system, respectively). Both wizard-guided Bluetooth and USB installs took about eight minutes, including a test page print.
Users with supported BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices can also opt to install HP's printer software.
On desktop PCs, the printer driver file will occupy 700MB on your computer. Users are given the option to install a Bing search bar, an HP printer supplies application, and an HP document imaging application.
After that, load up the feeder tray (max. 50 sheets), open the bottom panel to let the print copy come through, and you're ready to print.
Using the Officejet 100 is simple because there's only four top-panel buttons to deal with: the on/off switch, one for turning on Bluetooth, and the cancel and resume buttons to deal with errant print jobs (see picture).
The LEDs on the system inform users when the battery is charging, the status of the black and colour cartridges, and of the power on/off status, and the Bluetooth on/off status.
You can check battery life and inkjet cartridge ink levels on the Officejet 100 through HP's mobile Bluetooth software toolbox.
But the status information for these is not accessed with one click. Instead this status information is in two different places in the toolbox. You have to click on the information tab and then on a battery power radio button.
We initially had problems printing a document over the Bluetooth connection. Our nine-page test document was a standard Office 2010 Word document with text and inline images.
But the document did not print properly – the last three pages printed twice or three times and the first six pages didn't print at all. We reinstalled the drivers and other software for the Officejet 100 which cured this and we had no further problems.
The Officejet 100 weighs 2.5kg (with the battery) and measures 348 x 175 x 84mm. The power connection and USB 2.0 male and female connections are located at the back.
The processor inside the Officejet 100 runs at 220MHz and has system memory of 64MB.
Operating system support for printing to the Officejet 100 is comprehensive and includes 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista, 32-bit versions of Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 being supported.
Mac OS X v10.5 or higher, Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.x for Pocket PC, and various distributions of Linux are also supported.
The printer has a 50-sheet input tray, and the 2.1Ah (22.7Wh) lithium ion battery has power enough for printing 500 pages, according to HP. Duplex printing is possible, but only manually.
Available accessories, which can be purchased separately, include a spare mobile printer battery, a printer and notebook case, and a four-wheel roller case.
As well as Bluetooth and standard USB connections, the Officejet 100 also supports the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) PictBridge industry standard for printing direct from digital cameras connected by USB to the printer.
Performance and battery life
HP's claimed figure for the number of pages it can print running off the battery is 500 pages, which is also the recommended maximum number of pages per month.
The lifetime HP gives for the black and colour print cartridges is 400 and 330 pages respectively (see picture).
HP’s speed claim for normal colour printing (equivalent to laser printer quality) is "up to 3.5 pages per minute (ppm)", and for normal black-only documents, "up to 5ppm".
We recorded 3.75ppm and 5.4ppm for colour and black-only documents.
You can stop the printer turning itself off using the software toolbox. The printer stays on for five minutes by default, so we set it to "never" turn off to check how long the battery would last if the printer was continually in use.
We then printed several documents to see how much power the battery used up while printing them. Using this test setup, the battery lasted just over five hours.
During this time we printed 74 pages, although we weren't printing pages continuously. We calculated that if we had been printing continuously, we could have printed 200 pages.
We were printing documents with inline images, so just printing straight black-only documents would give a higher figure.
The ink levels in the black and colour cartridges dropped to 85 and 90 per cent respectively after we had printed 74 pages. This would give a potential inkjet cartridge life of about 500 pages using the black cartridge, well above the claimed figure of 400 pages.
However, users printing medium-to-high-resolution photo images will soon find both colour and black cartridge levels dropping steeply.
Printing an extra 13 pages, including high-resolution images on photo quality paper dropped the colour inkjet cartridge to 54 per cent capacity, with the black cartridge dropping to 78 per cent.
The print quality we saw using the Officejet 100 was good, in both standard black-only documents and high-resolution photo images, although inkjet cartridge life drops alarmingly if those are printed.
For people who want to print documents on the move or locally while in areas with no printers or local print services, the Officejet 100 could be the answer, although it does weigh 2.5kg, so you might think twice about carrying it about.
The print quality is good. Inkjet cartridges are not included with the printer and need to be purchased separately.
The Lithium ion battery should give enough power for a decent amount of printed pages – certainly above 200, if users don't print high-resolution photo images exclusively.