I largely eliminate the need for printing documents by using electronic signature apps on one of my various tablet computers. The camera on my Android phone is a great receipt scanner, though a sheet feed scanner works better for documents. Still, there are times when I’ve wished for both a printer and a scanner while traveling. For millions of people who pull together documents on location, this is probably even more crucial. Plenty of portable document scanners exist, but what about copying and printing? Those are two functions not known for portability.
HP addresses the lack of all-in-one portability with the Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One. HP previously offered Deskjet products for mobile printing, but the Officejet 150 is definitely first of its kind from HP. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time any of the major printer manufacturers is offering a device that prints, scans, and copies all on battery power.
How Portable is the Officejet 150?
If you’re thinking portable like an Ultrabook, you may be disappointed with the size of the Officejet 150. It weighs approximately 6.5 pounds, not counting the ream of paper you would need for any serious paperwork. I do demonstrate picking it up in the video below. The physical dimensions are roughly 14 inches, by 7 inches by 3.52 inches or only slightly larger than any book by Neal Stephenson.
If you travel by car, that’s easy to fit with your mobile work gear. For air travel, you better really need to print to justify the added bulk. Still, it’s a huge improvement over any comparable alternative. If you factor in the alternative, which is bringing both a portable scanner and a portable printer, the form factor is definitely more attractive.
Does Portability Sacrifice Performance?
While you can certainly find desktop printers with more speed, 22 pages per minute of black-and-white or 18 pages per minute of color is certainly respectable. Scanning is 1.7 pages per minute black-and-white or 1 page of color, which is slower than many scanners. Also, scanning is limited to 600dpi, though for document scanning that’s sufficient. I suppose I should also point out that this is a sheet feed scanner, not a flatbed. The scanner can scan to your computer, a USB drive, or to email.
Completely Wireless Printing
If your laptop has Bluetooth, you can leave the USB cable at home and print wirelessly. Some older Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices will also work for Bluetooth printing. Airprint support is not included. This is probably the biggest shortcoming of the device.
A full battery charge is supposed to last for 500 pages of duty, which I haven’t tested. The key thing is you can get a fair number of pages printed without needing to find AC power. I can’t find a spec on whether that duty is printing only or if it includes scanning as well.
Other Features of the Officejet 150
The Officejet 150 includes a 2.36-inch touchscreen, which allows you to adjust settings and choose functions. Support for printing or copying from SD cards and USB drives is supported, in addition to connecting to a printer. HP was kind enough to use a common power supply that works with many of their laptops, so if you also own an HP laptop, you might get by packing only one power cord. According to HP, a single HP 98 black ink cartridge will print 440 pages (the battery lasts longer) while the color HP 95 cartridge will print about 330 pages. I don’t print that much in an entire year, so I’ll have to take their word for it.
If you rarely print while traveling, spending the money for the hotel business center or finding a FedEx location probably makes more sense, unless you happen to scan many papers on the road. If you print and scan often during your trips, the Officejet 150 is the most portable solution I’ve used. You won’t be bringing it out while in the air, but it would easily work in a hotel room or from your car on a job site. This is definitely a device where you are paying for convenience, but if you need mobility and the convenience of an office, the Officejet 150 gives you both.