- Rechargeable battery.
- 50-sheet input tray.
- Output quality worthy of a desktop inkjet.
- No Wi-Fi.
- Relatively slow.
- Heavier than many notebooks.
In the world of portable printers, the HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer stands out for its output quality and its high-yield cartridges that let you print a fair number of pages without running out of ink.
Portable printers in general fall into two broad categories. On the one hand are printers that focus primarily on portability. These printers typically use thermal print engines that need special paper, they print in mono only, and they don’t have input trays, so you have to feed pages manually, one at time.
In contrast, printers like the Officejet 100—are basically desktop inkjets shoehorned into a small enough case to make them portable. Printers in this category aren’t as small or lightweight as the printers in the first category, but they print in color as well as monochrome, they use standard paper, and they offer far better output quality, even for monochrome text. They also tend to have input trays, like the 50-page tray on the Officejet 100.
Like the H470 before it, the Officejet 100 is a little bigger and heavier than some laptops. In fact, it’s a touch bigger and heavier than the H470 as well, at 3.3 by 13.7 by 6.9 inches (HWD) and 5.1 pounds by itself or 5.5 pounds with its rechargeable battery. Unlike the H470, the Officejet 100 is available in only one model, with the battery and built-in Bluetooth included.
Note that HP says the battery can print 500 pages on a single charge, which is a lot when you consider that 500 pages is also the printer’s maximum monthly duty cycle—the maximum it’s designed to print in a month without damage. Having a freshly charged battery, in short, means you should usually be able to do without the power adaptor when you take the printer with you. Also worth mention is the rated cartridge yield, at 500 pages for the high-yield black cartridge and 560 pages for the high yield tri-color cartridge.
Two features that HP left out of the printer are WiFi, which was an option on the H470 but isn’t available for the Officejet 100 at all, and the ability to print from memory cards. There is a PictBridge port for a camera, but it’s in the back of the printer, next to the USB port, where it’s a little inconvenient to get at.
Connecting and setting up the Officejet 100 on a Windows 10 system using a USB connection was standard fare. On our business applications suite (timed with QualityLogic’s hardware and software, www.qualitylogic.com), the printer came in at only 1.8 pages per minute (ppm), a match for the H470, but noticeably slower than most inkjets, whether portable or not
The HP printer’s photo speed was also notably slow. When I swapped out the black cartridge for a photo cartridge and six-color printing, I timed it at an average of 3 minutes 8 seconds for a 4 by 6. Leaving the black cartridge in for four-color printing was almost as slow, at 2:51. The Canon printer took only 1:45.
Output quality counts as one of the printer’s strong points, with above par quality overall. Text quality is at least a match for the vast majority of inkjets, and better than most. It doesn’t offer the kind of crisp edges you’d expect from a laser, but unless you have an unusual need for small fonts, you shouldn’t have any complaints.
Graphics quality is par for an inkjet, which makes it easily good enough for any internal business use. It’s even good enough for output going to important clients or customers, as long as you aren’t printing thin lines, which had a tendency not to print in my tests.
When I used the photo cartridge, the photos were among the best available from any letter-size inkjet and a bit better than I’d expect from typical drugstore prints. When I used the black cartridge instead, colors were a little oversaturated, putting the quality more in the range of drugstore prints, but still qualifying as true photo quality.
Ultimately, if this is the category of portable printer you need, you have to choose between the Officejet 100 and the Canon iP100. Either printer is well worth considering, but make sure to pick the one that best matches your needs. The HP printer loses out to the Canon iP100 on speed, but it offers slightly better output quality, much higher capacity cartridges, and longer battery life.