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Pentax PocketJet 200 Portable Thermal Printer for PDAs and PCs
by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief, posted July 2003

Road warriors who use PDAs rather than notebook computers on the road have found they can do most everything they need with a PDA. One sore point is the lack of portable printing solutions for PDAs. The Pentax PocketJet 200 portable printer comes to the rescue with good print quality, compatibility and portability. And it works with Windows notebooks too! The PocketJet 200 works with Pocket PCs, Palm OS PDAs, the RIM Blackberry and Psion (EPOC32) PDAs.

What’s in the box?

You'll get the PocketJet 200 printer, a removeable NiCAD rechargeable battery, charger/power supply, 100 sheets of Pentax paper, printed manual, driver CD, a form-fitted carry case for the printer and your choice of parallel, serial, IR or USB cables. If you need additional cables, you can purchase them separately for approximately $50 US. If you wish to use Bluetooth, you can purchase Anycom's Bluetooth Printer Adapter separately. The serial, USB and parallel cables are primarily for PCs, and the IR and Bluetooth solutions are for PDAs.

The Printer

The PocketJet 200 is a thermal printer, which means that you don't have to worry about toner or ink cartridges. You may be familiar with thermal printing since many fax machines use this technology. Rest assured that the Pentax print quality is superior to most thermal faxes, and Pentax thermal paper feels and looks like normal paper rather than the thin coated stuff used by some faxes.

The PocketJet 200 prints at 200 dpi, and text-based output looks truly good. Depending on the printing software you use, you'll be able to set print quality and specify fonts. While not gorgeous, image are printed at usuable quality. It prints text at a max speed of 3 pages per minute.

It measures 1.18" x 10.04" x 2.17" and weights 1.12 lbs. with battery. The PocketJet can print on letter, legal, A4 and roll paper. You must use thermal paper with this printer.

The recharageable, removeable NiCAD battery should last you 35 to 40 pages per charge, and that seems accurate. You can also plug the printer into AC when printing, and purchase additional batteries if you prefer to not bring the charger/power supply unit with you on the road.

 

Pentax PocketJet 200 and iPAQ 2215

Above: the Pentax PocketJet 200 printer and the iPAQ 2215 side-by-side for size comarision. Below: package contents.

Pentax PocketJet 200 kit

Installation

The driver CD contains demo versions of several different printing applications for PDAs as well as drivers for Windows 95/98/ME, NT 4, Windows 3.1 and 2000/XP. Since printing features and setup vary widely depending on the printer app you're using on your PDA, I won't go into details here. Instead I suggest you check out these applications yourself to learn about what they can do in detail.

For Pocket PCs, you get the following:

A. PrintPocketCE -- This application allows you to print PocketWord documents with Rich Text.

B. PocketClipPrint -- This application allows you to print any TEXT or GRAPHIC data that you can copy to your clipboard. This enables you to print PocketWord data, eMail, or any other data that your PocketPC applications can copy to the clipboard. Note, however, that Rich Text format is not maintained.

C. PocketShot -- This application allows you to print a "screen shot". This enables you to print data from the PocketPC that you cannot copy to the clipboard....such as Calendar and Contacts.

D. PocketPixPrint -- This application allows you to print Image files.

For general business use, I recommend PrintPocketCE from Field software highly. It supports printing via just about any connection method, including Bluetooth and IR. I tested printing to the Pentax using PrintPocketCE and the iPAQ 2215's built-in Bluetooth: it worked like a charm and was painless to setup.

Palm users get demo versions of the following:

1) InStep Print. This program supports Clipboard data, for both text and graphic data. Todo list printing will order the output based on the preferences selected in Todo applet. DateBook printing allows Day or Month views, where Day view allows a range of days, and Month view prints out a complete monthly calendar (in calendar style). It supports a variety of fonts.

2) StevensCreek PalmPrint. It supports both Serial and IR and supports Memo, Todo, and Clipboard, Mail, Address, Doc, and Expense. This program supports multiple fonts and font quality.

3) ISComplete IrPrint. It adds hooks to the built-in Palm applications. So, you can view and edit your memos, etc before printing them. This program does NOT support clipboard printing. It does support Documents to Go.

Unfortunately, Bachmann's PrintBoy Premium which is a very full featured print driver for Palm OS that supports Bluetooth, doesn't yet work with the PocketJet 200 (it does support the PocketJet II). Hence, it is not included.

RIM Blackberry and Psion

You'll get a demo of printing software for the Blackberry, and a full driver for Psion PDAs runing EPOC32 version 5.

Conclusion

The Pentax PocketJet 200 is a lightweight portable printer that can go just about anywhere. Since it's thermal and requires no ink or toner cartidges, you won't have to worry about carrying or finding replacements while on the road. Of course, you will need to have thermal printer paper handy. The paper path is very simple, and the unit never jammed on us. Print quality for text-based documents is quite good for a portable thermal unit. You can use the supplied AC adapter or buy extra batteries if you need to do a lot of printing on the road. The variety of connection methods should suit most anyone, and you can even get several printer cables if needed. What are the drawbacks? Of course it can't print as well as a top of the line laser printer. For the price, I would like to have seen at least one full version (rather than demo) of printer software for each PDA platform. You will have to select your favorite printer app and purchase it separately.

Price: $319
Web Site: Pentax

 

 

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