PocketJet 200 Portable Thermal Printer for PDAs and PCs by Lisa
Gade, Editor in Chief, posted
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 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.
Above: the Pentax PocketJet
200 printer and the iPAQ 2215 side-by-side for size comarision.
Below: package contents.
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
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.
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.