PlanOn PRINTSTIK Review

by SarahM Reads (8,428)

by Sarah Meyer

Ever wonder what the world’s smallest printer would look like and how it would perform?  Well, we have the answer to your musings with our review of PlanOn’s new Printstik mobile printer.

Ok, so the claim that the Printstik is the "world’ smallest" is PlanOn’s, not ours, but it does weigh in at less than 2 lbs.  We also tested its performance … care to know more?


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PRINTSTIK (PS910) Specifications:

  • Resolution: Approx. 200×100 dpi, 200×200 dpi, 200×400 dpi
  • Direct thermal printing
  • Paper: 8.5" wide, 20 pages per roll
  • Power supply: AC – 100-240 VAC, 50 or 60 Hz with adapter; DC – 12/24 VDC from Auto lighter socket
  • USB system requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Blackberry
  • Bluetooth system requirements: Stereo Bluetooth v2.0 (A2DP)
  • Connections: Mini-USB port, Bluetooth, Rechargeable Lithium-ion Polymer battery
  • Depth: 1.9 inches
  • Height: 1 inches
  • Width: 10.75 inches
  • Weight: about 1.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 90-day limited warranty
  • Included in the box: PRINTSTIK printer, AC power adapter (100v-240v), retractable USB/mini-USB cable (about 46" long), travel case, quick-start guide, and installation CD.

Design and Build

The Printstik printer is definitely not your average printer.  Weighing in at less than 2 lbs. and small enough to fit in your average notebook case, it’s one of a kind, at least for now.  


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It seems solidly built, although I wouldn’t go dropping it on a hardwood floor, and is two-toned, silver and black being the color choices. The dimensions I gave earlier are when the Printstik is lying flat and that’s the position I will describe from.

The front of the Printstik has the PRINTSTIK label and the PlanOn logo.  There is a power button and a paper feed button in the top right-hand corner.  Next to the power and paper feed buttons, are the data stream, printing status and battery life indicators.


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On the left side, there is a mini-USB port and on the top, there is where the paper comes out. There is nothing on the right side or the bottom.

The back of the Printstik has the PRINTSTIK label and the PlanOn logo again as well as access to inside the printer to load a new paper cartridge.


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Printing Quality and Use

The Printstik comes with all the software it needs to work with a notebook or Blackberry.  It took about five minutes to install the Printstik driver and after that setup was a breeze.

I had no problem pairing the Printstik with my notebook and printing was as easy as choosing the Printstik from the drop down menu in the Print menu. 

I did not get to test the Printstik on a Blackberry, as no one in our office uses one and the Printstik can not pair with other smartphones at this time (we tried).  PlanOn does promise to have the Printstik compatible with other PDA’s in the near future.

The Printstik prints on thermal paper and is very small, so it’s not going to give you a glossy, bright ink finish. If you want that kind of result, you’ll have to give up the dream of mobility for now. 

Having said that, the Printstik does a fairly good job printing; there were no faded letters or smudges.  It moves quickly too, it took a little under three minutes to print out two pages of directions and a small map.  PlanOn quotes three pages in three minutes and I found that to be pretty accurate.

Bottom line, this is a good mobile printer if you need to print receipts, legal documents or  airline tickets while traveling.

It took the battery about 150 minutes to charge, although PlanOn quotes the time for a full charge to be around 180 minutes. According to PlanOn, you should get 30 pages per charge, but I couldn’t test that since the cartridge only comes with 20 pages.


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Conclusion

The Printstik is a great device and can be extremely useful depending on your needs.  True, you give up quality and quantity for mobility and size but for a road warrior, this could make sense.

The biggest problem I have with the Printstik is the $300 price tag. For less than what you would pay for a Printstik, you can get a normal sized printer with resolution of 4800 x 1200 dpi and can print up to 35 pages per minute (based on the specs of a HP Deskjet or HP Officejet Pro but there are multiple examples). Of course, a normal printer isn’t nearly as portable as this mobile printer.

Pros:

  • One-piece, easy to use unit
  • Bluetooth or USB
  • Rechargeable, portable
  • Thermal prints are easy to read

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Limited system compatibility (PC’s or Blackberry)
  • Paper cartridge refills expensive

Pricing and Availability

The PlanOn PRINTSTIK is priced at $299.99 and is available for purchase on the PlanOn website.




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