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PlanOn Printstik PS910 Mobile Printer Review

on September 15, 2008 9:40 pm

A typical gear list for a road warrior might include a laptop, mobile phone, digital camera, GPS, along with other bits and pieces. But one gadget that you don’t usually think of when it comes to everyday gear is a printer. That’s not surprising since printers tend to be way too bulky to carry around. Although I recently reviewed a portable photo printer, the Epson PictureMate Dash (PM 260), it seems that portable non-photo printers are a bit of a rarity. That’s why I was interested to try the Bluetooth enabled PrintStik from PlanOn with Bluetooth computers and smartphones.

Planon Printstik

PlanOn is the same company that brought us the tiny DocuPen RC800 color scanner. So, they know their stuff when it comes to portable electronics for the mobile professional.

Hardware Specifications

Printer Size: 1″ x 10.75″ x 1.5″
Weight: 1.5 lb. (.7K g) including paper cartridge
Print Resolution: Approx 200x100dpi, 200x200dpi, 200x400dpi
Print Speed: Up to 3 PPM
Print Method: Direct Thermal
Batterry Type: Lithium Polymer
Pages per Battery Charge: 30- wireless USB- 30>
Charge Time: 180 minutes to full charge
Pages per Paper Cartridge: 20
Connectivity: Bluetooth and USB 2.0

Planon Printstik

Package Contents

PrintStik
AC adapter/charger
Power cable
1 Cartridge of Paper
Driver CD
User Guide
Carrying Case,Battery


The PrintStik is very compact due to the fact that it is a thermal printer. Thermal printers do not use ink cartridges like ink jet printers. Instead, they use heat to print on special paper.

Planon Printstik

The body of the printer is made of Silver plastic and rubberized charcoal colored plastic.

Planon Printstik

On the Left side is a USB port for connecting to your computer for battery charging and printing, if you don’t have a Bluetooth enabled PC.

Planon Printstik

The only buttons on the PrintStik are a power button and paper feed button.

Planon Printstik

Next to the power and feed buttons are three LEDs for connection, printing activity and battery life.

Planon Printstik

To use the PrintStik, you first have to charge its internal batteries by connecting the included USB adapter or cable to a computer or wall outlet. You also have to install the printer drivers. Now here’s where I come to my biggest complaint about this product. Right now it will only work with a Windows PC or a Blackberry smartphone. This makes this printer pretty limited as far as I’m concerned. Mostly, it’s just a bit annoying that the PlanOn website and even the packaging for this printer say that it will work with PDAs, smartphones and laptops. It’s not until you take a closer look that you learn it will only work with Windows and Blackberries. PlanOn is supposed to be working on drivers for other devices, but it’s not clear when they will be available.


Click thumbnail to see full size image

I don’t have a Blackberry device, so I was only able to test with a Windows laptop. I had no issues getting the PrintStik to print via Bluetooth or USB. You can see a sample of the print quality above. You have to remember, this is not an ink jet printer, it’s a thermal printer. That said, the print quality seems fine for quick and dirty prints of text files and even simple graphics. Also remember, that thermal paper is thinner than regular paper, so it’s easier to rumple and crease.

Printing isn’t very speedy with this printer and the noise it produces while it is printing is noticeable enough that you’d not want to use it in a quiet location like a library.

Planon Printstik

Paper for this printer comes in packages of three cartridges for $24.99. Each cartridge gives you 20 full pages. So, that’s 60 pages for $25. I guess that’s not totally out of line. Ink for other printers is crazy expensive… But can usually print more than 60 pages per cartridge.

Planon Printstik

Switching out the cartridges and re-feeding the paper isn’t difficult.

The PlanOn PrintStik is very easy to use and I like the portability. I can understand its usefulness for a business person, but for an average Joe, I’m not sure it would see that much use. I can’t think of any time in the past that I’ve needed a printer while I was traveling. Of course, if I had this printer with me, I’d probably find uses for it to justify carrying it around with me. The $300 price tag and the fact that it won’t work with Macs and non Blackberry PDAs and smartphones keeps me from recommending this printer at this time. That said, if you are a Windows or Blackberry user, don’t mind the price tag and need a very compact printer for your gear bag, this one won’t take up much space :o)

 

Product Information

Price:299.99
Manufacturer:Planon
Requirements:
  • Windows PC with Bluetooth
  • Blackberry smartphone with Bluetooth
Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Compact
  • Bluetooth
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Only compatible with Windows PCs and Blackberry smartphones
  • Noisy

Comments

  1. 1
    Hai says:

    There are several points which I like to make:

    • The USB cable is not included, it is Julie’s
    • The papers coming out of the printer are probably curled, I don’t like that. They should design the printer to take paper straight through.
    • Only 30 pages per charge? Too little for too heft of a price

    Overall, I think if you are a professional in need of printing on the road, and your print load is light, plus you don’t mind paying $300, then this printer is for you.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    Hai:

    Correction – The retractable USB cable is PlanOn branded and was included in the package.

    Yes the paper is curled because it’s in a roll as most thermal paper come that way as far as I understand. :o)

  3. 3
    BBUsyB says:

    Have to say, that if you really neeed mobile printing on the road, unless you have really tight weight requirements something like the Canon PIXMA iP90v or its somewhat older brothers might be a better options.While billed as a photo printer, it is a very usable all purpose printer.

    Being inkjet based, you can get much better quality, and can use any paper you want, especially useful if you need to print stuff on company letterheads, etc.

    And finally you are not completely dependent upon the company for everything. While you do ave to purchase the ink cartridge from Canon, it should still last for a good while longer then the Printstik.

    [Edited at September 19, 2008 10:03:21 AM.]

  4. 4
    Karen says:

    Thanks for the great review…I was minutes away from ordering this thing until I saw your photo of the print quality. Now I’ll take Bbusy’s advice and check out the Canon.

  5. 5
    Jake says:

    Looks like a waste of money. Thermal printing applications are limited and using thermal paper is terrible outcome.

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