When provided the opportunity to review a mobile, Bluetooth printer that would easily sync with my tablets or smartphone, I leapt at the idea. “BRILLIANT!” I thought, to have access to documents on the road or when away from your home office or dorm room and be able to print them off, on a whim, and provide your customers and professors with documents without the hassle of being tethered to a large, bulky printer. Well, larger and bulkier than the PrintStik by Planon. Measuring at a teensy 11“x1“x2“, the PS905ME model isn’t a low-end piece of hardware in the PrintStik series and with a price of $299.99, you’d expect high quality, easy use, and compatibility.
Unfortunately you get none of these things.
On the topics of easy use and compatibility, it’s as if the printer is going out of its way to frustrate you. Typically tablet and smartphone users can use programs like PrinterShare or Cloud Print to print to Bluetooth devices quickly, easily, and cost free. PrintStik instead has opted to be compatible with only one app, PrintHand. It’s not as if the app is bad — it works to meet your needs — but the fact that the website links to the $12.95 Premium version leads consumers to believe it’s their only option. Only by searching for PrintHand by name will you discover the free version, and for a mobile printer that costs $299.99, I was particularly confused to think I would have to spend another $13.00 for an app to do what this device claims it does.
The experience doesn’t end there. The PrintStik is designed in a way that the battery, paper, and ink is combined into one inclusive package, reducing the amount that you have to carry with you. It’s a brilliant design and perhaps the greatest aspect of the hardware. The battery you don’t really have to worry about, as you can just turn it on when needed and it doesn’t wear down too fast, but recharging it to full in about three hours was a high note. The paper though, it’s a step above tissue paper, barely. Very flimsy, easy to see through, and won’t hold up to being manhandled, it’s because of the poor quality of the paper used that tearing it from the printer results in ugly frays at the bottom in most instances.
Oh, I didn’t mention that before? Yes, the paper is on one continuous roll, with one roll being the equivalent of 20 pages of paper. When you run out of a roll, you simply load in another roll, the problem is that it will cost you $29.99 to purchase three additional cartridges of paper, averaging out to about $0.50 per sheet. You may be thinking, “AHA! I’ll just load in normal paper that I can buy at an office supply store for far less!” I thought the same thing and was woefully disappointed to find that the printer will not print on normal paper. At all. And what’s worse is that the text printed on the flimsy, unreliable paper is faded to the point of looking aged.
With flimsy paper, poor text quality, and very little cost benefit to the device, it’s very hard to suggest this to anybody for any reason. There’s no noticeable way to change the ink when it runs out, nor is it mentioned on the PlanOn website, creating additional problems that are inevitable should someone find reasons for consistent use. The paper is very much like receipts from your typical grocery store, so for business transactions that need a receipt you may find this a benefit, but for basic business, school, or personal needs, the PrintStik PS905ME is just not worth your time or money.