The Brother PocketJet PJ763mfi is small. It's so small, you wonder how it manages to print at all, as it's only slightly wider than a piece of A4 paper; essentially a narrow rectangle of plastic and electrical innards. That size and portability is the PocketJet's biggest strength, and if you're looking for the absolute smallest, most portable compact printer (opens in new tab), this is perfect. As a bonus, you don't even need ink, due to the way it prints on thermal paper. This does also mean that the printer's capabilities are limited, and you're sacrificing color and additional print types here, which may not suit some people.
Brother PocketJet PJ763mfi review: Features
Our review is based on the PocketJet PJ763mfi on its own, which doesn't actually include a wall-plug or any paper. If you just get the printer on its own, you simply plug it into a laptop or a home computer (opens in new tab) via a USB cable, which it can draw power from easily enough. However, this does somewhat limit portability. You can buy the printer as part of a kit that includes a wall charger, car adaptor, and some thermal paper that feeds it. There are several other accessories available, including an optional battery, which makes it completely portable. Be sure to select a package that includes all of the equipment you need, or you may have to make multiple purchases just to get started.
The PocketJet 7 is, hands down, the most portable of any mobile printer we've seen. It weighs a scant 1.1 lbs and measures just 10.04"x2.17"x1.18", meaning it can fit into even modest-sized bags and briefcases. The battery is optional, but when equipped it should provide enough power to print 600 pages on each charge. The downside to this lightweight and compact size is the lack of other features, like scanning or copying capability. If you're looking for a portable printer with more options, especially for photos, try the Canon PIXMA TR150 (opens in new tab).
It’s one thing to be able to print on the go or by using battery power, but it’s something else entirely to be able to slide that printer into the pocket of a coat or laptop bag. It’s the only printer we’ve seen that has the same sort of mobility you get from a smartphone (opens in new tab), and if that is important to you, it may more than outweigh the compromises that come with this printer.
Brother PocketJet PJ763mfi review: Print quality
The Brother PJ763mfi’s unbeatable portability is due to the use of thermal printing, the same ink-free technology used to print some types of receipts. Thermal printing eliminates the need for ink cartridges or movable print heads. It’s similar in many respects to laser printing, but instead of using ink or toner, it uses special thermal paper that responds to heat. So, you save on ink, but paper is more expensive. We've worked out that it's about 0.5c per sheet, which isn't bad at all.
The print quality is quite good, as far as thermal printing goes. The resolution is very low (300x203 dpi), but the text clarity is among the sharpest of any compact printer we've reviewed – with no actual ink to bleed into the paper, text has sharp, crisp edges. However, it’s only monochrome, so printing in color is out of the question.
Graphical elements that include color are rendered with a halftone pattern of dots, and that conversion, though good, isn’t always consistent. Black-and-white documents printed at five pages per minute, and you may notice that it produces a distinct odor when you print more than a few pages at a time.
The other part of this equation is the thermal paper. While the PJ763mfi has no ink to refill, you need to buy all of your thermal paper in advance of printing, and it’s not the sort of thing you can pick up at the corner store. Standard paper can be purchased in pre-cut sheets or on perforated rolls, and there are several types of paper you can buy. Premium Paper is designed to hold up over time, allowing you to archive documents without worrying that they’ll fade or turn dark over time. Fast Dry paper is treated so its slick surface accepts ink from regular ballpoint pens, while Synthetic paper is water-resistant.
The printer handles one page at a time, and you feed it from the back and out through the front. If you’re printing from a roll or a stack of fanfold paper, you can print multiple sheets without much trouble, but individually cut sheets need to be fed in one at a time. It's a pain, but that's the compromise for such portability.
Brother PocketJet PJ763mfi review: Connectivity
The printer works with Windows, Mac and Android systems, and it connects via USB or Bluetooth connection. This means you can print from any device with a Bluetooth connection, including laptops (opens in new tab), smartphones, and tablets (opens in new tab). The 'mfi' part of the name means it'll happily connect to Apple's mobile devices, which is a real bonus. For anything else, the USB 3.0 connector will connect to most devices and, if you don't go for the optional power-cord or battery pack, it can power the device while it prints. Sadly, it doesn't have WiFi, like many other printers we've tested, but it is meant to be ultra-portable.
Brother covers the PocketJet PJ763 with a one-year warranty. Support is provided via phone, email and live chat on the Brother website. You can also find an online user manual, troubleshooting guide and FAQs for the printer.
Should you buy the Brother PocketJet PJ763mfi?
The Brother PocketJet PJ763mfi is an impressive specimen, and we've listed it among our top compact printers. However, even with its super mobile design, it’s not recommended for most shoppers because the functionality here is very limited. If you want something small and portable, but not quite pocket sized, then try the HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile (opens in new tab) instead. If you need to print monochrome documents on the go, the PocketJet is the most portable option, but it’s far less capable than a portable inkjet and less versatile in what it can print. It also has much more demanding supply and upkeep needs, although the lack of ink is a money-saving bonus.