The best portable printers do much more than print and travel well, and the HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile All-in-One delivers on all fronts. It earns the top spot for its blend of portability and sharp, speedy printing, and it has a surprising array of features for a printer of its size.
The OfficeJet 250 Mobile All-in-One is small enough to fit in a backpack or carry-on bag, measuring just 14.96 x 7.8 x 3.6 inches and weighing 6.51 pounds without the battery and less than 7 pounds with it. The smallest, most portable printer in our comparison, the Brother ProjectJet 7, weighs just over one pound, so the Officejet 250 has a little heft to it, largely, because of some of its additional features and battery power.The pint-size printer opens up for use with a scan and print tray, and it has a 2.65-inch color touchscreen that controls printer functions and settings.
It earned a high portability score not only for its small size and weight, but also for its easy-to-use battery, which is included with the device and features a built-in meter so you can check the remaining power. The battery is good for about 500 pages worth of printing, which means you can take it on a two- or three-day work trip or long weekend and have enough juice to print, even if you leave the power cable at home.
Its small size isn’t the only thing to love, though. This compact inkjet has very good print quality, whether you’re printing off simple text or full-color PowerPoint slides. In our testing, the OfficeJet 250’s print quality was on par with larger desktop inkjet printers, producing documents with few to no errors – there was minimal spotting and no noticeable streaking or alignment problems, and it handled large swaths of color with only mild banding. This HP model printed some of the highest-quality documents we saw in our review. It’s also one of the fastest compact printers, printing black-and-white documents at eight pages per minute.
The printer is built to print crisp text and sharp images on letter- and legal-size paper up to 8.5 x 14 inches. Its high print resolution of 4800 x 1200 means that it can print photos as well, provided you have some photo paper and the ink to spare. The real surprise in our testing wasn’t how well it handled printing duty but how quiet it was – some mobile printers aren’t just a little noisy, they’re downright loud.
The inkjet printer uses a two-cartridge system, with one cartridge for black ink and the second for cyan, magenta and yellow ink. We don’t recommend tri-color ink cartridges on normal printers, but in a compact printer, it’s par for the course. In any event, HP offers a pretty good page yield for each cartridge, with a standard black cartridge producing some 200 pages and the tri-color cartridge lasting 165 pages. At regular prices, this breaks down to 21 cents per page, which is pretty reasonable for a portable color printer. If you want to make printing even more affordable, HP also sells high-capacity, XL versions of its ink cartridges, bumping up the page yields to 600 and 415 pages, respectively, and dropping the per-page price to 16 cents.
The printer’s paper input feeder holds up to 50 pages of standard paper, which is the largest capacity offered on a mobile printer. It also has an automatic document feeder, so you can run multipage documents through its scanner. The scanner only reads one side of the page, but it can both scan and copy. You can scan to a variety of file formats, including PDF, JPEG and TIFF.
In our testing, the copy quality was quite good. When we copied regular text documents, the results were clean and readable, thanks to the HP’s scanning resolution, which was the best we saw in our review. It also copies images pretty well, with minimal banding or color issues and fairly good detail clarity, even in dark and shadowed images. It did wash out light colors a little bit in one of the images we copied, but even that was minimal.
Its connectivity options are also the best of the bunch – you can plug into a PC with USB; print over Wi-Fi from your laptop, smartphone or tablet; and even print via Bluetooth from other mobile devices. The printer doesn’t have native support for print standards like Apple AirPrint or Google Cloud Print, but HP does have its own HP ePrint app available on both platforms, and you can print from all major mobile devices through the app. It also supports Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
HP covers the OfficeJet 250 Mobile All-in-One with a one-year warranty, with additional service plans available for a small fee at time of purchase. HP’s support services and tools are some of the best in the business; you can contact support personnel via phone, email and popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The company also provides online manuals and troubleshooting guides so you can track down information and fix problems on your own, and you can browse frequently asked questions and post to a customer support forum for further assistance.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile All-in-One is easily the best compact printer on the market. It delivers on all fronts with a highly mobile design, great print quality and an array of features that could go toe to toe with many full-size printers.