The Primera Trio is a seriously small printer. It's barely bigger than a hardback book, making it ultra-portable. However, this comes at the cost of features and quality - the ink is expensive, it has a smaller battery, and the actual printing is fairly low quality. Sure, you may need something portable if you're travelling, but this is definitely not one of the best compact printers you can buy today. It's also tougher to find, as the model itself has been discontinued.
The Trio is very portable, with a light 2.8-pound weight and dimensions of 11.4 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches. This barebones printer consists almost entirely of the moving print head, a paper feeder and a page-fed scroll scanner. In addition, the printer’s optional battery pack is inconvenient and needs to be plugged in and stowed away inside an awkwardly placed internal compartment. The battery itself has enough power to print 350 pages per charge. which is less than the top mobile printers in our comparison that can do around 500, like the HP OfficeJet All-One 250.
The Trio is by far the most expensive printer on a per-page basis. It holds just one ink cartridge at a time, so you need to swap out the ink depending on whether you want to print in color or black and white. Using normal calculations, which combine black and color ink expenses in the average, it costs 79 cents per page to print with this machine. Because you have to switch between ink cartridges, it’s more like 26 cents per page when printing in black and white and 53 cents per page for color printing. In either case, it is far and away the most expensive portable printing option, and the tri-color cartridge needs to be completely replaced whenever one of the three colors runs out. Even using high-capacity cartridges, the price per page only falls to 27 cents for black and white and 21 cents for color.
This cost would be far easier to justify if the print quality were better, but the Trio produces documents that approach the lower limits of acceptable printing. The documents we printed were certainly readable, even down to 3-point-size text, but the documents had several unwanted ink spots, frequent alignment errors and heavy banding. The printer is also very noisy, enough so that we’d be hesitant to use it in a hotel room for fear of complaints from the neighboring rooms.
The printer itself has a mix of features and faults, with a meager 10-page input tray and a page-fed scanner. In our testing, it was difficult to scan documents because the printer couldn’t hold them straight as they fed through the scanner. The Trio works with both Windows and Mac systems, but it can only connect using USB, and there isn’t an option for printing from mobile devices.
Primera covers the Trio with a one-year warranty and has several support options like an online manual and a frequently asked questions section on its website. You can contact support services via phone, email and live chat on the company’s site.
The Primera Trio is highly portable, which is a big selling point for portable printers, but it comes with some big compromises. Expensive ink and poor print quality make it hard to recommend when there are more capable alternatives on the market. It's tough to track down too, and we don't think it's worth the effort.