Although AirPrint capability has been around for several months, I’ve waited to buy an iPad-friendly printer. I wanted to wait until I found one on sale. I wanted to wait and see if any other vendors were added. And I wanted to wait until the iPad 2 was arriving, as my wife will either inherit the iPad I’m working on, or we’ll sell this one and buy her an iPad 2.
There are a number of iPad-friendly (AirPrint) HP Printers available. As of March 5, 2011, that list includes:
HP Envy e-All-in-One series (D410a)
HP Photosmart Plus e-AiO (B210a)
HP Photosmart Premium e-AiO (C310a)
HP Photosmart Premium Fax e-AiO (C410a)
HP Photosmart e-AiO (D110)
HP Photosmart eStation (C510)
HP LaserJet Pro M1536dnf Multifunction Printer
HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fn Color Multifunction Printer
HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color Multifunction Printer
HP LaserJet Pro CP1525n Color Printer
HP LaserJet Pro CP1525nw Color Printer
HP Officejet 6500A e-AiO
HP Officejet 6500A Plus e-AiO
HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format e-AiO
HP Officejet Pro 8500A e-AiO
HP Officejet Pro 8500A Premium e-AiO
HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-AiO
You can buy programs that allow you to print from an iPad to a computer that is attached to a printer, but in our house, our printer “stands alone.” We have no desktop computer in our house.
Other than the need for wireless printing, the most basic of printers meets my needs. Whenever possible, I save documents as PDF files and then access them on my iPad or my MacBook. My biggest use for printing is the occasional concert program (about four a year) and letters of recommendation for students.
So I’ve been eyeing the basic HP Photosmart Printer at Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy for some time. Typically, the asking price is between $79 and $100. Target recently instituted a price cut on the printer, selling it for $59.99. If you have a Target Debit Card or a Target Credit Card, you are also given an additional 5% off your purchase. The basic HP Photosmart D110a can be yours for $57 plus tax. The time for me to buy an AirPrint printer occurred last evening. I was warned by a salesperson that the price drops usually indicate that a newer model is coming out. I don’t really care too much about the age of the printer model, particularly if it can be updated (like the entire Photosmart line) and it works with AirPlay.
Set-up was easy, and immediately after set-up, I entered the control panel on the printer and downloaded the updates that allow for AirPrint printing. There’s no discernible print difference between it and my Canon Pixma MP480 which I received free with my MacBook when I purchased it in October 2008. I’ve been using a bluetooth receiver with the Canon printer, which allows you to print, but not to scan. The HP allows for both wireless printing and scanning, but the scanning tray on the HP is significantly smaller than the Canon.
I can absolutely continue to use the Canon to scan music, and we will use the HP as a main printer in our house for our iPads and MacBooks.
How does it work? In a word, flawlessly. I’ve printed both an Numbers (for iPad) Document (which, incidentally, allows you to print in portrait or landscape, and to adjust the size of the spreadsheet you’re printing…very cool. I wish Pages for iPad had landscape settings for concert programs) and out of Photos. I’ve scanned and printed from my wife’s MacBook.
The only negative, as with all inkjet printers, is the cost of ink. Replacement cartridges (both black and color are #60) are $32 for a set, and promise about 200 pages.
I still wonder why Apple has this technology agreement with only HP when it seems that HP is trying to undermine the iPad with its Web OS tablet computers–perhaps HP still has the focus of providing peripherals for all computing devices even though they are a leader in computing devices.
So, if you have an iPad and need a printer, check your local Target. It is possible that Wal-Mart and others are matching the price drop.