This is a guest post by Carla Eaton.
Apple, known for attempting to make user-friendlier applications for their strong fanbase, has done it again. Upon the surge of popularity for Apple’s mobile phone and tablet devices, Apple introduced AirPrint in 2010; and by release already had a line of 12 compatible printers available to take advantage of the new technology – all of which were HP printers. AirPrint technology offers near instant printing of anything you see on your mobile device without having to install drivers or software, and within a year several other printer manufacturers were hopping onto the trend. While consumers will likely take advantage of the new technology that supports the AirPrint feature, they will still want the features needed for other products, such as cameras and document compatibility. Here, we examine the best AirPrint compatible printers currently available from the top 3 manufacturers based on compatibility, popularity, and a price point of around $100.
Getting marks for clarity, ease of setup (especially wireless setup), and a low-price point for a photo printer, the Photosmart 6510 stands apart enough to make even its older brother, the HP Envy, envious. At around $120, it provides full compatibility with Windows and Macintosh O.S.s, it supports AirPrint as well as other mobile device printing (so even your Android toting buddies can take advantage of its easy offerings). Also, being a member of the Photosmart line, it utilizes 4 individual ink-tanks for printing color photos and documents, and has the option of using high-capacity cartridges for heavier printing jobs (dubbed XL). As HP was the pioneering manufacturer of AirPrint supported printers, they have the most models currently available on the market. Of the HP line, however, the Photosmart 6510 is considerably the best choice based on overall satisfaction, low maintenance, and functionality with an easier to swallow price.
As the second manufacturer to include AirPrint compatibility, Epson did well right out of the gate. Like the HP 6510 it can print wirelessly from multiple mobile devices, so it is not AirPrint exclusive. It also utilizes multiple cartridges for increased clarity and contrast with photos, and allows for high-capacity cartridges, but at a slightly steeper price than HP’s model. It does, however, offer incredible dpi at a high print rate, and with Epson’s Instant-dry inks, you’ll never have to worry about pages smearing or sticking against each other with extensive print jobs. As well, the WorkForce has a larger paper tray, holding an entire half-ream (or 250 pages), so you can walk away and trust the job to get done. The WorkForce 645 will also cost you a bit less than most of its competitors, chiming in at just under the $100 price point.
A month after Epson entered the race in AirPrint manufacturers, Canon released an update to their firmware to allow their current model wireless printers to be AirPrint compatible. All future models have included this feature, and Canon is now currently neck-and-neck with Epson in the number of available models. Canon, however, seems to be at the head of the pack in terms of quality, and at an incredible 9600 dpi, the Pixma MG5320 wears the golden crown. At around $100, it prints at a greater speed than the Photosmart or WorkForce printers, but does not boast the convenience of Instant-dry inks. It also does not allow for high-capacity cartridges, so it is best to have some back up cartridges on hand with this one.
Although other manufacturers are now joining the fray and building AirPrint and mobile device compatibility into their printers, they are only currently able to offer a limited selection of printers while the aforementioned competitors are dominating the market. In terms of quality, Canon’s Pixma MG5320 is the frontrunner, with HP’s Photosmart 6510 beating out the Epson WorkForce 645 with a better price for cartridges, which will make a large difference in the long term. Epson’s features, such as Instant-dry ink and large paper tray, do make it a good competitor for a lower initial price. Either way you choose, these three manufacturers have made it possible to get a great quality printer that is compatible with AirPrint and other mobile devices at a good price.
This post is contributed by Carla Eaton. Carla Eaton has a B.A. in Mass Media and writes on the topics of business, technology, and design. She currently blogs for inkfarm.com, who specializes in Dell printer cartridges.