Tag Archives: Printer

LG Pocket Photo Printer PD221 Review

Earlier today, LG officially launched a rather unique product – the LG Pocket Photo Printer (PD221). The Pocket Photo is being dubbed by LG as a smart mobile printer, and the device certainly lives up to its nomenclature. I’ve been using a unit that was gifted to me for the past couple of months.

The printer is incredibly small – it’s actually slightly smaller than my Galaxy SIII. However, the thickness means that you won’t be actually able to carry this in your pocket (unless you’re wearing a jacket or a coat). The printer produces 5.1 x 7.6cm (2 x 3 inch) prints, which are definitely not large enough to please a photographer, but are good for quickly capturing and sharing fun moments with friends.

The Pocket Photo PD221 is USB powered, and can also run on battery. The battery doesn’t last long, but the good thing is that it only takes a few minutes to charge up. Once it’s charged, the indicator changes from red to green, and you’re good to go. Before you can print though, you’ll need to install the LG Pocket Photo app from the Play Store. Windows and iPhone users are out of luck though, since the app is only available for Android. The app is pretty straightforward and simple to use. You can apply Instagram-like photo effects, crop and rotate the picture, add text or even a custom QR code. Once you’re happy with the photo, you need to hit the print button. The Pocket Photo transmits via Bluetooth. Pressing and holding the power button makes it discoverable. However, if you have an NFC equipped phone, you can skip the hassle of searching and pairing with the printer. Just tap your phone on the printer, and it should instantly start transmitting. At least in theory. In practice, it took a couple of tries to get it right, but the entire process was still pretty hassle free. The Android app can also print multiple photos in a single page, so you can also use the printer for quick and dirty passport photos.

LG Pocket Photo Android App
LG Pocket Photo Android App

The LG Pocket Photo uses a special paper known as ZINK (Zero Ink). Unlike traditional InkJet printers, it doesn’t require any ink. Instead it prints by applying heat on the special ZINK paper. This is the innovation that enabled LG to shrink the printer. The LG Pocket Photo is undoubtedly an incredibly cool device. Take a snap, fire up the app, tap on your printer, and in less than a minute you would have the pic in your hand. Unfortunately, the ZINK technology has its limitations. The quality of the prints isn’t bad, but isn’t very good either. The color reproduction is off, as a result of which images appear washed out and tinted.

LG Pocket Photo Printer with Sample Photo
LG Pocket Photo Printer with Sample Photo

The biggest caveat of the PD221 is its price. It doesn’t serve a lot of purpose other than having some fun. The printouts are neither big enough nor good enough for a photographer. They’re good for taking that quick passport photo when you really need it. They’re also great for something you would want to keep in your wallet or on your table. However, they won’t go into your photo album. For something with a limited utility, the LG mobile printer is just too expensive for most people. The printer is being launched at an MRP of 14990, and a pack of 30 papers cost Rs. 1099. Ten papers are bundled with the printer. The LG Pocket Photo Printer is something that will fit the drool worthy gadgets column in a magazine. It’s not something the average consumer will purchase, but will probably attract the gadget affectionados who have the moolah to splurge on the coolest new gadget in the store.

Self Refilling Ink In Printer Cartridges

Inkjet printers, are rather common in households and small scale offices. These printers are cheap because the technology used in them is cheap — ink spraying. There are cartridges filled with ink and an electrical circuit to control which pores are opened and which are not. And it generates the characters and images on the paper.

Why you should refill ink in the cartridges yourself?

Because, it’s cheaper, and you do it properly. A lot of shops can be found offering cartridge refilling services, but they charge like $1 or more for refilling a cartridge and don’t do it properly. I’ve often had to buy new cartridges due them filling poor quality ink and choking or spoiling the electrical circuits.

The refill kit is available for around $10 and half a litre of black ink costs around the same, $10. So if you calculate, you can refill the cartridge 50 times (assuming each refill takes 10mL) and the cost per refill comes out to be $0.4, including the equipment cost as well. If you don’t include that, then it’s $0.2. Very cheap!

Refilling cartridges may void warranty of your printer, so you better check with manufacturer’s terms before attempting this.

For the environment enthusiasts, I would like to point out that refilling cartridges is environment friendly — because every time you buy a new cartridge, the product has gone through various industrial processes, new plastic is used, etc. Also, when you dump your old cartridge in garbage, it simply goes into dumping grounds and as you might be knowing, plastic takes ages to decay, so why not recycle it?

As of writing this, I myself have refilled my printer’s black cartridge about 5 times, which means I saved $15 * 5 – $20 = $55.

Some printers have detachable print heads and others have non-detachable print heads. In printers with detachable print heads, the electrical circuits to control pores along with the ink supply are enclosed in one single detachable part (that’s why detachable head). In printers with non-detachable heads, the electrical circuits to control pores are fixed with the printer, while the ink supply is a different unit and can be replaced.

If you have a printer with a non-detachable print head, make sure that you buy good quality ink, otherwise the pores could get blocked and would cost you a lot to get it repaired. You should be concerned about the ink quality even with detachable print heads, because the print heads cost around $12 or above, depending on the quantity of ink, the make, and other factors. You don’t want to spend on new cartridges because the pores got choked due to bad quality ink, do you? But in general, if you have a printer with a detachable print head, you’re on a safer side, in the sense that you can buy a new original cartridge if for some reason the one you’re using gets choked.

Enough of discussion about print heads and stuff, now let’s come to the point — how do you refill the cartridges?

In this article I’ll be covering the refill process only for detachable heads due to certain limitations, which should give you an idea about refilling non-detachable heads as well. It’s quite simple, there are holes provided to inject ink into the cartridge. The photo below is of a HP 21 cartridge (black). The top sticker has been removed and you can clearly see the hole.

Color cartridges have three holes instead of one, because they contain inks of three different colors – Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. If you want to refill color cartridges, you have to buy inks of all three colors separately. To refill the cartridge, you simply need a syringe, a needle and a bottle of ink. Yes, that’s it! But, as I stated earlier, refill kits are available, which do a much better job. They come with a syringe and a blunt needle, so that you don’t inject ink into yourself! Also, a case (box) to carry out the process so that spilling does not occur. Below is a photo of the ink refill kit I bought from eBay.

The process is very simple. You fill the syringe with ink and then inject it very slowly into the cartridge. If you bought a refill kit, then follow the kit’s instructions.

That’s all, enjoy refilling and saving the money as well the environment :)

HP Throws a Hail Mary, Combines Two Dying Business to Revive Both

HP, the personal computing giant of yesteryear, which has seen sales of its PCs decline over the last couple of years, is planning to restructure its business in order to make it more cost efficient and reduce costs, according to a report by AllThingsD.

It will be moving its Imaging and Printing Group (Printers) under its Personal Systems Group (Personal Computers), with the new larger division reporting to a single head.

HP’s printer business was one of its most profitable ones, but had seen sales decline over the last couple of quarters. Its PC business has also not been doing very well, as worldwide desktops sales have slowed down and are expected to decline going forward. Both businesses combined added up to more than 50% of HP’s total revenues in 2011.

HP was planning to spin off the PC division or sell it to someone like IBM under its previous CEO Apotheker’s management, but the new CEO, Meg Whitman scrapped that plan.

HP’s printer business has much higher operating margins than its PC business, but given the product synergies and the overlapping target customer base, it may actually be a good call on its part to combine the two to cut costs, improve margins and maybe improve sales.

The future of HP’s PC business depends on how well it capitalizes on the ultrabook and tablet trend, following the launch of Windows 8 in late 2012.