Don’t go wild when you hear you can print wirelessly from your iPod, iPad or iPhone without installing any print drivers or even setting up any printer configurations. Yes, there is a Print icon among all the new standard apps on your i-device, but not only do you have to be running iOS 4.2 or higher, you also have to be within range of a wireless AirPrint compatible printer. And the only printers that fall in that category of being AirPrint compatible add up to less than a dozen models, all from HP. Once you realize that these are the limits within which you’ll be able to print, and you still want to go wild, then go right ahead.
Are you back? Good. The Print icon is beneath the Send To icon — when you tap it, a list of printers you can print to will appear. And, while there are ways to use AirPrint capabilities without an AirPrint compatible printer, which we will get to at the end of this article, let’s stay here a while and take a look at the printers that will be appearing in your AirPrint list on your i-device.
The first set of AirPrint-compatible HP printers are the Photosmart line, basic all-in-one inkjet printers intended for home use.
HP Photosmart e-AiO (D110A)
This basic printer was the first one released as AirPrint-enabled. Still priced well under $100, you can plug it in and immediately print documents, photos or fliers remotely.
HP Photosmart Plus e-AiO (B210a)
Think of this printer as an enhanced D110A that also lets you scan photos and make copies, besides printing remotely via AirPrint and from attached computers.
The next set of HP printers enabled for AirPrint out of the box is the premium Photosmart line.
- HP Photosmart Premium e-AiO (C310a)
- HP Photosmart Premium Fax e-AiO (C410a)
- HP Photosmart eStation All-in-One (C510)
The C310A adds speed and capacity, while the C410a adds faxing capability. With the C510, you get full web browsing from the printer itself, a detachable full-color touchscreen, integrated wireless 802.11b/g/n and a flatbed scanner that lets you scan 3D objects and documents. Individual high-capacity ink cartridges cut down on printing costs. The C510 can even have its own email address, meaning you can email anything to the printer and have it printed immediately or stored for printing, depending on how you configure this feature..
The last set of HP AirPrint-ready printers is the LaserJet Pro line. Though all four of these printers are AirPrint capable, they do require an AirPrint firmware upgrade before becoming fully AirPrint compatible.
- HP LaserJet Pro CP1525nw
- HP LaserJet Pro M1536dnf
- HP LaserJet Pro CM1415FNW
- HP LaserJet Pro CP1525nw
Equipped with both wireless 802.11b/g/n and Ethernet networking, these energy-saving printers produce high-quality color in both photos and documents. Priced much lower than other laser-jet printers, these HP printers are a bargain, especially when you add in the AirPrint functionality for i-devices and HP’s own ePrint, which works the same as AirPrint for other mobile devices.
Now that we’ve shown you the short list of HP printers capable of AirPrint printing, we’ll turn this whole article on its head by describing how an i-device can print to any printer via use of AirPrint. AirPrint is based on Apple’s own networking protocol Bonjour/Zeroconf, the nature of which allowed reverse-engineering of the AirPrint function in the Linux world to create AirPrint Activator, software that enables AirPrint printing to any printer connected to a Mac.
There’s also an application called Printopia for Mac. This app shares any printer connected to your Mac wirelessly, allowing printing from an iPad or an iPhone. Let me repeat that: “any printer.” You can even print out to a PDF or JPG file, and save it.
So, if the question is, “What printers using AirPrint are the best?,” then the answer has to be, for any Mac user, any printer you consider the best, because you can now use AirPrint to print to any printer. PC and Windows users, however, are not that lucky — if you have an i-device, but no Mac, you’ll have to print directly via AirPrint to the HP printers listed above.
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