Canon’s Pixma TR150 Wireless
Portable Printer ($199.99) is a light and compact color inkjet printer designed
primarily for printing color documents on the road. The TR150 replaces the Pixma iP110 Wireless Mobile Printer, an Editors’
Choice reviewed here back in June of 2015. Compared to its closest competitors (which
include the 2016 HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile Printer and the 2018 HP Tango X—two
PCMag top picks from the Palo Alto information technology giant), the TR150 prints
well at a relatively good clip and with competitive running costs. Combine
these value-added perks, and the Pixma TR150 easily picks up our Editors’
Choice nod as 2020’s leading portable printer.
As Small and Light as It
Measuring 2.6 by 7.3 by 12.7 inches
(HWD) with its trays closed and weighing 4.5 pounds (or 5.1 pounds with the $99.99
battery installed), the Pixma TR150 is identical in size and girth to its iP100 predecessor. It’s also less than an inch smaller and a fraction of
a pound lighter than the HP OfficeJet 200 and the Epson WorkForce WF-110, while
the HP Tango X, the only device here without a battery for untethered operation,
is notably bigger in all directions and outweighs the TR150 by a couple of pounds.
Without the optional battery, of course, the
printer isn’t truly portable, in that you can’t power it up without an AC or
USB power source. Of the four truly portable devices—the Pixma TR150, Pixma iP110,
HP OfficeJet 200, and Epson WF-110—mentioned here, the HP and Epson come
with batteries at no extra charge, though, with the WorkForce portable, the
company also offers an additional external power pack capable of about 500 prints. (The included battery is preinstalled and not removable.) As
mentioned, the TR150’s battery will set you back about $100 and, according to
Canon, it takes two to three hours to charge.
Unfortunately, the Pixma TR150 does not support auto-duplexing or automatic two-sided printing, but
then, neither do the other models discussed here. A unique feature that it
does support, though, is the ability to create and save up to five templates, such
as applications, consent forms, and flyers, that you can call up and
print directly from the printer’s control panel.
Speaking of the control panel,
as you can see in the image below, this one consists of a handful of navigation
controls, power and cancel buttons, and a 1.44-inch OLED screen for displaying
the drill-down menu structure.
On the rear right edge of the chassis,
near the hinge for opening and closing the top cover and paper input tray,
you’ll find three ports or slots: one for AC power, a USB combination data/power
connection, and a Kingston-type locking slot to secure the printer from theft.
Connectivity consists of Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/a, Wireless PictBridge for printing from compatible Canon digital
cameras, and USB 2.0 for printing from a single PC. Canon’s Pixma
TR150 Wireless Portable Printer Driver provides Wireless Direct (a.k.a. Wi-Fi
Direct) for connecting your mobile devices without either them or the printer being part of an intermediary network. (We’ll look a little closer at mobile connectivity
in the next section.)
Like many of today’s Pixmas,
the TR150 supports Instagram’s square image media sizes—in this case, 3.5 and 5 inches square. (I don’t know of any non-Pixma models that support
the square format.) Its sole paper tray, which extends upward and outward from
the rear of the machine, holds 50 sheets of plain paper up to legal size (8.5
by 14 inches). And Canon rates its maximum monthly duty cycle at 500 prints. That may not sound like much,
but 500 prints per month is the same duty cycle as the Tango X, and HP rates the
OfficeJet 200 at just 300 pages per month.
Mobile Connectivity, Software,
and Voice Activation
For a while now, both the Pixma TR and TS series (business-oriented and photo-centric consumer models,
respectively) have come out of the box ready to support a wide variety of both
Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Mobile apps include Apple AirPrint, Canon Print App, Canon Print Service, and Canon Print Plug-In (the last for Amazon Fire
support). Also included is Creative Park (a collection of calendars, greeting cards, and other
festive templates), the cross-platform Easy
PhotoPrint Editor app, Google Cloud Print, and Mopria Print Services.
Another inclusion worth mentioning: Canon’s PosterArtist Lite app, which is a pared-down version of the full-blown PosterArtist
program that ships with the company’s professional photographer imagePrograf printers.
PosterArtist Lite comes with over 1,300 poster templates, stock photos, and
clipart, as well as advanced color correction and text editing features. It can print from Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and gives you the option to share poster
layouts via your favorite cloud sites.
As with most of today’s Canon, HP, and Epson consumer printers, you also get the ability to
print from your smart home appliances, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant,
and any other service—including Windows’ Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Samsung’s
Bixby—that supports If This, Then That (IFTTT) scripting technology.
Between the Pixma TR150’s
ability to store and print templates and its voice activation, printing critical
documents on the road just got a whole lot easier.
Printing Is Slow Going, Though
Canon rates the TR150’s throughput at 9
pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome pages and 5.5ppm for color prints. Those ratings
are—after hooking it up via USB to our standard Intel Core i5 PC running
Windows 10 Pro—just a tenth or two of a ppm short of my real-world results.
The Pixma printed our
12-page Microsoft Word text document at 8.9ppm. The HP Tango X proved about 0.7ppm faster, while the Epson WF-110 came in about 3.7ppm slower. (The OfficeJet 200 and Pixma iP110 were tested with a different regimen and suite of test documents, so I can’t compare their print speeds.)
Next, I clocked the TR150 as it
printed our several colorful graphics- and photo-laden PDFs, some Excel spreadsheets
and full-page charts and graphs, and a few full-page PowerPoint handouts. I
then combined those results with the scores from the text
document test to arrive at an overall speed of 5.2ppm, which beat both the Tango
X and WF-110 by over 3ppm. And that can seem like an eternity, if you’re
sitting there waiting with a would-be client or customer.
Finally, I completed my tests
by timing the TR150 as it churned out our colorful and detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots.
It averaged about 50 seconds per print, which fell between the HP’s 46
seconds and the Epson’s 1 minute and 20 seconds.
Output Worth Waiting For
The TR150 and its ilk are slow,
but at least what rolls out of the output slot is worth waiting for—especially
graphics and photos. Some of the smaller text (say, 10 points and lower) I
printed was slightly misshapen and not quite up to laser quality, though it was
plenty legible enough. Mostly it displayed issues, such as somewhat imprecise
kerning and leading (the spacing between certain letters and letter pairs),
that only document designers and desktop publishers would really care about.
Otherwise, the gradients and
fills in our Excel graphics and PowerPoint handouts, as well as the details and
color accuracy in our test photos, came out better than you might expect from
such a small imaging device.
Running Costs: About What
Low-volume devices like these cost
a lot to use—and that’s that. The saving grace is that, if you don’t print a
lot, you won’t spend a lot on ink. Right? Well, not exactly.
I estimated the TR150’s running
costs at 7.5 cents for monochrome pages and 15.1 cents per color page. If you
were to max it out at its 500-color-page monthly rating, you would spend just
over $75 on ink each month—and that’s for an ISO (International Organization
for Standardization) coverage of approximately 20 percent per page. If you
print large photos or graphics-laden pages that use a lot of ink, your running
costs would soar significantly higher.
In any case, the TR150’s
per-page costs are competitive for this class of printer. The Epson WF-110’s
running costs, for example, are 9 cents for black pages and 18 cents for color, with the HP OfficeJet 200’s figures only a fifth of a cent lower. In fact, of all these compact printers, only the Tango X delivers relatively
low consumables costs. That is only when you opt for HP’s Instant Ink subscription program, though: 3.5 cents per page, whether monochrome or color, when you
subscribe to the 300-pages-per-month plan.
Also, the Tango doesn’t come with or offer a battery for untethered operation. Using that criterion, it’s not truly a portable.
A Long-Overdue Refresh
Though it’s not necessarily
a ground-breaking upgrade, the Pixma TR150’s voice-activated printing and storable
templates, as well as a few other less notable updates, are significant enough to
nudge this category back into the backpacks and briefcases of today’s business
travelers. Most of its competitors, except for perhaps the HP Tango X and
recently updated Epson WF-110, have grown a bit long in the tooth since their last
For its part, the Tango X is too big
and lacks the ability to run without a plugged-in power source, and the Epson’s running costs render it far too expensive to use for more than 100 or so pages
each month. Granted, I’m not wild about the seemingly exorbitant $99.99 list
price of the TR150’s optional battery, which pushes the printer’s overall
cost up to $300, but I suspect it will come down before too long. Portable,
compact technology tends to run on the expensive side, anyway, and with that in mind, Canon’s new Pixma TR150 is an excellent choice for our latest favorite portable
inkjet color printer.
Canon Pixma TR150 Wireless Portable Printer Specs
|Color or Monochrome||Color|
|Connection Type||USB, Wireless, PictBridge|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||Legal|
|Number of Ink Colors||4|
|Number of Ink Cartridges/Tanks||2|
|Direct Printing From Media Cards||No|
|Direct Printing From USB Thumb Drives||No|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Color)||9 ppm|
|Rated Speed at Default Settings (Mono)||5.5 ppm|
|Monthly Duty Cycle (Maximum)||500 pages per month|
|LCD Preview Screen||Yes|
|Printer Input Capacity||50|
|Cost Per Page (Color)||7.6 cents|
|Cost Per Page (Monochrome)||15.1 cents|
|Automatic Document Feeder||No|