Need to print, scan or copy on the road? The HP OfficeJet 250 could be just what you need.
We're all used to computing on the move, but if we want to print, scan or copy a document it's usually time to head back home or to the office. Where that's really not an option, HP's OfficeJet 250 provides a solution: it's a tiny, portable, colour inkjet multi-function printer.
It's perfectly specified for mobile work: there's a colour touchscreen, support for wireless and Bluetooth networking, and a lithium-ion battery included as standard.
HP has done a fine job with this MFP's design. It's fashioned from the usual matte-black plastic, but it's thick stuff that ought to withstand a few knocks. A lid keeps dust out of the paper feeds and when open creates a 50-page input tray – it seems sturdy, but its hinge is less so, and it's a shame that it doesn't latch shut. Typically for a portable printer there's no output tray, but the paper exit is high enough to make printing onto carpet or a car seat feasible.
There are some neat details. The touchscreen can be raised or clicked down into the printer body. It's on a sprung hinge, and doubles as the perfect damper should you neglect to lower it before flipping the lid closed. The paper size is automatically set when you adjust the paper guides – such a simple timesaver that we can't believe we've never seen it before. The touchscreen is up to HP's usual excellent standard, responding well to tap and drag gestures, and allowing you to create shortcuts to often-used features.
Full-sized MFPs are quicker, but the OfficeJet 250 is still quite adept. It managed 10.5 pages per minute (ppm) on our mono text test, rising to 13.4ppm in draft mode. At 3.7ppm, it was even fairly quick to print our complicated colour graphics test. It was barely slower on battery power, producing black text at 9.7ppm.
This MFP is too small for a flatbed scanner, so original media needs to fit through its 10-page automatic document feeder, which folds out at the front and ejects scanned pages on top of the printer's input tray. Scanning A4 paper was fine, but photos took on a slight curve after passing through. We timed a single A4 mono copy at 21 seconds, and a colour page at 24 seconds.
The OfficeJet 250 is saddled with HP's usual oversimplified TWAIN scan interface, which doesn't support a 150 dots-per-inch (dpi) resolution – one of our standard tests. We timed a 300dpi A4 scan at 34 seconds, and a 600dpi, 6 x 4in photo scan at 49 seconds. The results were fine for general office work, although the auto exposure feature tended to bleach out the highlights – we preferred the results with it switched off.
We've reviewed portable printers which use tiny, expensive cartridges, but for the OfficeJet 250 you can buy a black cartridge rated at 600 sheets, and a tri-colour cartridge good for 415. Based on these ratings, a page of black text works out at around 10c, and an A4 page of mixed text and graphics should be about 17c. That's certainly not the cheapest, but it's not unreasonable given the printer's size and convenience.
With good all-round performance and acceptable running costs, this is a great MFP for working on the move. It's also a fair choice for anyone without space for a full-sized alternative, but bear in mind that it's about three times as expensive – if you can find room for a full-sized MFP, your credit card will thank you.