Brother PocketJet PJ-773 Review: The Little Portable Printer That Could

A printer has a place in an office or home but what about when you're out and about? Portable printers are useful for people who are constantly on the move for their jobs as well as for small businesses that don't have space for a full-sized printer but still want to print basic documents. We tested out the Brother PocketJet PJ-773. Here are our thoughts on this pint-sized printer.

Let's get one thing out of the way: a mobile printer is not going to give you nearly the same performance as a conventional home or office printer. You're not meant to use it as a home printer replacement. With a limited set of features, mobile printers appeal more to field workers who need to print documents that don't require a high level of detail on the fly.

Brother has touted the PJ-773 as the most advanced A4 portable thermal printer on the market. It only prints in black and white and one of the things you have to keep in mind is that you can't just feed it standard A4 paper. It will only print on special thermal paper so you'll have to factor in the cost of buying this type of paper when you consider the PJ-773.

Let's have a closer look at this printer.

First, The Specs

Brother PocketJet PJ-773
Weight 610g (including battery)
Dimensions 225mm x 55mm x 30mm
Engine Direct thermal
Functions
  • A4 Mobile Printer with USB and Wireless
  • interface - 300dpi
Standard Memory 32MB
Drop Protection 70cm (unit only), 1.2m (with PA-RC-001)
Display Type LED Power Indicator: Green, Orange, Red  LED DATA Indicator: Green, Orange, Red  LED ERROR Indicator: Green, Orange, Red  LED Wi-Fi Indicator: Blue
RRP $879

Design & Handling

The rectangular design of the Brother PJ-773 is minimalist. You have the input for the paper that runs through the centre horizontally with buttons and LED indicator lights labelled neatly in white (except for the power button which uses green). No muss no fuss.

For those of us (including myself) who are extra clumsy, the side of the printer is lined with raised dots to provide extra grip. It's hard to drop the thing even with a loose grip, which was surprising.

It's very sturdy as well. One morning I tossed it into my bag from about half a metre away. It landed with a loud thud and I thought I had damaged it but it continued to operate as normal. Crisis averted.

Features & Performance

One of the drawcards of the printer is that it features an operating system that allows for across-the-board software compatibility so that you can print from just about any computing device. Officially, the PJ-773 supports printing from smartphones, tablets and PCs that run iOS, Android, Windows and Linux straight out of the box.

I tested the mobile printer by plugging it directly into my Windows 10 PC with the miniUSB cable that was supplied in the box. It was a plug-and-play affair and the response time was impressive. From connecting the printer and selecting print on my document to the PJ-773 picking up the job took less than a few seconds.

I printed out a page of text (font style: Calibri, font size: 11) and it took just a little over 17 seconds for the PJ-773 to spit it out. Remember, the printer is only suitable for printing texts so don't expect it to impress you when you choose to print out an image. When you do use it for texts, the quality of the printouts are consistent.

The only think I really have a gripe with is that sometimes it's hard to tell which side of the thermal paper that you have to use with the PJ-773 is the printable side. If you flip it around the wrong way the ink will not appear on the page. It's especially frustrating since you can only feed the printer one paper at a time and if you're reproducing a 20-page document, one wrong flip of the paper and you'll have to go back and reprint the missing page.

The PJ-773 does support Wi-Fi and you can use it to print documents directly from your mobile phone with the AirPrint feature. You just need to make sure to set up the printer on your Wi-Fi network first.

The printer's battery life is very good and you'll get a few hours of use out of it if you're away from a power source. It also knows to turns itself off after an extended time on standby to conserve battery.

Conclusion

The Brother PocketJet Pj-773's ease of use is impressive and it's a great tool for people who are constantly on the move but still need to print documents. Those travelling abroad may also find it useful for when they have to print out e-tickets. Even small businesses that don't want to invest in an office printer but still want to print out invoices for customers will find the PJ-773 a handy device.

As mentioned, you have to keep in mind that when you use a thermal printer you'll have to continually invest in buying thermal paper, which is a bit more expensive than regular paper. If you don't mind paying that extra cost, then Brother PJ-773 is a decent choice. You don't need to buy ink refills for the printer so it might end up being a more economical option.

LH Reviews is a new weekly feature where we test new productivity software and hardware to see if it's worth the money.


Comments

    A couple of things to add. It DOES support fan fold paper for quick multi page documents. This requires either a fanfold paper holder (makes the printer about the size of a clipboard) or roll and associated holder (used in police cars). The quality is near laser, but black and white, expensive and the prints are nearly as vulnerable to browning as a receipt.

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