The Brother PocketJet PJ-773 is an interesting printer. Thermal printer's aren't for everyone, but if you're looking for a super-portable, rugged little printer that will go any-where, the PJ-773 could be perfect for you.
First, who’s it not for? Well, if you need to print in colour, or on plain paper, or you have to print photos or complex graphics with greyscale shading, then you might want to keep looking. On the other hand, if all you print is text, or simple, black-and-white line art, and if you’re happy keeping a supply of thermal paper on hand, then the PocketJet will tick all the boxes for your needs.
The first thing you’ll notice is how compact this unit is, barely wider than the A4 sheet you feed into it while also being remarkably sturdy, Brother obviously built this thing to take a beating. There’s no ink to spill or leak, so you can chuck it in your bag and not worry about it making a mess. It supports wireless printing so you don’t need to pack any cables or plug anything in, and with its battery installed you don’t need external power. It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit any-where — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
I regularly work with clients at cafes, events, or co-working spaces, building content using worksheets from my resource library. iPads have been pretty good for this: I can access my whole resource library, load up any worksheet I need, work on it directly on the device, and when we’re done I can email it to the client, or drop it in Slack.
As good as digital tools are for this kind of work, it is not quite the same experience as drawing with a marker on actual sheets of paper, producing real, physical artefacts. With the PocketJet, I get the best of both worlds. All my worksheets are stored on the iPad and I just print whichever one I need right over AirPrint — in a pinch, I’ve even printed worksheets from my phone! — and in a few moments we’re working together on real sheets of paper. The PJ-773 spits paper out surprisingly quickly at a few sec-onds per page.
This PocketJet uses thermal paper, and you have to load the sheet feeder carefully. Put the paper in wrong-side up and you will print blanks. I got this wrong a couple of times; however it becomes pretty intuitive once you are used to it.
There were a couple of things I was worried about before I started using the printer such as the paper smelling like old receipts, sheets curling or that the print out would fade soon after printing. However these were quickly debunked once I got some printing on the way. The paper didn’t smell funny, the pages stayed nice and flat and the print out has not fade even after leaving a few sheets out in full sun all afternoon!
Brother’s thermal paper feels (slightly) plastic to touch, but it dries immediately, doesn’t smudge, and takes pen ink, markers, and pencils really well.
I get a full day’s use from a single battery and I keep a spare charging in the office so I can swap in a fresh battery when I’m heading out. Even if it did run flat, I could always top it up with a USB cable and my laptop or the car’s accessory charger.
Overall, I really like this printer and the convenience it gives me when I am working on the move. I rate this 4 out of 5 stars and would highly recommend it as an efficient and economical printer.