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HP Officejet H470wbt mobile inkjet printer

The HP Officejet H470 Mobile Printer targets people who travel a lot yet need to print reports, photos, and brochures straight from a notebook, camera, or phone.

We tested the H470wbt model (US$350), which adds a rechargeable battery and a Bluetooth wireless adapter to the entry-level $224 unit. It weighs just 5 pounds with the battery attached, but the H470wbt is a bit bulky at 13.4 by 6.45 by 3.25 inches, so it may work better in your car than in your carry-on. (If you often work from your car, you may want to spend another $80 on a vehicle power adapter.)

I was stunned at how easily the H470wbt printed photos from my Palm Treo via the Bluetooth adapter, which plugs into a recessed USB port. The optional 802.11g print adapter ($80) fits into the same slot but was slightly trickier to configure. I had to follow the instructions carefully and use a wired USB connection for configuration before my notebook could print over Wi-Fi.

The H470 also has a single SD media card slot and a PictBridge port, which let you automatically print photos that you select using your digital camera's Digital Print Order Format feature.

In our quality tests, the H470 produced text documents full of finely formed characters. We noticed some banding and diagonal interference patterns in our challenging line art test, however. On plain paper, photos looked grainy and washed out. But when we replaced the dedicated black cartridge with an optional photo-color cartridge (giving six inks in total), the H470 printed superb images on photo paper. We saw bright, excellent colors and sharp detail. The only flaws we could spot were slight roller marks on the surface of the pictures.

For the quantities you're likely to print on the go, the H470 performs adequately. It was a little slower than HP's desktop printers in our speed tests, and fell far short of the fastest models among our Top 10 Inkjets chart. Text printed at a tolerable 7.1 pages per minute, but color graphics on plain paper came out at a mediocre 2.2 ppm. Our test photo took a pedestrian 2 minutes to print on letter-size glossy paper.

Though it offers desktop-quality printing from a wide variety of devices, the H470 is hampered by slow performance. Still, mobile users will find it a worthy competitor to Canon's portable Pixma iP90v.