Last May saw the arrival of a mobile printing app for Dell printers for Android users. Now, users of Apple mobile devices have a similar app with the recent launch of Mobile Print App for Dell. With it, one can print from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (I tested with an iPad) over a Wi-Fi connection to a compatible Dell printer or MFP. One can print e-mail attachments, photos from your iThing’s camera roll or albums, Web pages, text stored to the clipboard, or documents stored in the cloud (in Dropbox or Box.net).
This free app works well enough as far as it goes. Enhancements we’d like to see include support for additional cloud-based services, a text-based help system, and scanning functionality, as well as compatibility with more Dell printers and MFPs. But, as is, it’s well worth a download by anyone interested in printing to a compatible Dell printer from an iPad or iPhone.
Mobile Print App for Dell is made by Thinxtream Technologies, the designers of PrintJinni for Epson, which has since been phased out in favor of a more generalized PrintJinni app that supports printing from printers from various manufacturers, including some Dell laser printers and MFPs. PrintJinni offers support and cloud-based services for a nominal fee after a 30-day trial period is over. Mobile Print App, though, is made exclusively for Dell printers, is free of charge, and doesn’t offer PrintJinni’s cloud-based services (though you can print from Dropbox or Box.Net).
Not surprisingly, Mobile Print App for Dell is similar to the PrintJinni app in format. The Home screen has six main sections, My Documents, My Photos, Webpage Printing, Paste Board, Web Storage, and Help, along with Manage Printers and Settings buttons. Whatever source you’re printing from, you’re presented with the same options: You’re given the choice of printer, page size (letter, A4, or A5), the number of copies (up to 9), page range, and color.
Mobile Print App for Dell runs on both the iPhone and iPad, with no significant difference in the interface and features. Although this review is for the iPad version, I also did some testing with my iPhone 5, with similar results. The app supports a select group of recent Dell printers and MFPs
From My Documents, you can print out documents you’ve saved to your iPad. I printed out PDFs, Word, and Excel documents without any issues. From My Photos, you can browse your photo albums, select photos, and print them out. You can enlarge photos by stretching them on your iPad’s screen.
With Webpage Printing, a mini Web browser lets you type in a URL, print out a Web page, and save a page to My Documents for later printing. Pages you’ve accessed will remain in memory, and you can also save a PDF of a page to your My Documents folder, so you can preserve the current content even if the page itself updates.
Rather than being text-based, Help is in the form of YouTube videos linked to from a master page. Topics include Installation; Printing Documents; Printing Photos; Printing from Web Storage; Printing Webpages; Printing Copied Content using Paste Board; and Managing Printers. They are fine for what they are, though I would prefer to have text-based help, as well. For one thing, if your Wi-Fi connection is not good, it may impact your ability to load and watch the videos, as well as to print. Also, while videos can be useful, there are times when you just want to quickly scan a document instead of taking the time to watch a whole video.
Web storage lets you access your files stored in either of two cloud-based storage sites, Dropbox and Box.net. I tried Dell’s app with Dropbox; it opened the Dropbox site (and saves your login information). When you click on a document, the app opens it, and asks you if you want to Print to Dell; if so, the app opens the document and lets you print as you would any other document. It’s admittedly a bit convoluted. Alternately, if you’re already in Dropbox, you can give the Print to Dell command from there.
From Paste Board, the app will print material (text, photos, parts of Web pages, etc.) that you’ve copied to your clipboard. Click Paste, and the material will appear in a window, and you can print from there.
About half of the mobile printing apps geared to printers from a particular manufacturer, including Samsung Mobile Print (for iPad) , Epson iPrint 2.0 (for iPad) , and HP ePrint Home & Biz v. 4.1 (for iPhone), let you initiate scans from compatible MFPs and save them on your device. Mobile Print App for Dell is strictly for printing, which, by and large, it does very well—if you happen to have one of the printers it supports. Among compatible printers that PCMag.com has reviewed are the Editors’ Choice Dell C3765dnf, the Dell C1765nfw, and the Dell 5130cdn.
The app could use support for printing from more cloud-based services, and text-based Help in addition to videos would be beneficial. But as is, this free app is quite useful, and a must download for anyone interested in printing from an iOS device to a compatible Dell laser printer or MFP.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc