It's happening. Mom is thinking about getting an iPad. The problem? Mom likes hard copies of all the cool table setting inspirations and recipes she finds online. Don't ask us where she files all those print-outs away, we don't know -- perhaps she has an extra-dimensional filing cabinet or something. The point is, we want to make sure it's easy to print stuff from an iPad, otherwise she'll just go back to her laptop, and the tablet will collect dust. Printer Pro by Readdle
just might be the app we need to do that. It provides an easy-to-use and familiar set of printing options to send documents to a printer over Wi-Fi, as well as making sure they print up nice and neat.
First, set up is very simple. If the printer is attached to a specific system on the network, the user can download the free desktop software at the Readdle website
for either Mac or Windows -- we tried it with a Windows 7 laptop. The software is super simple and streamlines. It sits in the system tray, and it's just there for the user to select which connected printer the app should default to, and if it launches at startup or not. Imagine that; a program that makes it really easy to turn off launch at startup!
With Printer Pro on our iPad Mini 2 and an iPhone 5, we were able to send documents to printers that were both connected to a laptop or wirelessly hanging out on our home network. In both cases, the print jobs spooled to the printer in short order, or in what we define as "short order," based on our expectations of how long it takes a job to be sent over certain Wi-Fi networks in our life. It all just works, easily and simply. If that's all it did, we would be happy.
Lucky for us, there's more. We really like that Printer Pro provides what the developer calls "desktop class printing." The native Print feature on iOS allows the user to indicate how many copies they want printed, and that's it. Printer Pro gives the user many of the options available on computers. In particular, we like the options to indicate which specific pages to print -- aka "Print Range" -- and the ability to put multiple pages of a document on a single sheet.
Near the bottom of the menu, the user can choose to have one to 16 pages be shrunk down and tiled onto a single page for printing. We really hate wasting printer paper, and being able to print two parts of an online recipe on a single sheet of paper without any extra work on our part is pretty great.
The user will have to add Printer Pro as an option in each of the apps where it can be used. Hit the "share" icon, and then scroll over to the bottom "More" button to add Printer Pro as an option next to the native print button. That's a bit inefficient, but it's more a shortcoming to iOS than it is to Printer Pro. The other disappointing thing is that we can't use Printer Pro in iBooks to print directly, but again it's because of how iBooks works.
Overall, Printer Pro gave us options where we had none before, and that's always a good thing in our book. Printer Pro
is available for $7 from the App Store. There's also Printer Pro Lite
available for free on the App Store, so the user can test connecting the app with how their printers are set up on their network.
Who Printer Pro is for:
People who work extensively on mobile devices, and would like a more robust set of features to print directly from those mobile devices.
Who Printer Pro is not for:
Users who aren't printing much, and particularly not printing things that are more than one page, from their mobile devices.
-- Michelle Elbert (@mcelbert