Epson’s iPhone printing app hits bottleneck with emailed docs

Printer maker Epson Corp. recently launched a free upgrade to its PrintJinni mobile printing application for the iPhone. ITBusiness.ca’s own IT department tested the app on Epson’s own Workforce 633 all-in-one wireless printer.

We found the WorkForce 633 an adequate printer for home and small office use, but came to the conclusion that the PrintJinni app developed by Epson and Thinxstream Technologies was sluggish for practical workplace printing.

In this video, Matt Panchalingam, our IT manager, and Richard Boelens, IT specialist for ITBusiness.ca and IT World Canada, talk about what they liked and didn’t like about the PrintJinni and Epson’s WorkForce 633 all-in-one wireless printer.

Did you recently test or deploy a software tool or tech equipment for you business? Tell us about it, we could feature your review and company on ITBusiness.ca. Contact, Nestor Arellano at narellano@itworldcanada.com.

The PrintJinni allows users of Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad on both iOS 3 and iOS 4 platforms to print a variety of Microsoft Office documents from an Apple MobileMe or Gmail or Microsoft Exchange or AOL email account. Users only have to email the document that needs to be printed to themselves and then print that attachment through any of Epson’s printers including the WorkForce, Artisan, Stylus and NX models.

Among the PrintJinni’s features are:

  • Prints PDF, Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents (Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007, Macintosh versions 2004 and 2008), and JPEG e-mail attachments;
  • Prints Web pages by address (URL);
  • Works directly with Apple’s Mail app (POP3 and IMAP accounts) to preview and print e-mail attachments;
  • Provides built-in attachment support for Apple MobileMe, Gmail, Microsoft Exchange and AOL, and other IMAP e-mail accounts.

“Unlike other mobile printing solutions, PrintJinni allows users to easily download, preview and wirelessly print e-mail attachments that maintain their original formatting without deploying additional software,” said Gregg Brunnick, group product manager, consumer ink jets, for Epson North America.

But the email portion of the process is where the bottleneck appears, according to Matt Panchalingam, IT manager for ITBusiness.ca and IT World Canada. Users need to set up an email account in order to print using the PrintJinni.

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The PrintJinni can be used without an email account, but it will only print out PDFs and native files to the printer. Typical workplace documents such as Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, would require an email account, he said.

“I found this process cumbersome. Sending an email to myself to print a document is unnecessary and stretches out the process,” said Panchalingam.

In our test, it took Panchalingam four to five minutes to email a document to his own email account and then have it printed through the PrintJinni. “To be honest, I can use my laptop or computer, connect to the printer and print my document from there and it would still be faster.”

Faster mobile printing

For those seeking a faster alternative, Panchalingam said, users can look to Apple’s own AirPrint mobile printing app. “You can just download the app and print from it. Just two steps, its fast and hassle free.”
Panchalingam says that HP is currently the only manufacturer to support AirPrint.

Related story – Why your small business should put printing in the cloud

Boelens, IT World Canada’s IT specialist, also lamented that Thinxstream and Epson appear to have neglected other mobile platforms for now. “Our IT team members use a variety of phones including the Android and BlackBerry handsets. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t develop a mobile app for these devices as well.”

WorKforce 633 is a good small office printer

Both Panchalingam and Boelens found Epson’s WorkForce 633 as an ideal personal or small office printer.

Epson claims that the WorkForce 633 is the fastest printer in its class when it comes to one and two-sided printing. According to the company it clocks in at about 15 pages per minute printing in black and white, and 7. 2 pages per minute using colour ink.

Boelens said the printer was very fast in printing out native documents such as the unit’s spec sheets. “It was literally spitting out the pages at my face when I tried it.”

But when if comes to documents that needed to be downloaded, the printer was definitely sluggish, he said. A 60-page stack of documents using black ink, took our IT team about 40 minutes to print on the WorkForce 633.

This said, Panchalingam and Boelens found the printer a good bargain for the price of $176.99 to $199.95 at most Canadian stores. Ink cartridges start at $28.49 for black ink and $55.99 for colour.
He said print quality was good whether for printing documents or colour photos. The printer’s other features such as scanning, copying and faxing also functioned as expected.

“This is a fine printer for the price, if you’re looking for something to use at home or in a small office,” he said.

“It’s very easy to set-up and it is very user friendly. Non-techie workers or consumers will have no problems operating it,” he said.

Boelens also liked the fact that the WorkForce provides users with adequate feedback. For instance, in setting the printer up, one of the pieces didn’t sit properly. “The printer immediately sensed this and told me which piece wasn’t in properly and how to correct the problem. Other printers would have given me an error code and left it to me to figure out what was wrong.”

Boelen said he was turned off by the flimsiness of the printer’s feeding tray. “All other parts were sturdy but the tray was flimsy. This shouldn’t be because this is one part that is prone to be used a pulled out and slammed in a lot.”

Final verdict

For its price and stated purpose, the Epson WorkForce 633 is an ideal family or small office printer.

If you want fast mobile printing though, you could do better than the PrintJinni.

If you would like to share your review of a recent software or tech equipment deployment for your business, contact, Nestor Arellano at narellano@itworldcanada.com. We could feature your review and company on ITBusiness.ca.

Nestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.

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