The standard capacity ink tanks mean that the 470b is capable of normal printing in a tight spot, however the limited 50-page cassette and recommended duty cycle of only 500 pages per month mean that it’s not going to replace your current home or office printer.
On the road however, these issues are much less relevant and the 470b begins to shine. When away from mains power, the 470b is powered from the included 11-volt 2300mAh battery, with an advertised output of a massive 480 pages off one charge.
While we weren’t able to fully investigate this claim, it powered through our torture test with more battery remaining than ink, so battery life shouldn’t be an issue for the road warrior.
Add to this either of the optional Wi-Fi or Bluetooth modules and it becomes possible to print from hand-held devices or from a laptop conveniently without using cables at all.
Despite its size, the 470b produced some very high quality results. The unit uses HP’s new Vivera inks, and it certainly benefits from the newer technology.
Our photos and images looked fantastic, with good colour matching and text was crisp and dark as well. This quality is reasonably priced too, with ink setting you back $20 for 440 black and white pages and $37 for 600 in colour.
Speed, however, was where performance fell down dramatically. Using default settings, the 470b managed only 3.7ppm in both black and colour, well shy of the stated 22ppm.
Even though portable printers have been around for a while, they haven’t really taken a foothold. Traditionally they’re slow, expensive to run and particularly unreliable. While the 470b has addressed some of these issues it’s still not a magic bullet.
Overall it’s a great printer for the road, but there are better printers available for most other purposes, such as either of the A-listed Canons we looked at this month.
A great printer for the road with a microscopic footprint, but average performance holds it back from greatness.