It can be tough to track down a printer when you need to print something in a pinch. That's the problem ZUta Labs hopes to solve with a new superportable printer that's small enough to fit into your purse, briefcase or even your suitcase during your next business trip. The ZUta printer rolls across a sheet of paper, using a set of wheels on its underside, to print out documents from anywhere.
The robotic ink-jet printer is about the size of a large hamburger, so it'll easily fit inside just about any bag. It links with your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, with support for any device that can detect a wireless printer. Printing doesn't require any special software — just load a document on your smartphone, and send it to the ZUta as if it were any other printer.
The ZUta's round shape tapers to a 90-degree corner on one side, which you'll line up with the top-left corner of each sheet of paper you want to print on. The device doesn't use any sensors to measure the size of the paper on which it's printing. Instead, you'll indicate the document size within the print settings of the app you're printing from, and then line up the ZUta and let it go. ZUta Labs says the printer works on pages about as small as an envelope, with no real upper limit for printing size.
It takes about a minute to print one page of text. If you're printing multiple pages, the ZUta will stop at the end of each. To continue the print job, just pick it up and set it on the next page; then, press a button to tell it to continue. ZUta Labs says the device can print for about an hour nonstop before it needs to be recharged via a standard USB connection.
This month, I had the chance to see the ZUta printer in action. I was especially impressed by how easy it was to set up the device. I also noticed that it produced clean, clear documents that look as good as anything printed on my office's standard ink-jet printer.
The ZUta printer uses a custom ink-jet cartridge that you'll order straight from ZUta Labs. Refills cost $20 each, or two for $30. Currently, only black ink is available, but the company says it plans to provide color cartridges in the future.
The device is available for preorder now for $199, and will ship in September. Order now if you want the discounted price — ZUta Labs says it plans to raise the price to $250.