Lantronix xPrintServer Home Edition (Review)
The xPrintServer Home Edition box reads, “iPad & iPhone Printing Made Easy. Print From All Your iOS Devices To Virtually Any Printer.” And Lantronix has adhered to ‘truthful advertising’ because the xPrintServer Home Edition (xPrintServer) does exactly that and it does so without any fancy setup or hassles. It couldn’t be any easier to do so, with the xPrintServer’s two-step process.
- Connect the xPrintServer to power, your network, and printer.
- Print from your iPad, iPhone, or computer.
In addition to printing from your iPad and iPhone, you can also print from Macs and Windows computers. However, Windows 8 seems to have a problem with Bonjour printing and my Mac mini works at first and then doesn’t print again. Windows 7, iPad, and iPhone work great with it.
I’ve used other print servers, from the small generic and inexpensive ones on up to the ones costing several hundred dollars and the Lantronix xPrintServer Home Edition falls into the category of an individual home use unit as advertised. I wouldn’t use it for a small business unless all of my employees used Windows 7 and iPads because it doesn’t seem to work consistently with Mac and I can’t get it to work with Windows 8.x at all.
That said, I’m not sure whether the failure to print is with the Lantronix unit , the Bonjour printing software, or perhaps with my somewhat outdated HP OfficeJet J3680 All-in-One printer. Since it does print with Windows 7 and our iPads, I have to assume it is the Bonjour printing software.
The xPrintServer takes up very little space. It has the approximate dimensions of an iPhone 5, but about two to three times the thickness. It does require its own AC power source, a network connection, and a USB connected printer plugged into it. So, while the unit is small, it still requires three wires for power and connectivity. That’s not a negative statement; just a fact.
The xPrintServer does what it’s supposed to do: print. For those systems it works with, it’s never failed or hesitated to work in any way.
Why it’s Frugal: The Lantronix xPrintServer Home Edition is a frugal solution for home users who need to print from a short list of supported devices to a single printer and have no other means to do so. The $99.95 price tag is a little off-putting, but still within the range of a home-oriented gadget.
Here’s how it works from an iPhone:
Open an app. I’m using PlainText. In that app, select a document to print. See Lantronix 1.
Tap the Share button at the bottom center of the screen to see the options given in figure Lantronix 2.
Tap Print from the screen as shown in Lantronix 3.
Finally, be sure that your printer is listed and then tap Print to send the file to the printer.
Apple devices should find the printer automatically and display it for you. The printer might not appear immediately, but if you attempt to find the printer by running through these four steps and then try again in a minute or two, the printer should appear for you to use.
The Lantronix xPrintServer is a good device and performs flawlessly. It offloads print jobs quickly and never hesitates or loses a print job. The web interface is simple and intuitive to use–that is, if you ever need to use it, which you probably won’t. Just know that it’s there if you need it.
Overall, I like the xPrintServer. I just wish that support for Mac OS X and for Windows 8 was there, but again, I don’t think this is necessarily the Lantronix product’s fault. I think it’s with the Bonjour software.
Recommendation: If you have Windows 7 and iOS devices, buy it; it works.