This is a very different printer, in almost every way, from those we normally review. It's a portable device, designed for people on the road who need to get quick paper records of transactions from their notebooks or PDAs. It uses a full-width thermal print head to print on coated sheets of thin, A7 paper, and has both a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery and integral Bluetooth support.
The MPrint MW-140BT is about the size and shape of a paperback poetry book, though more weighty than most, and is unusual in other ways, too. In its top left-hand corner are multi-coloured indicator lights for battery state, power and Bluetooth activity.
About three quarters of the way down its brushed-aluminium front face is a slit running the full width of the printer and this is where the slivers of paper eject as you print. The pack of 50 sheets of thermal paper supplied with the MPrint MW-140BT fits under a hinged top cover. You simply fold the top of the pack back and clip the whole thing into the printer, without having to remove the paper.
Down the left-hand side of the machine are sockets for a USB 2.0 connection and a power supply, a slide switch to activate the Bluetooth transceiver and a pushbutton power switch. The Lithium-ion battery recharges automatically whenever the power supply is connected, and will run the printer for up to 100 A7 pages on a single charge.
As well as the A7 paper, Brother sells labels in three sizes: one, two and four to the A7 sheet. This gives the device a useful extra function.
The printer is designed to work with Windows-based computers, Pocket PCs and Palm PDAs. It has software for each of these three, though to work with the last two, the devices must have Bluetooth capability.
USB 2.0 installation is pretty straightforward, in typical ‘install the software then plug in the printer’ style, though Bluetooth setup is more complex. One of the main things to check is that both your PC or PDA and the printer think they're working through the same virtual Bluetooth serial port. We had the printer thinking it was on COM7, while our test PC was oblivious, as it was working feverishly on COM8.
Once it's all set up right, though, printing is pretty straightforward, using either connection method. Brother supplies an idiosyncratic Windows applet called SnapSpot. This consists of a small page editor – where you can add simple graphics and text, background textures and imported photo elements – and the SnapSpot Snapper.