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If you spend much of your working life on the move, you’ll probably carry a notebook PC with you. So, how do you get prints from it? You could pop into an Internet café and hope they have something compatible, or you can carry a printer with you. HP’s DeskJet 460wbt is designed for print-on-the-move, offering high-quality output in a small, light (comparatively) box, with battery power and easy connection through WiFi or Bluetooth.
The whole of the 460 series – you can get the printer without the wireless connections, too – has a rather different take on design from most DeskJets. You lift the cover to form a rear paper tray and prints exit straight onto the desk, with no attempt at an output tray.
The printer uses twin cartridges which can be either black and tricolour, tricolour and photo or tricolour and photo grey – it depends on what you’re printing. These are standard cartridges, common to several other HP machines, so shouldn’t be difficult to source.
On the top surface are three buttons and five led indicators, several of them multi-colour. These leds are used to indicate all kinds of status conditions and while some are obvious, like orange lights to show low ink, others are less obvious and send you to the user guide for decryption.
A double slot in the side of the printer takes CompactFlash and SD/MMC cards, but also doubles as the connection for wireless networking. Both 802.11b and Bluetooth cards are provided, in CompactFlash format, and you can plug either in (though not both at one) as needed.
At the back, along with the USB and PictBridge sockets, is a cylindrical, clip-on Lithium Ion battery pack, which HP claims will last for up to 450 pages, coincidentally that’s also the rated capacity of the ink cartridges.
The easiest installation option is USB, where setup is very straightforward and follows the usual ‘install the driver then plug in the printer’ approach. If you want to use the printer as a WiFi device, you’re recommended still to install via USB first, before running a second installation for 802.11, after which you can disconnect the USB cable and the printer will work wirelessly.
You can set the DeskJet 460wbt to work with ad hoc or infrastructure networks and in our tests it worked first time with our infrastructure set up. With a portable printer, you’re likely to want it to work with multiple networks and you can store profiles for up to three different networks on board.