In the last piece, Frickin’ Lasers, I wrote about ditching your inkjet printer and switching to a color laser printer. I’ve heard from a few people that they just couldn’t get rid of their current “all in one” printer because it doubles as a photocopier. So I get asked about buying an “all in one color laser printer”.

Have you seen those things? They’re like a death star in your living room! Just take a look at the Brother MFC9130, which takes up more than twice the space of the Samsung CL-410W that I recommended. Plus it’s double the weight at about a 50 pound printer – just wait til your kids drop that on the floor while they’re trying to move it. And of course the price. That’s also about double.

Here’s what I recommend instead: use your phone.

It used to be that people would use their scanner to digitize reams of 4×6 photos, but I don’t see that happening much any more. We’re all taking digital pictures. The rest of the time that I saw people using their scanners or their all-in-one printer was to make a copy of a document or a recipe. If you’re careful and use a room with decent lighting, you will find that your phone can do a good enough job for those cases.

The steps are quite simple:

  1. Download a mobile app and set it up
  2. Take a picture with your phone’s camera
  3. Open up the mobile app, hit print, and select the photo you just took


The only real requirement here is that you followed my previous advice and bought a network printer. You did that, right? OK, good. On your mobile phone, open up the app store and search for your printer manufacturer followed by the words “mobile print” (ie: “Samsung mobile print” or “Brother mobile print”). In case you are having problems finding the app, here are a few links for the popular printers:

My network printer is already 3.5 years old and it’s supported by the Samsung mobile print app, so even if your printer isn’t brand new there’s a good chance it will work. If you’re buying a new printer, look for something like “supports mobile printing” or “print from your phone” on the box.

Enjoy your pocket photocopier!


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