It's been said that beautiful things come in small packages, and if that holds true then Pentax's latest offering should be a very handsome devil indeed. The size of a rolling pin, the PocketJet 200 is in fact one of the smallest - if not, the smallest - printers ever. What's more, if Pentax's claim is true, it's the lightest in the world - and at a piffling 497 grams (half the weight of a bag of sugar), we believe them.
But miniaturisation frequently results in reduced functionality and inflated cost - and this is no exception. The PocketJet's £329 price tag seems out of all proportion to its output quality. Frankly, the standard of printed pages of text is abysmal by today's, or even yesterday's, standards.
And we're not even going to talk about the graphics output.
This is thanks to a combination of low resolution (just 200dpi, compared to much cheaper inkjets with resolutions three or four times higher) and the fact that you have to use special thermal paper. The PocketJet does not use ink to print. Instead, it literally burns an image onto specially treated heat-sensitive paper - which costs £7.05 per 100 sheets.
In fairness, a printer like this is aimed at a niche market. Some people just have to be able to print wherever they are - travelling salesmen, service engineers, and so on. And for those folks, the PocketJet does a reasonable job. What's more, there's no waiting for ink to dry, and no need to purchase costly replacement ink cartridges every couple of months.
The rechargeable battery has enough life to churn out around 30-35 pages and there's an option of using roll-fed paper at around £6.50 for 30 metres.
Pentax has also just released the PocketJet II, which costs £364, and is much the same as the 200 reviewed here but with an improved resolution of 300dpi.
As a standard part of these packages, Pentax includes a serial cable which will work with almost any handheld PC. There's also the option of purchasing an infrared adapter so that you can print cordlessly wherever you are.