PrintCentral for iPhone Review
iPhone App
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PrintCentral for iPhone Review

Our Review by Chris Kirby on January 23rd, 2011
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PRINCE OF PRINTING
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PrintCentral packs a pretty big bang for the buck; if only it were more intuitive.

Price: $7.99
Version Reviewed: 1.7.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Like many of you, I anxiously awaited the release of iOS 4.2, mostly for its promise of printing to wireless printers. Unfortunately, what we got was support for a tiny handful of printers and the promise that this support would continue to grow over time. While we wait, however, several app developers have come to the rescue - chief among these Eurosmartz, creator of PrintCentral for the iPhone and iPad.

PrintCentral allows you to print almost any document from a wide variety of sources - chief among these your email, iDisk, WebDAV server, Dropbox, and Google Docs accounts. Simply enter your account information and PrintCentral will show you the files. Click the check box next to the file you want, and PrintCentral will download it to your iPhone so you can print it directly. Provided you have a WiFi connection to your wireless printer, you should be able to print the file immediately.

My experience with PrintCentral has generally been a positive one, though there are some glitches and hangups that potential buyers need to know about. The home screen for the app features a wheel of options. Do you want to print a photo, a document, a web page, an email or something else? This main wheel can get you there. However, once you click on a main area it's less clear what you're supposed to do. I had to spend a significant amount of time going through the help file (which is, admittedly, useful, large and comprehensive) to figure out how to add my Dropbox account. It would be great if Eurosmartz could make options such as this more obvious and intuitive from the home screen. Once my Dropbox account was loaded, however, it was easy to navigate and find the PDF I wanted to print.

And print it did - in relatively quick fashion. I used my home wireless Canon Pixma MP560, and PrintCentral found the printer and printed to it effortlessly. A few caveats, though: the print quality was okay and nothing spectacular (expect fonts to be a bit jaggy and/or fuzzy) and my printer wanted to print the document more than once. When I cancelled the process, my printer stalled and is, even as a I write this, completely locked on a "Printing from PC" screen. Clearly, printing from iOS devices is still not an exact science.

PrintCentral also offers several additional features that make it worth the $7.99 price. Chief among these is the ability to turn your iPhone into a WiFi hard drive for your PC, and (if someone else has the PrintCentral app installed on his/her phone) the ability to copy and transfer files between iPhones. These are useful bonuses, but it's the core functionality of PrintCentral that will get users most interested, at least until Apple issues a better handling of printing in iOS.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

PrintCentral for iPhone screenshot 1 PrintCentral for iPhone screenshot 2 PrintCentral for iPhone screenshot 3 PrintCentral for iPhone screenshot 4 PrintCentral for iPhone screenshot 5
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