PrintBureau for all your printing needs in Review – Finally, printing from the iDevice!

For many users the iPhone has become not just a phone, or a gaming platform, but a tool they use in the daily business life as well. Apps like Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite make it perfectly possible to create and edit business-grade documents and share them via a multitude of means from local Wi-Fi to cloud storage. But what is you need a hard copy? Well, there’s an app for that!

Feel free to discuss PrintBurea in our forums.

EuroSmartz Ltd has a variety of printing applications on the AppStore with PrintBureau, formerly known as PrintCentral, being the most full-featured. It can print from and to a variety of sources. And what’s even better – after the latest update it can finally print directly to most Wi-Fi printers, without the need for any desktop component. For the USB and Network ones, however, you’ll still have to use the free WePrint Server software which has an added bonus of printing over EDGE/3G.

You can get your files onto (and out of) PrintBureau in a variety of way. First and easiest – the Wi-Fi access via WebDAV. Second – the Cloud-based storage services, including Box.net, Dropbox, and Apple’s own iDisk. For some strange reason Google Docs, arguably the most used storage service, is not supported however. In case you wish to print something off the web, you can use the built-in browser to open it and print from there.

And last, but certainly not least, is e-mail. Yes, PrintBureau features a full-fledged e-mail client supporting both IMAP and POP3 to easily get your files on the iDevice. And, of course, you have access to the iPhone photo-library as well.

But we’re not here to talk about file sharing, are we? Once you got your file ready to scrawled onto a dead tree (consider your environmental responsibility before printing!), it’s a simple matter of hitting the print-button. From there you’re sent to the printer selection screen. PrintBureau automatically scans the Wi-Fi network for any printers it can use directly (via APDK or PDL protocols) or WePrint Servers set-up to act as proxy, as well offering the recent ones for quick access.

The program suggests that WePrint Server should be used for best results, though for most purposes, the default direct printing protocols should work fine. I have tried printing text, pictures and PDF documents and all turned out fine via direct printing. The PDF did look a bit blurry, but that was partly because of the source image used to create it. Don’t expect to have access to any robust printing options though – printing and the target printing tray are the extent of PrintBeureau’s options.

In case you find yourself out and about and just can’t wait to send some info you found to a printer you own, it is possible to make the WePrint Server available to the outside using some clever routing (if your desktop doesn’t have a unique internet IP) and some simple set-up in the software itself.

Visually, PrintBureau looks like something designed for Windows Mobile, about 5 years ago. Its interface, while extremely fast and feature-full, is very confusing with loads of buttons and some duplicate functionality. And the colour scheme made my eyes hurt. The only thing I liked was the rotating main-menu, but that is far from being sufficient to save the day. The server side software suffers from the same problems and looks like something designed in grade-school computer class.

With support for e-mail, cloud-based storage, Wi-Fi file sharing and built-in browser, PrintBureau’s features are. Unfortunately, the UI is outdated and confusing, but PrintBeurea is as close as you will be able to get to full-featured printing from your iDevice until Apple upgrades its iWork suite.

With this I declare PrintBureau for all your printing needs officially touched!

App Summary
Title: PrintBureau for all your printing needs Developer: EuroSmartz Ltd
Reviewed Ver: 1.2.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $12.99 App Size: 18.5 MB
  • E-mail support
  • Print Photos, Clipboard, Webpages
  • Sharing files via Wi-Fi and/or Box.net or Google Sync (+iDisk of course)
  • Direct printing to Wi-Fi printers without any server-side client required
  • Horrible UI
  • Horrible server-side software both in design and basic operations

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Have a fetish for Todo/Productivity apps on the iDevice? Browse through some of our other reviews/articles:

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well): http://twitter.com/ChiffaNe

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