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Lantronix, a company well versed as a global provider of smart networking and communications solutions, has come up with its xPrintServer Cloud Print solution. This product has been developed to enable data to be sent from Chromebook and Android devices to a range of network based printers. The Lantronix’s kit consists of an xPrintServer unit, wall mounting brackets with appropriate screws, a power lead with a choice of adapter plugs for different geographical areas, Ethernet cable and a Quick Start Guide. In addition you will need to download the free Google Cloud Print app which needs to be installed on each of the mobile devices that will be taking advantage of the xPrintServer functionality.
The xPrintServer unit hardly looks all that impressive as this small black box, with dimensions of 112 x 58 x 28mm (L x W x D), sits on the desktop or is mounted on the wall. A Lantronix logo decorates the top of the unit with the letter “X” glowing red to indicate status issues during its operation. Some might find this pulsing to be a little disconcerting – I know I did. Power, Ethernet and USB connection options are located along the right edge of the box. The Ethernet and USB connections give you the choice of including printers that link via Wi-Fi or USB.
Setting up this Lantronix xPrintServer kit requires the user to have a Google account. Actually the Google account is not a requirement of the xPrintServer but it is needed to access the Google Cloud Print service which provides the backbone for this solution. It most cases you will already have a Google account set up when you first fire up your smartphone or tablet but if this is not the case then the Quick Start Guide provides the necessary instructions.
Located on the base of the xPrintServer unit is a sticker with a QR code. This can be used to automatically log onto the actual xPrintServer set up page. The necessary URL is included in the Quick Start Guide if you prefer to do this manually. You will need to enter the serial number, user name and password which are all on the aforementioned sticker. The xPrintServer will automatically detect available printer. With over 4000 models from companies such as HP, Toshiba, Ricoh, Xerox and Epson supported, there should be no issues over an automatic registration of those found. But there will be some exceptions as I discovered with the Epson L355 model which is not supported. As a result I would suggest checking to see if your printer is supported before opting for this product.
Mobile devices will need to be host to the free Goggle Cloud Print app. As with the set up procedure, you have a choice when carrying out this operation. The Quick Start Guide provides you with a QR code for automatic linking to the appropriate app for downloading. However, if you prefer, you can opt for a more manual approach be checking out the Play Store for the app before downloading it on to the devices you intend using with the xPrintServer solution.
Documents are selected for printing from within whichever app is acting as the host for them. By opting for the Share option from the apps dropdown menu, you can select the printer and then the Google Cloud Print option from the list of available apps. After viewing a Print Preview, the document can then be sent to the printed for producing a hard copy.
xPrintServer can also work with devices running Chrome. Specific instructions for setting up the xPrintServer with Chrome are included in the Quick Start Guide. Although I have not tested this particular aspect, it looks relatively straightforward and I would not expect any problems. There are also instructions for using the xPrintServer USB option with either Mac OC and different versions of Windows with the latter requiring the installing of Bonjour Print Services. Amazon.co.uk has this product listed at £136 which seems to come off second best with the product’s dollar price of $149.95.
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