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Plenty of paper has been saved thanks to the iPhone and other portable devices: we no longer need to jot down lists and phone numbers or even snag the daily newspaper. As such, the Little Printer’s concept of bringing paper back into our phone-centric lifestyles feels like a novelty, but it’s hard to turn away such an adorable device. Still, much as we might want the Little Printer in our homes, considering its abundance of charm, we can’t figure out when or why we’d actually need it.
The Little Printer is a compact thermal printer, much like those used in cash registers, which can print out all sorts of content using BERG Cloud’s web interface: news headlines, the top daily Instagram photo from your friends, foldable origami animals, and a weather forecast. Setting up the device is painless; simply link up the included bridge with your wireless router and then plug in the printer, which spits out a code when connected. Once you pair the Little Printer to your account via the web shell, which you’ll access via smartphone, you can then subscribe to dozens of feeds, or send text notes over the cloud that’ll pop out of the device.
It’s a marvelously charismatic little gadget. The Little Printer displays a cartoonish face, which is printed at the tail end of each slip to give it personality, and the little printouts land on a pair of orange holders meant to resemble legs. While photos don’t turn out very clear on the black-and-white thermal paper, text and drawings both look nice, and in addition to sending your own messages to Little Printer, you can add pals’ email addresses to give them the ability to shoot you little text printouts over the cloud.
Still, we struggle to see how the printouts improve on their digital counterparts. Sure, we can see Instagram and Flickr photos, as well as a list of Foursquare check-ins, but that’s all better experienced via apps. It’ll print news headlines, but we can’t click them on paper to read the stories. Getting a daily printout of a constellation, a small puzzle, or a Tetris piece is fun, but at $219 for the starter kit, the Little Printer’s price and aspirations don’t match up to its current abilities and purpose.
The bottom line. Our love affair with Little Printer’s fetching design sadly doesn’t extend to its practical use or lavish entry fee.
Smartphone (iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone), wireless router
Incredibly attractive and minimal design. Easy to set up and maintain. Dozens of subscription options with more to come.
Most content is better (and more easily) experienced on your phone instead of via paper. Starter kit is very expensive for what it’s able to do.