Review: Universal printer drivers from Xerox, HP aren't so universal

Xerox's Mobile Express and HP's Universal Printer Driver let you use one driver for many devices. Too bad they're not truly universal.

Instead of a list of IP addresses, UPD offers a list of model name and numbers.

Instead of a list of IP addresses, UPD offers a list of model name and numbers.

Another note: While I was able to print to every office printer I had previously configured and added to My Printers during my visit, the discovery tool could not see any of those printers when viewed through the company's VPN (HP's UPD had the same problem). A spokesperson from Xerox stated that the discovery tool would not work if SMTP packets are being filtered at the router. So if you're using a VPN, you may be out of luck.

Although I have no PostScript printers at home, I ran the discovery tool anyway to see what would happen. It didn't find my Lexmark all-in-one printer, but it did discover the PCL-only LaserJet 1018. However, when I tried to print to it, the print job appeared to spool from Microsoft Word but went nowhere.

According to product manager Michelon, Mobile Express can't detect whether a printer supports PostScript or not over a USB connection. "Our choice was to either not have [Mobile Express] discover locally connected USB print devices other than supported Xerox products, or discover all locally connected USB print devices," he says. Xerox chose the latter. The risk, he acknowledges, is that users will choose an unsupported device.

Xerox also confirmed that Mobile Express has an issue with printers that support Windows Graphical Device Interface. During setup, Mobile Express gives users the option to add printers that have already been installed in the Printers and Faxes control panel -- including non-PostScript devices that won't work with Mobile Express. "This has been addressed, and [an updated version] will be rolled out to the public in the near future," says Michelon.

On a more positive note, Mobile Express worked fine in my satellite office. It was able to find my LaserJet 1200, which is a PostScript printer, and I was able to print to that without problems.

HP Universal Print Driver

HP offers three variations of UPD: for HP PCL 5, PCL 6 or PostScript printers. I chose the PCL 6 version, an 18.5MB download.

UPD lets you choose between what HP calls Traditional and Dynamic modes. In the former, you choose one printer to map to and that becomes the permanent, default printer. Since that defeated the purpose of my using the driver, I chose Dynamic mode, which lets you change your printer destination with your location.

Next, UPD lets you set up your printers. It can search for HP printers by IP address, search for all available networked printers, or map to a shared printer (i.e., \EmachinesLaserJet1018).

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags printer drivers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert L. Mitchell

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?