The Lantronix xPrintServer Office Edition has a number of uses which might not be particularly glamorous, but are nevertheless very handy. It enables you to wirelessly print from your iPad or iPhone to most recently used printers. It can also turn a standard USB printer into a shareable network printer.

We tested the Office Edition, but there is a slightly cheaper Home Edition that loses some of the more advanced printer server management functions. If you want a simple plug and play device for turning your printer into a wireless shared device, we can tell you right away that this isn't the product for you.

If you're looking for a device that enables a number of people to access the same printer, and print from mobile devices without having to splash out on a pricey AirPrint-compatible printer, then the Lantronix xPrintServer Office Edition is worth considering.

It's a rather small and compact device that will nestle in quite nicely next to a printer. You'll need a spare power outlet and access to an Ethernet network cable to hook up the printer (which plugs into the Lantronix xPrintServer Office Edition via the USB port).

You can connect up to eight USB printers, though you'll need a USB hub such as the Targus USB Hub to add additional printers.

Setting up and configuring the Lantronix xPrintServer Office Edition was pleasantly straightforward, with the supplied software scanning and detecting our printer without a problem.

There's support for around 4,000 printers, so as long as you have a reasonably recent printer from a popular manufacturer then you shouldn't have any problems. We tried it with both a network printer and a USB one, and both times the Lantronix xPrintServer Office Edition found them in only a few seconds. Once located, any additional drivers were downloaded and we were good to go.

Opening up a web page on an iPhone and sending it to print took a couple of touches, and sure enough, the printer kicked into life and our printed web page was produced.

Verdict

We were very impressed with the ease of setting up the Lantronix xPrintServer Office Edition, but a quick word of caution. We were lucky enough to have two printers that were recent, popular and on the list of Lantronix's supported printers.While 4,000 is an impressive number, there is always the chance that your printer is not supported. There may be ways around that, but you'll be looking at a much more frustrating installation experience.

The web-based print server options were clear and easy to use, but if you're just looking to hook one printer up for home use, we'd recommend saving money and going for the Home version instead.

First reviewed 22 August 2013