Review – Presto Printer Mailbox

Mother’s Day is coming up, and those of your still looking for the perfect gift, may want to take a look at a new kind of Printer called “Presto”.

I first saw the Presto printer on an infomercial styled ad on BBC America. It looked like one of those ideas that really should have been thought of before now. When I noticed it was Mac compatible (since everything is web-based it will work on any OS capable of running the website) I contacted the company to see if we could get a unit in for review, and it arrived a few weeks ago.

Now, before I go any further let me explain just what the Presto is. Presto is an HP built printer that works completely independently of a computer. The only thing needed to hook up a Presto is a wall and phone outlet. The machine is designed as a “printer mailbox” for family members that do not use computers.

If you have a Mother or Grandmother that you wish you could email – this device is perfect for them.

The printer dials-in to the Presto site several times a day, fetches any current email, formats it in an easy to read manner, then prints it out, including the phone number of the person that sent the email so that you’re loved one will know who to contact if they want to talk about the email or pictures they received. The Presto service is $9.95 a month, and no other Internet account is required.

The Printer is set up through the Presto website, and you – as the administrator of the account – control who can send the Presto unit email, making it virtually impossible for the box to get spam. The site also tells you the ink levels of the machine, so you’ll know when it needs to be changed out (only one cartridge is needed, making it very simple to do), and even includes news articles, games, and other fun stuff that you can send to the mail box at no additional charge.

To truly test it out, My mother-in-law set up the machine, and then took it to her mother’s retirement home to see how it would work. For the most part the user interface online is easy to understand – but sometimes it over simplifies things to a point that was slightly confusing to us regular computer users.

Still, that’s not a very large complaint. The box works perfectly, and it couldn’t be easier to send messages to my wife’s great-grandmother.

The Presto costs $149, and you can find it at most major retail chains. If you order from the official Presto site, they are doing express shipping for mother’s day as well.

If you have a loved one in your life that doesn’t use computers, but would like to receive email, photos, and other things from you, I highly recommend the Presto. It’s a great idea, that has been a long time coming.

Comments

  1. so its essentially a modified fax machine…

  2. Michael says:

    @Adam

    No, not at all.

    Its a full color printer that can check the Internet for email. It doesn’t have any buttons on it, you can’t dial out with it, and it doesn’t make phone calls. It also doesn’t send or receive faxes.

    The Presto service is a complex back end system that allows you to control the administration of the machine remotely, check ink levels, and even find new information to send to a loved one who doesn’t have a computer.

    It’s a printer without a computer, not a fax machine.

  3. Most important question: Do the older parents or grandparents like Presto?
    Not sure my parents — who are definitely not computer savvy — would like anything in their home remotely connected to a computer.

    Also: Presto claims no spam … have consumers found this to be true? In time, does spam find its way to a Presto account?

    Kate

  4. @Kate

    It is spam-free because you have to approve each email address that is allowed to send emails to it. The only spam that could possibly get through would be if your email address was sending out spam that you weren’t aware of.

    My mother-in-law’s mother loves the thing. I don’t know that it will be appropriate for people that are frightened of having technology in their home (and I understand those people do exist), but for people that would like to stay in touch, but don’t want to learn a computer, this is a really great solution.

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