Leitz Icon Label Printer Overview & Compare

Fri, Oct 3, 2014

I’ve had a hands on with a Leitz Icon label printer and I’m going to have a quick run down of it’s features and how it compares with it’s competition on the current market while also giving my personal unbiased opinion.

Features
It claims to print up to 200 labels per minute which is very fast but I have yet to test this which I will explain why later.
You have two print qualities. Fast at 300x300dpi or better quality (slightly slower) of 300x600dpi.
It has a built-in fully automatic fast electric cutter. It’s about as fast as a Brother QL-700!
Prints paper and plastic labels up to 88mm wide.
Has USB and WiFi for connectivity.
Works on Windows, MAC and iOS.
Has an optional battery pack attachment to make it fully portable. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try this option.

Printer
First things first, how the print looks. It looks like a flatter version of the Brother TD-2020N (picture on the right). It has two long grippy feet on it’s underside plus one in the front handle.
This little unit will take up 22cm x 13cm of deskspace which is around the same as both a Brother QL-710W and a Dymo LW450 Turbo.
On the front (from right to left) there’s a bright blue power lamp, a bright green WiFi lamp a feed button and a cut button. The cut button will always feed a label through first before cutting which doesn’t make sense in my opinion but it will cut at the end of each label whether you like it or not. That’s right! You can’t set it not to cut!
Under these buttons and lamps is the 95mm wide slot where the labels exit.
On the top theres a thumb-sized eject button which when pressed opens the lid to remove / insert the label cartridge.
There’s no power button so it’s always on. After leaving it alone for 90 minutes it doesn’t look like it goes into a standby mode either which might put off those of an energy conserving nature. There is also an unusual warmth coming from the front of the printer. Seems a little wasteful of energy if you ask me. On the back is a USB-B socket, the 24VDC power socket (switch off at the wall to prevent sparks (yes this happened to me)), a WPS button (see “Wireless” below for details) a couple little notches and a 9 pin linear socket. Both of the last items on the list I would guess are for the battery pack that I didn’t get to try.

Wireless
Ironically, for a printer aimed at the business trade, the only way to connect the WiFi is using the insecure WPS option. Great if you’re a home user and don’t have much of a care in the world for security. Not great if you’re in an office or industrial environment where this convenience is removed by the risk of security vulnerabilities.

The software
I have a feeling the software right now is still in some form of production as it’s proves to be slightly buggy. Upon choosing an address label type it crashed! I therefore cannot test the international address label (70120001)
No escape from Times New Roman. For some unfortunate reason Times New Roman is the default font in any field you create but this can be changed in the options menu (which by the way is very sparse).

Mobile App
Again with the WiFi. No chance to connect it and no Apple devices to use. The app is only available on an Apple device which is rather unfair seeing as Android is taking the market by storm so I therefore have nothing to say about it. From what I’ve read from other reviews the app is “clunky”.

What about the competition.
Should Brady worry? No.
Should Brother worry? Maybe.
Should Dymo worry? Maybe.
Is there a market for yet another desktop address label printer? Not really. When you look at our most popular brands (Brother, Dymo, Zebra, Seiko) there really is no room for improvement over these already great machines.

My overall rating
The printer itself has a very good built quality with the exception of the two buttons at the front that feel like they’re going to snap off at any moment, and the spring-loaded lid which will pop open easily. Is very appealing to look at despite it looking like a copy of a particular Brother Printer, and it’s performance is great. The portability function of Wifi and battery makes it great as an all-rounder.
The labels seem to be okay but the cartridges seem a little fiddly. Not sure why they insist on the user having to fiddle with a little flap which to my mind only adds to the cost of each cartridge. You also have to fiddle with a another flap inside the printer when inserting or removing a cartridge.
The software whilst trying to be user friendly is lacking in that special something. The fact that it knows what label you’ve inserted in the printer is a great feature, something that Brother and Brady are proud of, but it doesn’t automatically set it to that label size for you which is rather backwards. Like the Dymo software you still have to click the label type on the left, choose the size then decide on which template to use. Like I mentioned with my experience above I couldn’t choose any of the address labels without the software crashing.
I didn’t get a chance to try the mobile app as they’ve been a little bias and only made it for the one platform which we don’t use. Plus their poor choice to use a vulnerable WiFi connection made it impossible to test the wireless feature in our offices.
The build quality of the machine is really good and quality of the labels are great which gets a high score from me. The features and problems with the software was the backbreaker and sliced the overall score in half. Overall I give the Leitz Icon a 4.5 out of 10.

How To Add a Date Field With Offset

Mon, Sep 29, 2014

Adding a date field to a label template is easy in any labelling software. Adding a date field with an offset couldn’t be easier in the Brother P-Touch Editor labelling software.

1. Open the “Date and Time” dialog from the panel on the right.
2. Choose “Date” or “Time”.
3. Click the “Add/Subtract” checkbox.
4. Select the “Unit” (hours/days etc.).
5. Changed the “Time Period”.
6. Click “OK”.

Software comparisons Supports a date field Supports a date field with offset
BarTender Yes Yes
Brother P-Touch Editor Yes Yes
Dymo Label v8 Yes No
LabelDirect Yes Yes
ZebraDesigner 2 Yes Yes

P-Touch E100VP Unboxing Review

Thu, Sep 18, 2014

See below for an unboxing and brief overview video of the Brother P-Touch E100VP label printer kit.
Click here to see our selection of TZe tapes compatible up to 12mm.

Features:
2 line printing
Preset label formats for cable and wire marking
Cable Wrap Mode
Cable Flag Mode
Face Plate Mode
168 symbols
15 font sizes
9 type styles

Value pack includes:
1x 12mm Black on yellow strong adhesive tape
AC adaptor
Carry case

P-Touch E300VP Unboxing Review

Thu, Sep 18, 2014

See below for an unboxing and brief overview video of the Brother P-Touch E300VP label printer kit.
Click here for our range of TZe tapes compatible up to 18mm.
Click here to view the range of HSe tapes compatible up to 17.7mm.

Features:
7 fonts & 7 print styles
Barcode function
50 memory areas
Sequential numbering/alpha
Smart Label Keys for General, Faceplate, Cable Wrap, Heat Shrink Tube, Self-laminated, Cable Flag, Patch Panel & Punch Down Block
5 Print Lines

Value pack includes:
1x 18mm Black on yellow strong adhesive tape
Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
AC adaptor
Wrist strap
Carry case

P-Touch E550WVP Unboxing Review

Wed, Sep 3, 2014

On first look prior to unboxing the Brother P-Touch E550WVP, you’ll notice how rugged and tightly-closed the hard carry case is. It gives a look and feel of high quality and professionalism.
The clips are plastic but very solid and not flimsy. If you’re like me and have small-ish fingers that tend to get injured easily then you’re likely to feel comfortable with opening and closing this case. The clips “click” closed but they don’t snap at you like a feisty terrier.

Once opened the inside is laid out in the standard Brotherly fashion. The instruction manual can be found in a plastic bag along with the software CD, quick start guide and transparent ruler/guide located inside a little pocket. The power adaptor, USB cable, battery and TZ tapes are each in their own little cut-outs inside the case so there’s no chance of misplacing or losing something while packing up after a job.
The printer steals the show as it’s the largest item other than the case. Despite looking larger than its predecessor it’s very comfortable to hold and only weighs 1.2Kg (including the rechargeable battery).
Installing the battery was easy. It only goes in one way (see image to the right) and the terminals are spring-loaded to hold the battery in place.
The TZe tapes also only go in one way. The little pillars inside guide it into place while the little clips hold it there.
As soon as you power on the printer for the first time it’s ready to go. Start typing, press print and you’ve got your first label. Watch the video above for a demo of all the label types.
For more detailed information about it’s specifications and useabilty click here to see my previous blog post.

Mobile Apps
Click here to start the video above at the demonstration of the mobile app. Click one of the buttons to the right to download the app now. Be sure to choose the correct make of your mobile device.

Brother P-Touch PT-E550W

Thu, Jul 3, 2014

Calling all electricians! Give your expert work the professional look it deserves.

Once again I’ve been lucky enough to get my grubby paws on another fantastic printer before it hits the shelves. Brother’s P-Touch E550W is the new big boy of their hand-held label printers. Targeted mainly at electricians, this printer is going to be a big hit on the market as it’s packed full of features and is a very affordable competitor on the current market.

Here is a rundown of the main features this printer has to offer:

  • Rubber clicky QWERTY keyboard.
    Unlike their previous, cheaper and competitor’s models the rubber buttons click to confirm its been fully pressed, almost like a mechanical keyboard. It’s in the standard QWERTY layout that is will be very familiar to you as computers and most smart phones use this layout.
  • Lithium Ion battery.
    This battery lasts a very long time, possibly the longest lasting out of Brother’s P-Touch range. It also provides the extra power required for the heat shrink marker tapes.
  • Large backlit display with real-size label preview.
    Label preview on previous models hasn’t been up to scratch but this time it’s real-sized so what you see is what you get. This sized screen also helps make the menus clear and easy to read. The backlight makes the printer useable in little to no light environments.
  • Only uses the TZe tapes.
    Brother’s patented TZe tapes are long lasting, strong and versatile. This also means there are no compatibles which we’re sorry about; but what we’re not sorry that you’ll be getting the highest quality consumables available for your printer.
  • Automatic electric cutter with part-cut.
    The cutter is automatic but can also be activated at a press of a button. It also features part-cut which will cut the tape but not the backing paper; this is useful if you’re printing a lot of labels in one go and don’t want them falling on a dirty floor of a basement, being blown away in the wind up scaffold tower or wherever you are.
  • Quick labels type buttons.
    Normal, vertical, set size, repeat (wire wrap), wire flag, patch/fuse panel and punch down blockNEW. These are the label types you use most often so to help you switch between them quickly there’s preset buttons across the top in white.
  • Preset wire sizes.
    When printing flag or wrap labels you are required to know the diameter of the cable but not anymore! The printer has a memory of preset cable diameters including but not limited to CAT5e & coax.
  • Mini USB.
    Use this connection to transfer and save your most common label designs, company logos and database tables (Excel & Access) for easy access on the move. The saved label designs allow you print the same labels with or without editing them first. The database connectivity makes use of the label templates so you can print a long string of different labels at the press of a button without having to enter all the details again.
  • WiFi.
    When out on a job, you may wish to use your smartphone to get the job done whatever the reason. With the E550W you can print from a smartphone using the free Android app or Apple app. You can save, recall and insert images from the app.
  • All symbols now listed under their categories.
    Electrical, safety, etc. What more can be said. It’s all the symbols you’ll ever need as an electrician and some extra!
  • Large memory capacity.
    Enough memory for 99 labels. It’s highly unlikely you’ll save that many labels but just in case you do there’s enough memory for it. This is also the shared memory for custom logos and databases.
  • Heatshrink wire marking.
    Brother’s HSe heatshrink tubing have been a long time in the making but they’re finally here!* They’re a perfect non-adhesive alternative to marking your cables.**

I’ve been told it’s to be launched at the end of July 2014 at a retail price of around £190 but we’ll just have to wait and see. Turns out the information was correct!

I had fun playing with this printer and to anyone thinking of getting a Brother P-Touch or similar competitor, I would recommend you wait just a few weeks for this model to become available; I doubt you’ll regret buying one!

Check out their promotional video:

*The heatshrink tubes are only compatible with the P-Touch E550W as it is physically more demanding on the hardware. Using the heatshrink tubes with another model may cause printhead damage, motor damage, faster battery drainage and decreased life of the cutter blade.
**These tubes will not slide over most plugs or sockets and are more commonly used on cables before a plug or socket has been attached.

LabelStation Pro label printer with peel and present

Fri, Apr 4, 2014

What does it do?

When a print job is sent to the printer, it will print the first label whilst peeling the backing paper away simultaneously. The internal sensor will detect when the peeled label is removed and continue to print the rest of the queue (if any) using the same method.

Below is a flow diagram to best explain the process between pressing print and getting labels.

Why would you need it?

Above is the peel and present attachment for the LabelStation Pro label printer.
Below is a picture of the peeler fitted to a LabelStation that has just printed and peeled the label.

How does it work?

The peeler is fitted to the front of the printer where the printed labels exit. The backing paper is pulled tightly at an acute angle under the metal bar at the front of the printer. The rigidity of the label causes it to automatically peel away from the backing paper and continue forward until the roller stops.

How to set it up:

  1. Switch off the printer before opening the clamshell.
  2. Open the printer and fold down the peeler.
  3. Load your labels as you normally would but remove a couple from the start (Never let any labels go through the peeler, they must always pass the peeler).
  4. Feed the backing paper under the peeler roller and through the slot.
  5. Pull the backing so it’s not too loose, careful not to pull any of the backing paper through that still has labels attached.
  6. Close the peeler so that the backing is between the peelers roller and printer’s rubber roller.
  7. Close the printer and check that the backing folds over the metal bar before switching back on.
  8. Set the post-print action in your labelling software to “Peel”, otherwise you may end up pile of labels all stuck together possibly causing a paper jam and damage to the printer.

Notes:
This peeler attachment is compatible with most types of adhesive labels on non-perforated backing.
This peeler is not compatible with continuous labels, non-adhesive labels or labels that are more than one across the web.

LabelStation Industrial with fitted rewinder

Mon, Mar 31, 2014

Our LabelStation Industrial Label Printer has the option for a unique factory-fitted, built-in label roll rewinder.

Below are a couple examples of why you would need an internal rewinder on this printer.

Example 1: PAT Labels

Problem
You’re an electrician who does portable appliance testing. You currently write on each label by hand at the time of testing. With the growth of your business and more tests to do you’re starting to get lazy and messy with the details on each label to keep up with demand. Even writing them at home in the evenings isn’t solving a problem.
Solution
You buy a LabelStation Industrial 300 with a factory-fitted internal rewinder. You design the label on your computer which takes just a few minutes using the bundled software. You can print your company name, phone number, initials, date and even an automatic sequential APP ID number (with optional barcode). It takes just a few minutes to set up and then you just leave it to print. It automatically rewinds the printed labels onto an empty core. When it’s done printing you’re left with a roll of labels printed with all the required details. It leaves a professional impression that you want your customers to see and leaving contact details for repeat business.

Most PAT labels are pre-printed before taking them out to a job. This way the testing can be done quickly and efficiently with no errors when writing on the labels. With these smaller, intricate labels you would need a 300 DPI resolution printhead. Please call our sales team for more information and to place an order on 01202 683212.

Hover mouse over image below
to highlight the internal rewinder
fitted with a 25 ⇒ 76mm core adaptor

Example 2: Horticultural Tags

Problem
You run a garden centre and you frequently sell a lot of a particular plant. You don’t keep too many of this plant in stock as you don’t have the space but you get the stock replenished as often as you can. This item is priced up using loop locks which you write on using a ballpoint pen. Maintaining stock and assisting customers is taking up time leaving you unable to tag stock before it sells.
Solution
You buy a LabelStation Industrial 200 with the fitted rewinder. Instead of printing the amount you need at the time, you print an entire roll of 1,000 loop locks and use the built-in rewinder. This way you got the printed labels to hand when you need them without having to write, load up the software, template or change any other labels that may be already be in the printer. Not only that they are on a roll so can be stored safely without potentially getting damaged if stored in another manner. All the details are the same and you have enough space to fit company information for repeat business.

Conclusion

The LabelStation Industrial has always been a powerful and versatile label printer. The built-in rewinder is a great addition to this unit that frees up time while getting more done.
If you know that you’re going to be printing a large quantity of duplicate labels or the same style labels with serialised or database-inputted information, the built-in rewinder will be a valuable addition to the LabelStation Industrial saving you time.

Brady BMP41 Overview

Thu, Mar 20, 2014

This is the Brady BMP41 hand-held label printer, Brady’s latest mobile printer.
Launched late 2013, this printer came flying into the stream bursting with features and functionality. With it’s price tag between the BMP21 and BMP51 and it’s functionality between the BMP51 and BMP71, this printer is boasting to be the best.
Brady set the benchmark when it comes to usability. I found it very easy to print 5 sequential barcodes by pressing only 12 buttons, from power-on to print in under 15 seconds!
The clear display is backlit and has a higher DPI than equivalent Dymo and Brother models. The backlight is active from the first time you switch the printer on which is helpful as it saves hunting around for the buttons if you’re already in a low-light environment. If you’re not in complete darkness and would like to save some battery power, you can always switch it off.
The rubber keyboard clicks so you know you’ve successfully pressed a button (if you’ve ever used a rubber keyboard that doesn’t click, you’ll know that sometimes you may have pressed the button but not hard enough for it to be registered), has the QWERTY layout making it very easy to use and it’s very responsive. It’s likely you’re reading this on a computer and you’d know it’s easier to type on a QWERTY keyboard than an ABC keyboard. An ABC keyboard sounds easy because all the letters are in order but believe me, if you’re in a hurry it is fairly useless.

Lets start with the feature that everyone’s shouting about; drop-proof.
I know I can be clumsy at times but I don’t think even I would be clumsy enough to drop a £200 printer. However, if you are r you fear it might fall while on a job then there is nothing to worry about. I’ve been told stories of people throwing these around rooms and they still working right away (this is not recommended though). I’ve seen first-hand a Brady representative drop one from head-height, the front and rear cover came flying off but once these bits were popped back into place, it switched on and continued to work as if nothing happened. I’ve had plenty of hands-on use with this printer and I still haven’t the heart to drop-test it myself.

Barcodes
The BMP41 will print both Code 39 and Code 128. You can manually adjust the height and ratio of 2:1 or 3:1. You can also adjust the width of 1, 2 or 3 dots and add a check digit. Not all barcodes require a human readable option so this is also a setting that can be adjusted or switched off.

Label types
Here’s what I made earlier.


Terminal Block, Patch Panel and 66-Block are the essentially same thing but with preset sizes. They can be printed horizontally or vertically.
DesiStrip is the same as General but with a locked size which can be adjusted.
Wire Wrap repeats the data down the label so it can be viewed from any angle when fitted to the cable.
Wire Flag displays the data at the start and finish of the label with an adjustable gap in-between that is attached to the cable.

Lets have a look at some specifications:

Max roll width 1″ (25.4mm)
Keyboard type QWERTY
Display 50mm x 33mm backlit LCD
Barcode types Code39 & Code128
Computer connectivity USB
Label types General, Wire wrap, wire flag, terminal block, patch panel, 66-Block, DesiStrip
Save labels? Save to internal memory or to USB memory stick.
Battery Included rechargeable pack.



Lets have a sneaky peak at the screen. It’s a bit tricky to photograph the screen so my apologies for the quality.


Looks simple enough but what does it all mean?

A 12pt
The current font size
MC1-1000-595-WT-BK
The part number of the cartridge installed
90 Deg
The rotation of the design that will be printed (if any).
General
The type of label
(see “Label types” in table above)
25.4 x 9.6mm Auto
The size of label that will be printed.
Automatic but can be set to manual.
Area 1 of 1
Which label area you are currently viewing of the total areas.
LablelZone
This is your label design, it can be whatever you want from text to barcodes to icons.
[ roll icon ]
How much media is left in cartridge
Extra details such as function lock, caps lock, bold etc. [ battery icon ]
Battery status



A quick run down to sum up the printer
This printer’s functionality, price and versatility is nothing short of surprising for it’s value. After knowing what customers want from a printer and what is dominating the market I couldn’t have expected more from this unit. The built-in clock allows for time and/or date stamping at time of print. Also when choosing to print a long string of labels it gives you the option to pause at any time so you don’t get too ahead of yourself. The vast colour, size and material options on the available media means you’ll always find the label to suit you.

New Trade Counter Now Open

Tue, Jan 7, 2014

Come visit our new trade counter!

Pop in to place an order or you can order online or over the phone (0800 975 5040) and ask to collect.

The trade counter is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Where are we?

We have moved! We can now be found at:

58 Nuffield Road
Nuffield Industrial Estate
Poole, Dorset
BH17 0RT

Just look for the huge “LabelZone” sign.

Click here to see where we are using Google Maps

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