Once again, Brother seem to have made a product without actually looking at the market to see if there’s place for it. Then they hold you to ransom by discontinuing what is now looking like its predecessor.
As you can probably tell by the tone of my first 2 sentences, I’m not a massive fan of this printer. That is to say I don’t hate it. It’s both great and terrible at the same time. The features are great on paper, but in reality it’s a different story. It’s like a cheap sofa-bed; you’ll never find one that’s great at being a sofa and a bed. This printer is neither great at being a portable printer nor a doorstop.
- QWERTY computer-style keyboard
- High resolution display
- High resolution 360 DPI print
- Up to 60mm per second
- Up 36mm wide tape
- Up to 32mm high print area
- Real-time clock
- Wi-Fi & USB connectivity
- iPrint&Label Android & iOS app
- Full automatic cutter with part cut
- Optional battery
The keyboard is actually really nice. It’s almost on-par with a keyboard from a decent laptop.
The screen is good. It’s not colour, but it is very clear; previewing things such as how a font looks before printing it is a nice change. The layout of the interface could be better as I’ve had to find things hidden in plain sight, such as the print quantity which is tucked away in the top right corner, in a regular, boring font size that doesn’t stand out.
The print quality is outstanding as it should be. 360 dots per inch is very high. The HGe tape takes full advantage of this as it’s designed for high speeds and high DPIs.
A Capacity of 36mm wide TZe tape is, well, what it is. This printer also accepts sizes down to 3.5mm so you are sure to find a tape that matches what you’re after.
The maximum print height of 32mm is really good. This printer has actually been designed to print on as much of the tape as possible. After testing the printer on a 24mm tape with a frame turned on, I noticed it really fills the whole label.
It has a real-time clock but you need to install a little button-cell battery to keep it ticking. It’s not required unless time-stamping your labels is required.
USB connectivity is to be expected and works as it should. The Wi-Fi works really well, and also works really quickly with the Android app (which is free by the way).
The cutter is quick and accurate. Combine this with the high print speed and you’ll be able to print dozens of labels quicker than any other label printer in its class.
I didn’t get a chance to use the battery option as it’s not included as standard, but it seems like a great idea, so long the price isn’t too dear.
|Excellent QWERTY keyboard||Bulky and ugly|
|Fantastic display||Fairly impractical design|
|Amazing print quality and speed||Price|
|Battery and wireless for portability||Battery is an optional extra|
It has a carry handle so moving it about is fairly easy, if the weight of 3.3Kg (without power, battery or tapes) isn’t off-putting. Now is a good time to mention its overall size: 18cm (H) x 19cm (D) x 31cm (L). The printer also acts like a case which you can store the power adaptor, tapes or even 2 regular-sized cans of cola. The keyboard is a pleasure to type on as it’s identical to a laptop keyboard. Closing the top part of the printer isn’t jumpy as it’s got a damper to prevent it slamming, even with the keyboard/screen fitted.
We’re all familiar with the TZe tapes. These are the standard tapes suitable for everyday usage. They’re laminated and come in a huge selection of colours and sizes. Plus there are fancy fluorescent tapes, ones with a matt finish, silver tapes, extra strong tapes, and extra flexible tapes.
The HGe tape is a tape that isn’t recognized enough. It’s a tape worth using with advanced printers such as this D800W. They have a stronger adhesive, can help towards a higher quality print, and support higher print speeds. Watch the looping video above to learn more about this great tape. It’s weird that this tape isn’t mentioned in the specification but it is very compatible; the speed and quality is amazing.
Heat-shrink tubing is still fairly new to the market, but I’m impressed the D800W will accept it. The thicker material requires a more heavy-duty motor and a stronger cutter blade. This is fitted with both. Don’t put HSe tape in a non-HSe compatible printer as you will reduce the life of the printer’s hardware dramatically.
These are new to the market. These are still very much like a TZe tape in the sense that they’re in cartridge format, but they’re die-cut instead of continuous. This means the D800W is the first Brother P-Touch printer to do TZe, HGe, HSe and die-cut labels. I won’t bore you with all the technical details on these labels, but if you’re interested please see the aforementioned blog post.
Below are photos from the screen. As you can see the screen resolution is very high and it’s also easy to figure out what is what. It’s easy to navigate around but some things feel a little unpolished, almost like it’s not been tested in the market before going to production (hint!).
The specification is great along with the selection of supplies. Using the printer is easy but almost a little clunky. The keyboard is great to type on, but the keyboard unit could have been either wireless or not removable at all. It’s really fast, accurate and has a great print quality, but a printer doesn’t need to be this big, heavy and boxy to achieve this. The Wi-Fi addition is helpful for printing from computers and phones, but the battery should have been included in the price.
There’s lots of buts and what ifs with this printer. We have to remember that it’s the Brother design team behind it, and whoever is in charge there isn’t doing a very good job. In my personal opinion, they should bring back the P-Touch 9600 but upgrade it to take all the latest tapes, include a battery and the hard carry case, and speed it up; that would be a much better printer.
The D800W is good for one thing: sitting in an office, on its own table, with computers connected to it wirelessly. That’s it.
It’s good. It’s bad. It’s ugly.