A particular full-colour label printer, Brother’s VC-500W Compact Color Printer ($149.ninety nine) makes use of the equal zero-ink (ZINK) era deployed in trendy mini picturegraph printers, which include our Editors’ Choice HP Sprocket Select or the Canon IVY Photo Printer. With the VC-500W, aleven though, you’ve got got lots extra alternatives, which include churning out prints in various widths and lengths as much as 17 inches lengthy, in addition to Brother’s robust (albeit, at times, quite clunky) software program. Like its pocket-length mini picturegraph printer kin, the VC-500W is quite pricey to use, however it is nicely-advanced sufficient to serve each families and small companies in printing full-colour labels for various applications, making it the primary Editors’ Choice in PCMag’s new customer colour label printer category.
Mini Déjà vu
The VC-500W isn’t always the primary label printer of its kind. Actually, it is the end result of Brother’s acquisition and makeover of a preceding product referred to as the ZINK hAppy Smart App Printer reviewed right here lower back in March 2016. Indeed, aside from the brand etched into the pinnacle of the chassis, the VC-500W and the hAppy appearance precisely alike. As you will see below, aleven though, a few improvements and new software program have added this model as much as a miles extra awesome and feasible standard.
Though print high-satisfactory and media prices are comparable, the number one distinction among the VC-500W and trendy pocket-length picturegraph printers is that the previous receives its ZINK-logo paper from rolls, in place of man or woman precut sheets which you load in the tool. (I’ll speak media alternatives and walking prices in a minute.)
Measuring three.eight through four.four through four.6 inches and weighing 1.five pounds, the Brother VC-500W is two-tone (with white facets and a black pinnacle) and slopes from a excessive factor withinside the lower back to its low factor in the front. While maximum operations are treated thru the bundled software program, the system’s minimum controls encompass 3 buttons—Power, Wi-Fi, and Cassette—in addition to reputation LEDs for Wi-Fi, Cassette (paper roll), and Swipe to Cut (cutter position).
Your revealed labels roll out thru an output slot placed at the the front of the chassis. You reduce them thru a slider that scrolls throughout the pinnacle. You spark off it together along with your fingertip.
As stated, you layout your labels to your Windows, iOS, or Android tool thru Brother’s bundled software program, mentioned momentarily. The VC-500W additionally helps output from Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook thru Brother’s P-Touch label layout and print software program.
Design and Print Apps
Another full-size distinction among the VC-500W and its pocket picturegraph printer cousins is Brother’s suite of label-making apps, which incorporates P-Touch Editor, iPrint&Scan, and Color Label Editor. Though that ultimate one, to be had best on Android and iOS gadgets and a holdover from the ZINK hAppy days, is a piece unwieldy, the applications make designing all sorts of colourful and dynamic labels a snap.
In many ways, P-Touch Editor and Color Label Editor offer reproduction functionality, aleven though among the 2 of them you get a huge variety of clip art, fonts, frames, and different results for designing your labels. As stated, P-Touch Editor helps you to layout your labels in Word or use Outlook or Excel to print batches from database records.
So-So Speed, Good Print Quality
Brother prices the VC-500W at 0.three inch consistent with second (ips) in Standard mode and 0.15ips in Vivid mode, which might be approximately the speeds I clocked it at, various barely relying on content. Both modes print at 313 dots consistent with inch (dpi). I examined the printer the use of a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 walking Android 9.
Considering that the alternative label printers examined right here print in monochrome best (excluding the Brother QL-800, which prints two-tone labels in black and red), evaluating the VC-500W to them is not pretty relevant. In any case, throughout my tests, it revealed 0.five-through-three.five-inch monochrome deal with labels in approximately three.five seconds in Standard mode. When I factored in cutting, the time elevated to approximately five seconds, or approximately 12 reduce labels consistent with minute. Printing in Vivid mode took approximately two times as lengthy.
Full-colour labels take kind of the equal quantity of time to print. These speeds are much less than 1/2 of that of our cutting-edge preferred customer-grade monochrome labeler, Brother’s P-Touch Cube Plus, and slower nonetheless as compared to commercial-grade fashions which includes the QL-800 (each Editors’ Choice winners). But, again, evaluating the VC-500W to those and different monochrome machines is apples to oranges. My enjoy is that the VC-500W is lots speedy sufficient for what it does, and its output is nicely really well worth ready for.
Specifically, output high-satisfactory—other than picturegraph output, which turned into neither awful nor spectacular—turned into excellent, with first rate detail; bright, vibrant, and correct colors; and minimum graininess. Photos had been acceptable, however now no longer pretty as much as what I’ve visible from mini printers which includes HP’s Sprocket Select, which might be optimized (in a few cases, pretty impressively) for the job.
Somewhat Costly Labels
ZINK label rolls are available in 4 widths—1/2 of, 3-eighths, 1, and a pair of inches—at lengths of 16.four feet (1,968 inches), ranging in rate from $17.ninety nine to $34.ninety nine. At those prices, a 0.five-through-three.five-inch label runs approximately 32 cents and a 2-through-three.five-inch label will price you approximately sixty one cents. The biggest label viable is two through 17 inches, and it will price you simply over $2, with narrower media being quite cheaper.
Compared to Brother’s P-Touch Cube Plus (and searching at 0.five-through-three.five-inch labels), the VC-500W’s labels price best 2 cents extra apiece. Larger labels, which includes the 2-through-three.five-inch prints stated earlier, are barely extra pricey than similar (2-through-three-inch) prints from ZINK mini printers. Depending on whether or not you purchase a 10-, 50-, or 100-sheet media pack, for example, the HP Sprocket 2d Edition prints for among forty five and 50 cents an image.
In any case, the VC-500W is a low-extent tool now no longer simply designed for printing loads or lots of labels every month, and is consequently pretty pricey to use.
Labeling With a Touch of Class (and Color)
As lengthy as your labeling duties are not excessive-extent, the Brother VC-500W is a nifty little system. Without question, colour-coding your labels in a few conditions could make matters less complicated to find. Small organizations also can use this little printer’s output to label product and transport boxes, for a hint of professionalism now no longer in any other case to be had to them. The backside line is that the VC-500W is, for specific houses and small places of work that want the colour coordination, a enormously beneficial system deserving an Editors’ Choice.