Terrance on Amazon
8 years ago
01/29/2015, 15:56 PM
A Professional, High Volume Label Maker with Print Preview! ~ What You See Is What You Get
The Brother P-Touch PT-D600 is a portable label maker with relatively advanced on-device editing capabilities and a USB label printer rolled into a single machine. While this machine is marketed towards businesses and professional users, I think it also has a lot to offer home power-users. The key features that set the PT-D600 apart from more basic label makers are its full-color screen which allows for WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)editing and previewing, built-in memory for up to 99 user designs, support for various templates and in-device bar-code creation, and USB connectivity which allows you to download new templates/patterns and to use the unit as a general-purpose label printer. This model utilizes Brother's TZe laminated tapes which are durable and fade-resistant, water-resistant, and come in a wide variety of colors and sizes for various applications including acid-free, fabric iron-on, tamper evident, etc.
For this review, I used the P-Touch PT-D600 at home and in the office. At home, I made labels for some small TSA-sized bottles which I use for bringing my own shampoo and lotion around either on business travel or to the gym, and I found that the labels worked GREAT. Both my shampoo and lotion are white, so having a visual aid in identifying which is which really simplified things, and after nearly three weeks of use in and out of the shower and bouncing around in my bag, the labels are still going strong. At home and work, I used the label maker to organize various AC Adapters and identify proprietary cables by using different colored TZe tape cartridges. Heat from one of my warmer power bricks hasn't had any noticeable effects on the label but I guess time will tell. At work, I installed the P-Touch software on one of my Windows 8.1 test machines and I installed the Windows printer driver. This is my first PC-connectable label printer and I didn't really know what to expect ~ overall, the Windows experience was pretty fun and painless, though the P-Touch Editor could use some better documentation. Using the P-Touch editor, I was able to import and print QR codes as images, and I was also able to print using my own fonts and even in Traditional Chinese! In use, I found the PT-D600 to be pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, though the interface and button layout isn't terribly efficient and it took significant digging to find where my PC-transferred labels were stored.
I've been printing labels for the past decade and I've owned a few different labels makers, from a simple plastic embossing label maker from my childhood to a Brother P-Touch PT-80 Personal Labeling Machine. While I like the blocky lettering, retro look, and low cost of embossed tape, I found the tapes to be relatively thick and rather stiff and they didn't work well on anything other than flat surfaces. Also, depending on the brand, over time, some of my embossed labels would pop off by themselves. The Brother P-Touch PT-80 was a big step forward since it had some basic word-processing capabilities, support for various symbols, and not to mention a QWERTY keyboard. The unlaminated M tapes used in entry-level P-Touch labelers are good for indoor and temporary jobs, but they don't cope well with heat, abrasion, or water. I remember regularly replacing the labels on my laptop and AC adapter every few months since the label underneath my computer would turn gray (presumably because of the heat) and the lettering on the label on my AC adapter would get scuffed up (after getting dragged across floors, etc). Overall, the Brother P-Touch PT-D600 is the most capable labelling machine I've used, and I think it represents a strong value for the money. The TZe tapes are more expensive than unlaminated options, but at least during the time I've had this device, they've stood up to everything I've thrown at them including heat, wet environments, and greasy hands.
1) It's interesting to note that the for TZe tape, the actual lettering is printed underneath the laminate layer and it's then sandwiched between two layers of film as it comes out. There will always be a little bit of waste at the start of a print, but since this label maker has an automatic cutter, prints are the exact length as described.
2) Drivers and software must be downloaded from Brother's website since there is no included CD. You will need to have the unit's serial number handy in order to download the P-Touch editor (~50MB) , though the printer driver and other things can be downloaded without the serial number.
3) There is no native support for QR codes at this time, though I am hopeful that a software update will at least add the option in P-Touch Editor. To be fair, QR codes are only really going to be practical on the wider-width tapes since they're two-dimensional and the amount of information you can store is limited. Brother ~ if you can add support for QR-based text and hyperlinks in-unit and in the P-Touch Editor, it would really make this unit awesome!
4) The unit is rather large and it might be cumbersome to people with small hands.
5) AC Adapter and USB cables are included! I did not try to use the unit on battery power though you could potentially run it off 6x AA's.
6) The color screen is nice but the view angle is quite narrow. If you look at the unit from directly above, the screen washes out to white.