Brother calls the P-touch PT-H300Li ($109.99 direct) a take-it-anywhere labeler, which is as good a description as any. Completely self-contained, it prints plastic labels without a computer. And thanks to its ability to run on the included rechargeable battery or on six AA batteries, you don’t even need a power outlet to use it. That makes it an obvious candidate if you need a labeler you can take with you from desk to desk or even from place to place.
At first glance, the PT-H300Li looks like a variation on handheld labelers, like the Brother P-touch PT-H100. It has the same general physical design, at 2.6 by 5.2 by 8.4 inches (HWD), so it’s much longer (or deeper, if you prefer) than it is wide. Unlike handheld labelers, however, the width doesn’t taper down much near the keyboard, so it won’t fit comfortably in most hands.
The reason the width doesn’t taper down much with the PT-H300Li is that it uses a QWERTY, rather than alphabetical, keyboard layout, an alternative that typically needs only five characters per row. For anyone who is used to a QWERTY keyboard, having one makes it a lot easier to enter text. And if you’re used to thumb-typing on your phone, you can even hold the printer comfortably in the palms of both hands and type with your thumbs. The weight of 1 pound, 13 ounces, complete with the rechargeable battery, may limit how long you want to use it that way, but it can be done.
Brother sells what it says is the identical printer, but without the rechargeable battery, as the Brother P-touch PT-H300 ($69.99 direct). Since it’s the same printer, the only differences between the two are the power sources and setup. With the PT-H300Li, you snap in the tape cartridge and lithium-ion battery, and then charge the battery. With the Brother PT-H300, you snap in a tape cartridge and add six AA batteries. You can also effectively turn the Brother PT-H300 into the PT-H300Li at any time by buying the rechargeable battery ($37.99 direct) and AC power adaptor ($32.99 direct).
Like the Brother PT-H100, the PT-H300Li prints on the sort of laminated plastic labels suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Brother offers about 50 different tape cartridges for the printer, with various combinations of types, widths, and colors, and with prices ranging from $14.99 to $25.99 (direct) each.
The choices in tape types include standard laminated labels; flexible labels; labels with extra strength adhesive for uneven surfaces or harsh environments; non-laminated iron-on fabric labels; and labels with acid-free adhesive so you can use them on, say, a photo without damaging it. Color combinations include black on white, red, or yellow; white on black, clear, or lime green; red on white; blue on white; and more.
One of the PT-H300Li’s advantages over the PT-H100 is that it can print on both thinner and wider tapes, at sizes ranging from 3.5 to 18 millimeters (roughly 0.14 to 0.71 inches). However, it can’t match the Editors’ Choice Brother P-touch PT-2730, which can print on tapes as large as 24 millimeters wide (just under an inch).
Creating and Printing Labels
As with other Brother label printers I’ve reviewed, creating and printing labels with the PT-H300Li is simple enough to let you learn everything fairly quickly simply by looking through the options on the built-in menu and special-purpose buttons. Most are self-explanatory, and the few that aren’t are easy to experiment with to see how they work.
To print, you simply enter the text and symbols on the keyboard, or pick a predefined label stored in memory, hit the Print button, set the number of copies, and hit the Print button again. Then wait for the label to emerge from the top, and press the manual cutter.
Available settings include a choice of 14 fonts, 11 Styles (including bold, outline, shadow, and normal), and 8 font sizes (from 6 to 42 points) plus an Auto setting. You can also add an underline or strikethrough; set the alignment for multi-line labels to left, right, center, or justified; print bar codes; and add symbols from your choice of 16 different categories ranging from Business to Nature/Earth.
It also helps a lot that the 17-character wide LCD is backlit, making it bright enough to read easily, and that you can preview labels on screen before printing simply by hitting the preview button. Other key features include a collection of 26 predefined labels stored in memory for easy printing, and the option to save up to 50 of your own labels.
Brother rates the PT-H300Li at 20mm per second, which comes out to 0.79 inches per second (ips). In my tests, it managed only 0.58 ips, taking 5.8 seconds to print a 3.4-inch label with the text PCMag: A Printer Test. Surprisingly, it was a little slower than the Brother PT-H100, which took 4.7 seconds to print a 3.5 inch label. On the other hand, it’s faster than the Brother PT-2730, which took 11.8 seconds.
As a practical matter, the speed is not a strong point, but it is well within the typical range for the technology and price. More important, the printer earns lots of points for features like the QWERTY keyboard; the wide variety of tapes; the ease of creating labels; and the relatively large number of options for font, font size, and more. Unless you need to print from a computer as well as without one, or you need to print on tape larger than 18 millimeters wide, the Brother P-touch PT-H300Li can be an excellent fit.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc