If you’ve ever worked with the Editors’ Choice Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer, it’s hard to avoid thinking that the Brother QL-700 ($99.99 direct) must have been inspired by someone looking at the older printer while thinking about the lead-in from The Six Million Dollar Man. We have the technology…We can make it better…faster…stronger. Well, better and faster, at least. And not by spending six million dollars. The QL-700 is the same price as the QL-570, which is still available at this writing. It’s also our newest Editors’ Choice for label printers.
Aside from faster speed and arguably better looks, with a compact black and white case and a footprint of just 5.0 by 8.7 inches (WD), the QL-700 shares most of the features of its older cousin. In particular, it offers an automatic cutter and the same software, it prints on the same assortment of labels, and it offers the same ability to switch label rolls quickly and easily.
The ease of switching label rolls is one of the strongest arguments for the QL-700. Most label printers offer a variety of label types and sizes, but threading the labels from a new roll into the printer is just hard enough to discourage swapping out rolls very often.
The Editors’ Choice DYMO LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo offers the ultimate solution to that problem. It essentially provides two printers in one, so you can load two rolls and switch between them without having to swap out anything. The QL-700 doesn’t make switching quite that simple, but swapping rolls is easy enough so that it’s not an issue unless you need to repeatedly switch back and forth several times a day. I timed the entire process, without trying to rush, at less than 20 seconds.
Lots of Labels
It also helps that there are a variety of label types you can switch to, including both paper and film labels. Brother says the most popular formats include address labels (at both 1.1 by 3.5 inches and 1.1 by 2.4 inches), file-folder labels (0.66 by 3.4 inches), shipping labels (2.4- by 3.9-inches), and its 2.4-inch wide, white paper continuous roll.
The full list includes about 20 choices, with a variety of widths (from 0.66 to 2.4 inches), colors (white, clear, and yellow), and shapes (with round labels for optical discs, for example). Some even offer an adhesive designed to let you remove the label without hurting the surface it was on. In my tests, removable labels even lifted off a sheet of paper easily.
Street prices range from $13.49 for file folder labels to $99.99 for the wide clear film continuous roll. For the standard address labels (1.1 by 3.5 inches), the cost works out to 3.9 cents per label.
Print Your Own Stamps
One type of label worth special mention is for stamps, and is available only from Pitney Bowes, though the company’s pbSmartPostage Web site. Log on to www.pb.com/brother, and you can register for the service with no monthly fee, and then print stamps as needed on stamp labels.
The software is cloud-based, which means that when you log on to the site, it runs in a browser window. You also need to open an account to pay for postage and buy stamp rolls from the site, at $17.99 for 1 roll of 200 stamp labels or $15.29 each for 3 or more rolls. Printing stamps from pbSmartPostage isn’t quite as easy as the equivalent choice for the LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo and other DYMO printers, but you may well consider that an acceptable tradeoff for how much easier it is with the Brother printers to swap label rolls.
Setup and Software
Setting up the QL-700 is absolutely standard fare, with a USB connection as the only choice. The software, which includes P-touch Editor 5 and P-touch AddressBook 1, lets you do just about anything you’d want to with labels, including mail-merging address labels and printing bar codes.
In truth, the software offers so much capability that less sophisticated users may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. If you simply ignore the features you don’t need, however, it also offers some easy ways to print without getting bogged down in details.
In particular, the program installs a new command in the toolbar or Ribbon in Microsoft Word (depending on the version of Word). To print, you highlight an address or other text in the document, and pick the toolbar or Ribbon command. P-touch Editor then opens with the text already inserted in a label and ready to print. The software also installs a similar command in Excel.
Another choice is to ignore the Brother software entirely and use the QL-700 printer driver, which will work with any program you like. To print from Word for example, I simply defined a page size to match the label, entered some text, and printed.
The QL-700′s speed is another key strength. Brother gives it a 93-label per minute (lpm) rating for standard address labels. For my tests, using a three-line address plus a Postnet barcode, I timed it at 83.3 lpm without having it cut the roll after printing each label and at 28.3 lpm with cutting. That makes it substantially faster than the QL-570, at 63.8 lpm on our tests or the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo, at 60.0 lpm.
Whether you look at the speed or features, the Brother QL-700 is a seriously impressive label printer. And thanks to pbSmartPostage, it prints stamps, adding the one feature that directly competitive printers from DYMO had that Brother didn’t have until now. If you switch back and forth between two types of labels repeatedly throughout the day, the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo will probably be your preferred choice, and is still an Editors’ Choice. If you don’t switch quite so often, however, or need to switch between more than two types of labels, the Brother QL-700 is more likely the printer you want and our second pick for Editors’ Choice for label printers.
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|Color or Monochrome||Monochrome|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||2.4" inch tape|
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