One way to think about the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo is that it’s effectively one half of the Editors’ Choice Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo, with one printer mechanism instead of two. Another is that it’s a faster version of the Dymo LabelWriter 450, with much the same capability, but with faster printing and able to print postage without needing an upgrade. Either way, it’s a fast desktop label printer that can make printing labels and postage quick and easy.
Unlike some of its competition, notably the Editors’ Choice Brother QL-700, the 450 Turbo lacks an automatic cutter. However, as I pointed out in my review of the Dymo 450, that’s not really a problem, since the label roll tears off both cleanly and easily enough by hand.
A more important issue the 450 Turbo shares with the Dymo 450 is that changing rolls is harder than it could be. Brother, for example, sells its label rolls complete with spools, so you can switch label types simply by lifting one roll out of the printer and dropping another in. With Dymo’s approach, you also have to remove the current roll from the one spool the printer comes with, and mount the replacement roll on the spool before you can put it in the printer.
If you won’t be switching between different types of labels very often, this won’t be an issue either. However, if you want to change between printing, say, mailing labels and stamps several times a day, it could quickly turn into an annoyance. Fortunately, there’s a simple fix in the form of additional spools ($10.50 direct each). Leave each roll mounted on a spool, and switching becomes a lot easier.
Very much on the plus side is that Dymo offers a wide selection of labels with choices that vary in size, color, and number of rolls per box. Street prices range from $8.49 to $54.99 for a single roll. Stamp labels are $20.95 for a roll of 200, not including postage.
Setup and Software
The 450 Turbo is small enough, at roughly 5.3 by 4.9 by 7.3 inches (HWD), so it can fit easily on your desk. Setup is standard for a USB-connected label printer, except that if you want to take advantage of printing postage you also have to set up an account on the Endicia Web site. For other labels, the Dymo label software is one of the more capable and easier to use label printing programs available. It lets you create and store label formats with features like an automatic date and time stamp and any of nearly 20 bar codes, including Postnet for mailing labels.
Along with the label printing utility, Dymo also supplies a standard driver, so you can print directly from any program you like. It also installs add-ins for the Office XP, 2003, 2007 and 2010 versions of Word and Excel, which will let you create a label from an address in a letter, for example, or from data in a spreadsheet.
The 450 Turbo is notably faster than the Dymo 450, particularly when printing multiple labels, as with a mailing list. I timed individual mailing labels at about 2.4 seconds each, compared with 3 seconds for the Dymo 450, and I timed a 50-label print job at 43.8 seconds, compared with 61 seconds for the Dymo 450. That works out to 68.5 labels per minute (lpm), just a touch short of the 71 lpm rated speed, and significantly faster than the 49.2 lpm I timed for the 450. However, it’s still slower than the Brother QL-700, which came in at 83.3 lpm.
Unfortunately, I saw the same issue with the Word add-in that I’ve mentioned in other Dymo printer reviews. The add-in appears to modify Word’s Normal.dot template every time Word loads. As a result, every time I opened and then closed Word, even without doing any work in Word, I had to deal with Word’s message warning that Normal.dot had changed. At this writing, Dymo says it has not been able to replicate the problem, and is still looking into it.
As I’ve pointed out in other Dymo printer reviews, if the feature were missing entirely, the printer wouldn’t lose any points for its absence, so you can’t count this as a serious problem. If you run into it on your system, you can simply uninstall the add-in. The add-in is potentially useful enough, however, that I’d rather have it working without problems than have to do without it.
All this makes the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo easy to recommend. However, if you expect to switch back and forth between two types of labels several times a day—as with mailing labels and stamps for example—you might be better off with the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo. If you don’t need to switch back and forth, be sure to also look at the Dymo LabelWriter 450, which is slower but less expensive, and the Brother QL-700, which comes with software that can be overwhelming, but is also faster. The Dymo LabelWriter 450 Turbo falls between those two, where it may, like Goldilocks’s choices, be just right.
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