A distant cousin to the Editors’ Choice Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo, the Dymo LabelWriter 450 offers a far more basic design at a lower price. The most obvious difference between the two is that instead of being two printers in one case, which lets you load two different types of labels at once, the LabelWriter 450 is a single printer that holds only one label roll at a time. As you might guess from the missing Turbo in the name, it’s also a little slower than the 450 Twin Turbo. On the other hand, as a basic label printer, it’s all that most small offices need.
Like most office label printers, the 450 is small enough to fit on a desktop easily without taking up a lot of space, at roughly 5.3 by 4.9 by 7.3 inches (HWD). Unlike some, including the Editors’ Choice Brother QL-700, for example, it lacks an automatic cutter. However, that’s a small inconvenience at worst, since the label roll tears off both cleanly and easily enough by hand.
A potentially more important issue is that changing rolls isn’t as easy as it could be. With Brother’s label printers, for example, you can lift one roll out of the printer and drop another roll in. With the LabelWriter 450, you have the extra steps of removing the current roll from a spool and mounting the replacement on the spool before you can put it in the printer.
If you want to change between different types of labels very often, this can be inconvenient. If you expect that you’ll rarely change between label types however, because you’ll be using the printer only for mailing labels, say, the additional step won’t matter. Alternatively, you can buy additional spools ($10.50 direct each) for each type of label you use to make switching the rolls a lot easier.
Very much on the plus side is that Dymo offers a wide selection of labels for the LabelWriter 450, with 60 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. Particularly worth mention are postage labels for printing your own postage from the Internet.
To actually print postage, you have to download the Dymo Stamps program and upgrade the printer to add support for Dymo Stamps ($49.95 with two 200-label stamp rolls). As part of the upgrade process, you also need to create an account on the Endicia website, if you don’t have one already, so Dymo Stamps and the website can work in tandem to print stamps.
Setup and Software
Setting up the LabelWriter 450 is absolutely standard for a USB-connected label printer. As I’ve pointed out in other Dymo printer reviews, Dymo’s label printing software, now in version 8, is among the more capable and easier to use labeling programs available. It will let you create and store label formats, and it offers features like the ability to insert an automatic date and time stamp and any of nearly 20 bar codes, including Postnet for mailing labels.
Along with the label utility, the installation program also installs a standard driver, so you can print a label directly from any program you like, and it installs label printing add-ins for the Office XP, 2003, 2007 and 2010 versions of Word and Excel. The add-ins let you easily create a label from an address or other text in a letter, for example, or from data in a spreadsheet.
For the most part, the LabelWriter 450 works as promised and at more than acceptable speeds. I timed individual mailing labels at about 3 seconds each, and a 50-label print job at 1 minute 1 second. That works out to 49.2 labels per minute (lpm), falling just a little short of the rated 51 lpm. As a point of comparison, I timed the Brother QL-700 at 83.3 lpm.
Unfortunately, I ran into the same issue with the Word add-in that I saw when I reviewed the LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo. The add-in appears to modify Word’s Normal.dot template every time Word loads. The result is that every time I closed Word, I had to deal with the 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.
Just as with the LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo, it’s hard to count this too much against the printer, since it’s related to an extra feature that could be missing entirely without being a problem. If you run into the issue on your system, you can simply uninstall the add-in. That said, however, being able to print labels easily from within Word is a useful enough convenience that a fix to this issue would be highly welcome.
Ultimately, the Dymo LabelWriter 450 doesn’t offer anything to make it stand out from the competition. It’s not hard to find faster label printers, like the Brother QL-700, or printers with more capability, like the LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo, with its ability to hold two label rolls at once. On the other hand, it offers enough to do the job it is meant for. And for basic label printing in a small office, that makes the Dymo LabelWriter 450 a more than reasonable choice.
|Direct Printing from Cameras||No|
|Maximum Standard Paper Size||2.4" tape|
|Color or Monochrome||Monochrome|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc