Brother QL-500 Printer

Quick look

Miniprinter for labels and tabs

Price: $100

Web: www.brother.com

Phone: (877) 478-6824

Brother QL-500 Printer

The QL-500 printer from Brother International Corp. of Bridgewater, N.J. fills a niche in the printing environment. It is a tiny printer that can quickly and easily produce shipping labels, file-folder tabs and even identification badges.

For such a small printer (5.7 by 7.7 by 6 inches), the QL-500 produces some really high-quality output. In fact, it can print at 300-dots-per-inch resolution. That's good enough to add a photograph to a name badge.

It's also extremely speedy. It can print 50 all-text labels per minute. In the lab, the QL-500 was a true joy because it could print all shipping labels.

The labels that come with the printer are sticky on one side, so once printed, you simply peel them off and attach them to your files, shipping boxes or badge holder (or even to someone's lapel).

There is no toner in the QL-500 because it uses heat-transfer technology to make the labels. You simply have to buy new labels from Brother, which are not very expensive. And since you can print one label at a time, you won't waste a lot of money by ruining an entire sheet of standard labels to just print one.

Loading the QL-500 involves dropping the new roll into the printer'it's about as complex as changing a roll of tape.

Setup and management of the QL-500 is also a breeze. It simply plugs into a universal serial bus port (and also works fine in the older 1.1 ports). After it is set up, you can install software that makes working with the QL-500 simple.

The included software lets users drag and drop graphics into the label window, so photos or barcodes can quickly be added. Since you tell the program what kind of labels you are using, it won't let you type outside the label's borders.

You can also get specially shaped labels for use with CDs or DVDs, so you can keep track of what data is on which disk. Finally, the printer can print long banners up to three feet long and 2.4-inches wide, which would be perfect for warning labels on equipment or doors.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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