or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Review: Using the Epson LW-600P portable label printer with Apple's iPhone & Mac
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review: Using the Epson LW-600P portable label printer with Apple's iPhone & Mac

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Epson's LW-600p label printer is an unassuming devices that solves a specific problem, and does so generally well: printing labels on the go. What makes this accessory stand out is the inclusion of Bluetooth and a companion iOS app.




When we first saw the Epson LW-600p label printer at CES, we didn't know what to expect. We've suffered label printer problems for years, where the added nature of a sticky surface means that printers can fail in all kinds of awful ways. Sticker paper jams suck orders of magnitude worse than regular printer paper jams.

Fortunately, we didn't have any mechanical mishaps with the LW-600p.

Traditional label printers use a roll of labels and in some cases, as the label is rolling through the printer feed, it can come off the non-stick backing and muck up the printer




Other problems stem from label composition software. In many cases, either the label size isn't known to the software, the layout shifts from landscape to portrait unexpectedly, or the software won't recognize a printer unless it's configured 100 percent correctly. For example, DYMO's label software only knows how to print to a USB-connnected DYMO, not one attached to an AirPort Express.

For many systems, label printing is harder than it should be, but Epson finally got it right.

How it works



Epson uses a cartridge loaded with labels rather than a spool that can come loose and unwind. The cartridge is more like the old VHS tape or audio cassette tape you might find in a museum or your grandparent's home. One benefit of this format is that we haven't experienced the label-sticker-jam problem. It's also really easy to install: simply open the door to the side of the printer, pop in a cartridge and close the door. There's no feeding of the label path.

The printer also has a cutter built-in so it can print labels of variable lengths, cut between each label as they are printed, or make a one-time cut at the end of a multiple label job.

Connectivity and power



Connectivity is handled by USB or Bluetooth, while the printer can be powered either by an AC wall adapter or 6 AA batteries. Epson clearly intends the device to be mobile solution. It's about as big as a paperback romance novel, in every direction. It's an easy choice to fit in a messenger bag.




Pairing an iOS device with the printer over Bluetooth was about easy as any traditional Bluetooth device. Hold down the Bluetooth button on the printer until it flashes, tap on the iPhone's Bluetooth Settings to connect and open the Epson iLabel iOS app, which comes free from the App Store.

Alternatively, it's possible to connect to a Mac via USB and use the free Epson Label Editor Lite app from the Mac App Store. We looked for a Mac-compatible non-lite version, but could not find one.

What we printed



Epson provided the printer and labels for this review. We were sent 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, and 3/4-inch width labels, each filling a specific need for a variety of applications:

  • Labels for cable identification (which wire behind the surround sound system? Which network cable?)

  • Pink ribbon with black printing

  • Black ribbon with gold printing

  • 1/2" white labels

  • Glow-in-the-dark labels


We decided to print some return address labels for initial testing.

There's a preview function in the iLabel app that curiously grants access to the rear-facing camera. We say curiously because all the feature allowed us to do was take a picture that overlays the selected label on a target object. We understand that Epson wants to give you the ability to see your label overlaid on the object you're going to stick it on, but it seems like an unnecessary feature.




Printer setup with EPSON Label Studio Lite for Mac was easy enough and the app was fairly straight forward. There's a slider control that allows greater or lesser concentration of "ink" to be used (it's not really ink, it's a thermal process), which allowed for better results on labels made out of paper or ribbon material.

We printed the address labels; we printed glow-in-the-dark labels; we printed a huge series of pink ribbon labels that went around gifts for school teachers. It's a little odd, but once you have the capability of making labels for all kinds of things, you start looking at the problems around you that could be solved with one.

Things to watch out for



The iOS app is cool, and it's great that it's there, but it has some wrinkles. For starters, it's hard to decipher where you can swipe or tap and it took us quite a while to figure out that we could use our own photos instead of the provided clipart.

The app also allows you to erase a picture if you decide you want something different, or to remove it and have no picture at all. The clipart is called "Signs" and using your own image is named "Photos."

Removing an image requires swiping to another screen and using the Image Position control for "None/Left/Center/Right/Justified" and tapping "None." So, we add the image in either Signs or Photos, but clear it where we decide whether it should be left, right or center. We found this a little confusing to figure out on our own.




Supplies



It's worth noting that you have to use Epson's labels for the LW-600p, not generic substitutes. The app allows you to purchase supplies via a web view of the Epson supplies store, which is handy. The base unit comes with some starter labels, but refills run anywhere from $19.99 to $40.99 depending on the type of label.




Who is this for?



Crafters, people who need to label cables, smaller address labels, and other smaller label needs. We got a lot of use out of it in a short period of time, and once we started to understand the decisions Epson made in designing the app, we were impressed with its capabilities.

Score:4 out of 5



ratings_hl_40.png

Pros



  • Labels print and work well.

  • No printer or label jams.

  • Ability to use your own photos.


Cons



  • Preview feature is superfluous.

  • Hard to navigate the iOS interface initially.

  • Navigating the UI requires multiple taps.


Where to buy



The Epson LW-600p is available from Epson.com and Amazon.com for $105. The apps mentioned in this review are free on the iTunes and Mac App Stores.
post #2 of 16
I would have thought $40 refills would have made it into the "con" category.
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenfingers View Post

I would have thought $40 refills would have made it into the "con" category.

I'm seeing 30 feet of refill tape for around $16 on Amazon. That should print quite a few labels.

Anything to avoid those dreadful label sheets... those suck!
post #4 of 16
I found it strange that while I could connect it to my Macbook Pro with bluetooth the label software would only use it when connected via USB.

Also it comes with a power adapter, which is needed. It cannot be powered by USB.

Other than that it is quite a nice unit.
post #5 of 16
It this a legitimate review or a paid ad under the guise of a review? If the latter, the site should clearly note that.
post #6 of 16
Apple should have bought Epson.
 
Where's the new Apple TV?
Reply
 
Where's the new Apple TV?
Reply
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

It this a legitimate review or a paid ad under the guise of a review? If the latter, the site should clearly note that.

It's a review. We don't write "paid" reviews. If a company provides us a product to sample, we make note of it (as was done here).
post #8 of 16

You must read really thick "romance novels."  Looks more like the thickness of a paperback epic or a stack of 3 romance novels.  (I used to work at a used book store as a kid.)

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenfingers View Post

I would have thought $40 refills would have made it into the "con" category.

That is the first thing that came to my mind. These modern labels printers are great, if you have ever used a P-Touch it gets to be habit forming. This printer has a lot of potential but frankly the review came up a bit short. The thing I want to know is are we stuck with the Epson app on iOS or can we use it as a generic iOS printer Here is the thing, there are man up ways in which one could leverage this printer with your own apps (think business here) but you need to be able to access that printer easily

It would be great if the printer didn't barcodes too. I mean time was made of that either .
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

Apple should have bought Epson.
For what purpose?

The printing division was one of the first departments Steve Jobs closed down on his return to Apple.
Apple appears to have since performed okay without it.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhughes View Post

It's a review. We don't write "paid" reviews. If a company provides us a product to sample, we make note of it (as was done here).

This is good to know obviously. However they review answered almost none of the questions I would have been interested in seeing answered, thus it does appear to be a bit of fluff.

For example if you are intending to use this in a business setting barcode support can be very useful in a label printer. The other question that pops into mind is access from an iOS device via a custom app, can it be done via iOS's built in printing capability or via an SDK? In the end there are many uses for such a printer in a bipusiness setting if it can be freely accessed by custom iOS apps.

By the way I know accessing external devices is something that Apple creates barriers to or has in the past. Since there has been no mention of how the drivers work we don't know if this device is still constrained by Apples policies.

I'm trying to avoid being hyper critical here but I think the review missed the mark a bit. Maybe there isn't enough space for an in depth review which is fine but lack of depth can sometimes lead to the feeling of fluff as mentioned above
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

I'm seeing 30 feet of refill tape for around $16 on Amazon. That should print quite a few labels.
So you are happy paying any where's for half a dollar to a dollar + for a linear foots worth of label? this is perhaps the biggest negative with these label printers and frankly is why I have any negatives feelings at all about the printers!
Quote:
Anything to avoid those dreadful label sheets... those suck!

Exactly a huge win over those sheets. I have a P-Touch at home and at work (which is effectively the same concept), and they are extremely useful devices as long as you don't go hog wild printing. It is easy for the printed labels to end up costing more than the storage boxes you are labeling.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

This is good to know obviously. However they review answered almost none of the questions I would have been interested in seeing answered, thus it does appear to be a bit of fluff.

 

I thought it was a decent review and your questions were  answered for anyone willing to read information linked to from the review.
 

Quote:
For example if you are intending to use this in a business setting barcode support can be very useful in a label printer.

 

That's not a question.  If you're asking whether or not this printer supports barcodes, it does, as well as QR codes.

 

Quote:
The other question that pops into mind is access from an iOS device via a custom app, can it be done via iOS's built in printing capability or via an SDK?

 

No, and  AirPrint (built-in printing in iOS) is WiFi based, this printer is Bluetooth based.

 

Quote:

In the end there are many uses for such a printer in a bipusiness setting if it can be freely accessed by custom iOS apps.

By the way I know accessing external devices is something that Apple creates barriers to or has in the past. Since there has been no mention of how the drivers work we don't know if this device is still constrained by Apples policies.

 

Apple has nothing to do with this.  AirPrint is not only WiFi based, where this device chose to utilize Bluetooth, but AirPrint is document oriented, wherein this is a specialized task printer.  While no SDK is available for this printer, no SDK is needed.  Anyone could develop an app or add support for their apps for this printer since it's using Bluetooth, and that is open and accessible in iOS.  But don't expect a single one to ever do so.

 

Quote:
I'm trying to avoid being hyper critical here but I think the review missed the mark a bit. Maybe there isn't enough space for an in depth review which is fine but lack of depth can sometimes lead to the feeling of fluff as mentioned above

 

I think this review was valuable for those of us interested in the product.  It was enough to influence me in my decision to buy one even though I had heard about it elsewhere.  This review offers lots of opinion on different aspects of the device and how well it performed.  You seemed to have questions regarding specs (available from their website or Amazon) which this review links to for additional information (and purchasing).

 

So far, I've ended up being really pleased with products I've purchased based on positive reviews by AppleInsider.

post #14 of 16
For me the best part of a review is that it brings new products that I wouldn't be aware of. Thanks guys. And this is a free site, with good info and some top class analysis.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

So you are happy paying any where's for half a dollar to a dollar + for a linear foots worth of label? this is perhaps the biggest negative with these label printers and frankly is why I have any negatives feelings at all about the printers!

Price of the labels doesn't matter to me if the product does what it's supposed to do.

I have a standalone Brother P-Touch labeler and I don't even know the cost per foot of its labels. It never occurred to me. I bought it because it works.

This Epson label printer has the ability to print on a few widths of labels from a computer or a phone. It's pretty capable.

No one has to buy it, though. But if it fills a particular need... then go for it.
post #16 of 16
We use a Dymo Labelwriter in the office and never had a label problem, but sadly it cannot be networked. So we have to have two, one of which is on a PC which everyone has to walk to if they want a label done. It's inefficient but of course means we own two printers where one would do. It seems this Epson label printer suffers from a similar problem.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
  • Review: Using the Epson LW-600P portable label printer with Apple's iPhone & Mac
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Review: Using the Epson LW-600P portable label printer with Apple's iPhone & Mac