by Steve Bennett
If label printers conjure up images of tacky embossed tape, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Dymo has charged into the digital age with its slick LabelWriter series. The Turbo model, featuring serial and USB interfaces, is the most impressive of the bunch.
Perhaps the most exciting capability of the Turbo is its ability to print Internet postage from Stamps.com and E-Stamp. This alone may make the LabelWriter a good investment.
But there’s one caveat, so don’t ditch your postage meter quite yet. For security reasons, the U.S. Postal Service’s regulations for Internet postage currently require users to print a matching address label for each indicia (the label with the encoded postage.) Rolls of three part postage labels (indicia, addressee, and return address) or two-part labels (indicia and addressee only) are available from Dymo for $14.95 per roll.
If you want to use your own pre-printed labels, you’ll need to place the Dymo printed address on top of it, which might not achieve the desired aesthetic look. If the regulation changes, the Dymo Turbo could well supplant the need for a separate postage meter.
The Turbo is also particularly useful for creating hard to produce one-off labels (or small batches of labels). The printer can accommodate a broad variety of label types with a maximum width of two inches, including address and shipping labels, disk and folder labels, badges, and more. The Turbo also lives up to its name, cranking out 30 labels per minute.
The LabelWriter software includes a built-in design tool that’s intuitive and easy to use. Within minutes after setup we were creating labels from scratch and trying some of the 40 predefined templates. There is also a bare-bones, but functional contact manager. For those with data in an existing contact manager, you’ll appreciate LabelWriter’s direct integration with Word, Outlook, Act, and GoldMine.
Print quality varies, depending on the font and size. Using a san serif font, like Arial, at 14 points or smaller, produces the best results with type that is especially crisp and sharp. With serif fonts, like Times, particularly in larger point sizes, the output is more noticeably not laser or high-resolution inkjet quality.
The Dymo Turbo is a handy adjunct to any existing printing set up. Its Internet postage capabilities can add real convenience over using traditional stamps. And it sure beats regular printers for producing single labels.