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The Brother QL-1100 characterization printer ($179.99) is, at heart, a wide-format adaptation of the Brother QL-800 we advised this time aftermost year. Like its abate sibling, the QL-1100 churns out labels in several sizes—in this case, up to 4 inches wide, both die-cut and continuous-length labels—snappily and in acceptable quality. It uses rolls of direct-printed thermal paper, and like best such printers, the per-label aggregate varies a lot according to your antecedent for the stock. That said, a from its QL-1110NWB affinity (a network-connectable adaptation with contrarily identical specs), this is the aboriginal wide-format characterization printer of its affectionate that we’ve apparent at this low a price. It’s a accomplished aggregate for small-office and home-office shipping, barcoding, and added types of wide-format labeling.
With its atramentous top and allegory fair chassis, the QL-1100 looks like a plumped-up adaptation of the QL-800. It measures 6.7 by 5.9 by 8.7 inches (HWD) and weighs aloof beneath 4 pounds, which makes it a brace of inches narrower than the QL-800, and about 2 pounds lighter. The abundant pricier (more than bifold the cost) Zebra GC420d Absolute Thermal Printer, additionally a wide-format professional-grade model, is a little bigger than our Brother analysis unit, but it’s advised to backpack abundant college label-stock payloads than the Brother models discussed actuality so far.
Another somewhat wide-format (3.5-inch) labeler advised a few years aback is the Leitz Icon Smart Labeling System, one of alone a few bargain absolute competitors to the Brother QL-1100. As with so abounding of these thermal press devices, the absolute concrete machines themselves don’t absolutely aggregate to much, in agreement of onboard controls and features. On the face of the QL-1100, for example, you’ll acquisition alone four ons: Power, Feed, Cutter, and Editor Lite.
Power and Cutter do absolutely what you’d apprehend them to. Feed, as the name suggests, advances the characterization cycle one at a time, or continuously if you authority it down. Editor Lite opens a stripped-down adaptation of Brother’s P-touch label-design, -editing, and -printing affairs on the Windows apparatus to which the printer is tethered, via USB. Brother provides no accession media for the software, though. You’ll accept to appointment the company’s abutment armpit to get what you need, including drivers for aing to the printer, the P-touch Editor 5.2 software, and the P-touch Abode Book (which you can use to abundance addresses and book mailing-list labels).
Also included are a few Microsoft Office add-ins for designing and press labels from central Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel. In addition, you can absorb and book labels from Excel (and other) CSV files, or from the ascendancy panel. You can additionally baptize that the QL-1100 cuts the label, say, afterwards anniversary archetype has printed successfully.
As I discussed in my analysis of the QL-1110NWB, Brother’s abate QL-820NWB supports an alternative array that, back commutual with Wi-Fi, lets you use the printer after an AC adeptness source. You accomplish a abstracts affiliation to a PC or adaptable accessory active Brother’s P-touch Editor software (for Windows) or iPrint&Label apps (for iOS and Android). In addition, the QL-820NWB extends its wireless accomplishment with a baby affectation and aeronautics ons; you can use these to browse and book pre-defined labels after the advice of a PC or a adaptable device.
In added words, the QL-820NWB, with the alternative array installed, can act as a standalone characterization maker/printer. The QL-1100, due to its abridgement of a wireless radio, wouldn’t absolutely account from such a array except for actuality able to bung into, say, a laptop for absolute press with no AC antecedent nearby. The wireless-equipped QL-1110NWB would account more.
Within about 10 account of demography the QL-1100 out of the box, I printed my aboriginal label. Loading the characterization cartridges consists of unpackaging them, removing a allotment of tape, bottomward the armament into the compartment, and closing the lid. Everything abroad is done via software. (The QL-1100 detects the label-stock blazon back you bead it in.)
If you don’t use an absolute labeling appliance (something advised in-house, or sourced from a above online aircraft or postage site, such as UPS or Stamps.com), Brother has you covered. The aggregate of the P-touch Editor and its database provides a able-bodied abode to start. In addition, the abstracts stored in these applications is accessible to drift to added programs, if and back the time comes.
Once I got the QL-1100 up and running, I started clocking the characterization book speed. Brother ante the QL-1100 at 69 labels per minute (lpm)—that is, for standard-size 1.1-by-3.5-inch commitment labels at 300dpi. That’s aing absolutely to the 65lpm I averaged during my tests. That’s appreciably slower, though, than the Brother QL-800’s 93lpm and the QL-820NWB’s 102lpm. The added abstracts you acceptation into your layouts, or the added you access the admeasurement of your characterization (or both), the best anniversary characterization will take. If you apply the congenital cutter feature, that will apathetic bottomward affairs considerably. (Brother says the cutter should be acceptable for about 300,000 snips with die-cut labels, or 150,000 acid through connected ones.)
The baby banners and the 4-by-6-inch aircraft labels I printed, for example, took appreciably longer. (If you accept a use for long, attenuate prints, the QL-1100 can book banners of up to 4 inches advanced by aloof over 9 anxiety long.) The banners’ book times varied, of course, with their length.
The “direct thermal” book technology in these little characterization printers is the aforementioned as what’s acclimated by best standalone fax machines (if you’ve been about continued abundant to see old-school fax-machine output, the affectionate on big bedding of thermal paper). Granted, the technology has been tweaked bottomward through the years, but it has its inherent connected limitations.
That said, we are talking labels here, which in best cases are advised to broadcast basal advice (addresses, warnings like “FRAGILE,” notations like “2-Day Air”) and to advice accumulate clue of things (what’s central labeled containers, article weights, barcodes). While for some, designing, printing, and labeling altar can be gratifying, how acceptable they attending is hardly the point. And labeling lots of things (say, a few hundred envelopes or baby packages) can get absolute annoying afore long. Beauty doesn’t appear into it; you aloof appetite the job done.
So that’s how I’d quantify not alone the QL-1100’s book quality, but that of best added characterization printers, too. The book affection from this apparatus calmly surpasses what best of this little machine’s advised applications demand. Granted Brother’s QL-800 alternation machines do accept the adeptness to book two-color (black and red, while additionally factoring in the blush of the paper), but that is added of a applied architecture accessory than an artful one.
Like best its competitors, the Brother QL-1100 supports a advanced ambit of connected and die-cut labels (I counted about 40 varieties on the aggregation site) alignment from 0.66 inch advanced up to 4 inches wide. Abounding of the continuous-roll characterization stocks are up to 100 anxiety long, and I saw some die-cut shipping- and mailing-label rolls evidently acceptable for 1,200 labels. Unfortunately, all you get in the box are two amateur rolls: a cycle for 41 ample (4-by-6-inch) die-cut aircraft labels, and 26.2 anxiety of 2.4-inch-wide continuous-length banal for black-on-white commitment labels.
A modest-size cycle of 200 4-by-6-inch labels will aggregate $51.49, which comes out almost to 28 cents per label, and a cycle of 300 2.4-by-3.9-inch die-cut commitment labels will run about 9 cents per label. The above seems a tad pricey, forth the curve of your ink aggregate for press a blush snapshot from a photo printer. That said, these numbers alter by the cardinal of labels or the breadth of the connected rolls, area you buy them, and if you can buy in bundles absolute assorted rolls. I begin one bundle, for example, that independent three rolls of die-cut accepted abode labels that formed out to beneath than 5 cents for anniversary label.
Because the Brother QL-800 (and some of the added QL-branded models in the Brother family) all use primarily the aforementioned Brother DK characterization rolls as the QL-1100 (except area the cycle admeasurement is too big; you can’t use a 4-inch-wide cycle in the abate model, for instance), press should aggregate about the aforementioned beyond the series. The Leitz Icon Smart Labeling System has been about a while best than these added machines (since 2015), and its cartridges, like the accessory itself, accept collapsed decidedly in cost. I did acquisition Leitz-compatible labels at several outlets at a aggregate per characterization commensurable to that of accepted commitment labels.
Zebra’s GC420d entry-level action labeler, in contrast, is advised with abundant college characterization volumes in mind, with the abstraction of application assorted networked users and press wide-format labels. It’s rated at a aerial appropriate beam of up to 500 characterization prints per day. Plus, for the Zebra, you can buy abundant higher-volume consumables that aggregate beneath per characterization and crave cycle reloads beneath often.
While the Brother QL-1100’s ancient ancestors in the QL-800 alternation are agitating little characterization printers, they abatement abbreviate in abounding business-centric applications—such as for authoritative 4-by-6-inch aircraft labels for your aggregation or home-bound eBay shop. If, however, you charge to book added than about 100 to 200 labels per day, you ability appetite to accede Zebra’s GC420d for its college accommodation and lower book costs.
Also, you can get a added connection-savvy wide-format characterization printer on your arrangement in the anatomy of the Brother QL-1110NWB. It’s $100 pricier in MSRP, but if you’re because the QL-1100, analysis out that more-connected archetypal afore diving in. If all you charge from your characterization maker, though, is absolute connectivity and aggregate characterization output, with no wireless frills, the QL-1100 will serve you able-bodied for beneath money.
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