Hands On: Brother P-Touch E550WVP Industrial Labeller

Written by Martin Regtien on . Posted in Mobile Devices

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For some trades an industrial labeller is essential. For others it’s a nice to have tool. I am one of those folks that hate to label people but love to label things....


So when 4Cabling sent us the Brother P-Touch E550WVP Industrial Labeller, we were keen to have a look at what can be done with a fully featured labeller.


And yes, I can see that it would be very useful beyond its intended target group.
I’ll show you why.

First Impressions

The Brother P-Touch E550WVP Industrial Labeller, like any other serious tool, comes in its own case that also holds the various accessories.

The biggest surprise when opening the case is how big the actual labeller really is: could this still be classified as a handheld? It weighs nearly a kilo and that is without a battery and cartridge but is well suited for rugged, industrial use with its nonslip exterior and large keys. The top third of the unit is taken up by the monochrome screen. It is quite legible but I would have preferred a higher resolution screen. Particularly when you try to decipher some of the symbols! It’s been a while since I’ve seen such heavily pixelated characters on a high-end device....

To insert the rechargeable battery and the tape cartridge of your choice the whole back cover comes off.

Rather than describe every function and button on this unit let’s highlight the main features.


What does it do?

The E550WVP uses direct thermal printing from cartridges that can hold different types of labels in various sizes or material. It cuts the labels automatically. Labels can be typed in directly through the keyboard or through its wireless capability via computer and mobiles.
The types of label cartridges cover the gamut of heat shrink tube tapes, tough laminated labels, even fabric. Various colours, sizes and material are available from around $30 up to $60 per cartridge.


Uppercase, lowercase and all sorts of symbols, including barcodes can be printed and formatting is specifically geared to label cables, faceplates, datacom units and all types of electrical installations.
The full list of features and specs you’ll find at the end of this article.

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How easy is it to use?

I’m always looking for value for money and ease of use in any products that we review on DigitalReviews.net. So let’s start with that last item: you’re probably not interested in a 3 day course to learn how to use the P-Touch. A 3 hour cruise through the manual most likely will put you off as well so how about 3 minutes?

Almost half of the manual consists of warnings and cautions, which is mandatory fare for any electrical tool these days.... Any common sense around at all?
A cursory glance at the manual is always useful whilst you insert the included cartridge and battery and start charging the unit. A simple but cool feature is that you can also grab a six-pack of AA alkaline batteries if you’re out in the field without access to power.


Most of the buttons are self-explanatory so let’s power it up and start typing. Press the print button and the magic happens: the tape feeds out and cuts automatically. Voila!
There are tons of other features to explore but the basic functions are extremely simple.


One of the core applications is the labelling of cables. You can do just about anything like cable flags or cable wraps and identifying the right cable can be critical in IT installations. If you look behind our test bench here at Review HQ you’ll see the blackest bowl of spaghetti ....
It would be very handy to put a label at both ends of the cable or power cord. Even identifying which power pack goes with which device is a good solution to ending up with a drawer full of power packs.

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With that in mind and, after I had labelled just about everything that would benefit from having a label, I passed on the unit to our IT guy. You could not have made him any happier, particularly after he discovered the Wi-Fi function so that he can send everything straight from his phone! And with the symbols and formats that are common in the datacom industry (as well as in engineering and electrical fields), it makes it all too easy and neat.
“You can make money with this thing”, he said.

And is probably the best endorsement you can have for the Brother P-Touch E550WVP Industrial Labeller! 

Recommendation

We rate it a solid 9/10 because of its ease of use, versatility, neat printing and decent pricing (AUD325). Minor point as noted: could do with a better resolution screen.

Highly recommended for anyone with a professional need to label the stuff they work with.

For others this particular unit might be a bit over the top but if you head over to 4Cabling you’ll see that they also have a smaller unit priced at under 60 bucks.
We might bring you a review of that one as well in the near future.

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Features


• Handheld direct thermal printing.
• PC, Mac, and mobile connectible, software included.
• Wi-Fi enabled.
• USB connector included.

• Prints on cable wraps, cable flags, or heat shrink tubes.
• LCD Backlit screen with 3 line, 16 character display.
• Qwerty and numeric keyboards in 20 languages.
• Supports up to 24mm TZe tape.
• Tape types include: TZe laminated and non-laminated and HGe laminated tapes, as well as Heat-shrink tubes.
• Tape cutter built-in.
• Includes 12mm TZe Tape - black on white.
• AC adaptor included.
• Li-ion Battery Pack included. 6 x AA batteries, not included.
• Carry case and wrist strap included.


Specs


• Weight: 950g without tape and batteries.
• Colour: Black, Orange.
• Dimensions: 126mm wide x 94mm high x 250mm deep.
• Printer Resolution: 180 dpi, prints 20mm/sec.• BarCode Names: CODE39, ITF 2/5, EAN13, EAN8, UPC-A, UPC-E, CODABAR, GSI-128 (UCC/EAN128), CODE128

Warranty: 2 year limited warranty.

Specifications
Part # 003.023.1550
Manufacturer Brother
• Weight: 950g without tape and batteries.
• Colour: Black, Orange.
• Dimensions: 126mm wide x 94mm high x 250mm deep.
• Printer Resolution: 180 dpi, prints 20mm/sec.
• BarCode Names: CODE39, ITF 2/5, EAN13, EAN8, UPC-A, UPC-E, CODABAR, GSI-128 (UCC/EAN128), CODE128

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