Price (RRP): $329
The new Brother VC-500W label printer uses Zink – zero ink – which means all the colours are infused into the label stock.
While the Brother VC-500W label printer uses Zink zRoll (it increases the label prices a little), it means Brother can make a smaller unit capable of printing from 9-50mm wide – and no mess or fuss with ink or fading with thermal prints.
What is Zink?
Zink is becoming increasingly popular as print-on-the spot cameras (similar to Polaroids) and pocket printers. In fact, Zink technology started as a project inside Polaroid Corporation in the 1990s, which spun out Zink as a fully independent company in 2005.
The paper has several layers: a backing layer with optional pressure-sensitive adhesive, heat-sensitive layers with cyan, magenta and yellow dyes (colourless until heated) and overcoat.
Brother VC-500W Label Printer
It is a Wi-Fi/USB connected, Zink printer that can produce full CYM prints on zRoll stock from 9mm to 50mm wide and up to 5 metres long (it has an auto or manual cutter).
The labels are water, tear and smudge resistant and have an adhesive backing for most surfaces.
Cost: RRP $329 but $279 from Officeworks
In the box
- Brother Label printer VC-500W
- 240V to 12V/4A brick with barrel plug
- 25mm label cassette
- Cleaning cassette
- 12-months warranty
A small, squat, white attractive plastic box 113 (W) x 116 (D) x 96 (H) mm in typical Brother style.
Wi-Fi can either join the home network or as Wireless Direct to connect your smartphone or PC directly to the device. We joined the home network (details here) and tested with Windows 10.
Download the Brother Colour Label editor for Android or iOS or the P-Touch Editor for Windows 10 or macOS. We tested with P-Touch for Windows 10.
P-Touch has been around for a long time as the staple for Brother Label printers. It is good because it accepts most label formats including .lbl, lbx, lbt, mbl so you can reuse what you have set up.
To create a label simply select New, and chose from blank layout, gift wrapping, home, office or a file layout.
It is pretty basic design software, but you can do a lot with images and dropping in JPEGs etc. And there is a professional mode as well that offers more options.
We did try the Android app, but it really needs to be used on a tablet to make the most of it.
As far as black and white lettering goes, it’s perfect. Crisp letters and the water and fade resistance are a great bonus.
As far as colour images its not too bad either (313 DPI) but remember that it needs to be landscape format to get the most from the image. It will print the full label width too. As long as you don’t expect inkjet quality photo prints, you won’t be disappointed.
Speed-wise it’s quite fast at 8mm per second, and it can auto or manually cut at the end of each label. You can also swipe the display to cut.
There is an eject cassette button that retracts the label under the print head back into the cassette so as not to waste labels.
You can find all costs here. In essence, 5-metre rolls come in 9/12/19/25/50mm width for $24.95/29.95/37.95/39.95/49.95.
So remember its cost is by the mm – pay only for what you use.
It is not cheap but remember it is self-adhesive, water and fade resistant and CYM colour.
GadgetGuy’s take – Brother VC-500W label printer is very versatile
As long as you are aware of the costs, it quickly produces quality colour labels from smartphones and computers. These labels are water and fade resistant and should meet the needs of OCD people. Craft types will love it particularly for making cards, personalised gift tags, and scrapbooking.
Remember that they are roll-fed and that allows enormous flexibility over pre-cut labels.
I think there is room in any home or business for this device from organising chaos to employee photo ID.