Many of us have a particular order of performing daily tasks and, while we may not admit it, changing anything in the routine creates a bit of a disturbance in the Force. There are others, though, who thrive in chaos. I, personally, am from the former group. There are those who enjoy order so much that everything has to be in a particular place, with specific boxes, containers and files for only one type of object. In this case, labelling may also be a form of relaxing. Enter the Epson LabelWorks LW-300 digital label printer.
Whether you’re the type to enjoy such an activity or not, labels have great usefulness in the home and particularly at the office. Labelling goes beyond adding a sticker of yours or your child’s name claiming something as belonging to you, and becomes quite important when filing away important documents in drawers, as many a doctor or lawyer still do.
Build and Design
The LabelWorks LW-300 is a standalone label maker, which has its own QWERTY keyboard, and a number of menu options. The unit has a plastic build with a white base and matte black top and rounded corners. The LED display (128x16 dots) is of a similar size to that of a conventional scientific calculator but does enough to get the job done. At times, the small screen does hinder some of the two-lined labels you wish to create, but the 4-way controller button allows you to scroll back to view any of the text you’ve already keyed in. Epson has had to be a bit creative in using the single-line display, using some numbering and icons to indicate a host of available text options. There’s also no backlighting on the display, so it isn’t very useful in the dark.
On the left side of the LED display is the power On/Off button, with the print button to the right. There are a number of keys between the display and the QWERTY layout, which include size, style, settings, shadow, search, multiple copies and backspace buttons. Below the keyboard are two Shift buttons, which acts much like the shift key for Caps on a single letter, a CAPS-lock button, spacebar and enter. The back end of the device has a port for the power supply, as well as the opening for the newly printed label. The right-hand side of the unit has a fairly large green button, which cuts of the label once printed. The bottom has a removable cover, which allows you to change the batteries and sticker tape. There are also four feet on the cover, two of which are rubberized for grip.
The LabelWorks LW-300 has dimensions of 145x150x55mm, a weight of 440g, and takes 6 AAA batteries for portability.
Creating labels is what the LW-300 is all about, and what you came here for. If you want to pick and start creating labels, the unit is capable of doing just that. Simply start typing and hit the print button. For everything else, however, there is a bit of a learning curve to overcome when it comes to changing fonts, styles, symbols, and punctuation, as well as two-line labels and multiple copies. The LabelWorks LW-300 prints text only, with no support for barcodes, wide labels, or cabling. The unit is also not PC-ready, so you won’t have the luxury of printing customised labels from your PC.
Epson offers 25 different label cartridges for the LW-300 (not as many as the 41 for the LW-400), ranging between 6mm, 9mm and 12mm, in options of standard adhesives, clear tape, glow-in-the-dark, metallic, pearlised, and even iron-ons for fabrics, all of which come in a variety of colours.
Most of the functionality of the device can be done via the setup button, without needing to use the shortcut keys. Users can specify the label length, adjust spacing, font width, and even setup of vertical and mirrored text when needed. While the setup button does offer a bit more simplicity over the shortcut keys, there’s still a learning curve to get your setup ready for your labels.
Printing the label is completed in a matter of seconds, at a rate of about 6mm per second. The unit has a standard setting of 180DPI resolution, with up to a maximum of 80 characters per line. The LabelWorks LW-300 has a few fonts to choose from, a few styles (bold, italics, etc.), as well as a total of 87 text frames. For repeat labelling, the unit is also capable of saving up to 30 labels for later use.
The Epson LabelWorks LW-300 does a decent job printing a number of different labels, while also being ultra portable thanks to the lightweight design and choice of batteries of the power supply. Unfortunately, the label maker doesn’t cover all the bases when it comes to labelling, with an inability to print barcodes and labels for cables. At a RRP of just over R800 (although you may be able to pick one up in the region of R600), the unit is quite reasonably priced for a digital label maker and does a really good job.