STICK ’EM ON

An elec­tronic la­bel maker is all you need to make sense of your clut­ter. churns out LIM TSIAO HUI tags for files, stor­age boxes and photo al­bums with th­ese four.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - SmartShopper Road Test -

1 EP­SON LABELWORKS LW-400 $89, from Au­dio House, Best Denki, Sta­tionery Su­per­store and ma­jor elec­tri­cal stores. Tape re­fill (12mm x 8m), $18.

This ma­chine is like a ham­per full of good­ies – the more I used it, the more use­ful fea­tures I uncovered. The chubby shape made it com­fort­able to hold and easy to type on, whether I held it or placed it on the desk.

It sports the bright­est screen (the only one that’s back­lit) with the clear­est text – I didn’t have to squint one bit. A Quick Tips menu at the back of the ma­chine clar­i­fies what the key but­tons are, and there are di­a­grams to il­lus­trate the Flag mode (la­bels for ca­bles) and Wrap mode (la­bels for pens and pen­cils).

I like the good va­ri­ety of fonts (14), frames (89) and icons (457). It also boasts the largest stor­age ca­pac­ity, sav­ing up to 50 en­tries. It prints minia­ture text, squeez­ing up to four lines on a 12mm-wide tape, while the other ma­chines cre­ate two lines, at most. To top it off, it’s bun­dled with an AC adapter (with the other ma­chines, it’s sold sep­a­rately), to power it from a socket, al­though like the other brands, it also runs on bat­ter­ies.

VERDICT It packs va­ri­ety, stor­age and prac­ti­cal fea­tures into an er­gonomic pack­age.

2 DYMO LA­BELMAN­AGER LM210D $129, from ma­jor sta­tionery stores. Op­tional AC adapter, $25; tape re­fill (12mm x 7m), $28.05.

It’s so straight­for­ward to op­er­ate that my eight-yearold fig­ured it out right away. You don’t have to mud­dle through font choices, as it has only six font sizes (XS to XXL), as well as reg­u­lar op­tions like bold and ital­ics.

Like with the Ca­sio ma­chine, I was able to align text. Its short­cut but­tons made key func­tions like For­mat Text, Save, Open File, Clear Text, Pre­view and Print La­bels a one-touch af­fair. I liked the ded­i­cated Save and Clear but­tons that the other ma­chines lacked. And like the Brother model, it comes with an easy-to-peel tape with split back­ing.

If you’ve no am­bi­tions to build a port­fo­lio of la­bels, its lim­ited menu with nine frames and no icons, and its nine-en­try stor­age ca­pac­ity, are good enough for ba­sic use. But I did wish the keys were less stiff.

VERDICT A kid-friendly ma­chine with use­ful short­cut but­tons to cre­ate ba­sic la­bels ef­fi­ciently.

3 CA­SIO EZ-LA­BEL PRINTER KL-820 $80, from Pop­u­lar, Sta­tionery Su­per­store and Mustafa. Op­tional AC adapter, $36; tape re­fill (12mm x 8m), $17.50.

This ma­chine can meet both home and of­fice la­belling needs. Its key­board is sim­i­lar to a com­puter’s, with fa­mil­iar keys like Shift, Es­cape and Caps. Its big­gest plus-point is the text-align­ing fea­ture, which is use­ful when you want to cen­tralise two lines of text. While the ba­sic func­tions were easy to fig­ure out, I had to pore over the man­ual to fig­ure out ad­vanced op­tions for num­ber se­quenc­ing and cre­at­ing text blocks.

It has 65 frames and 60 pre­set texts like Ur­gent and Con­fi­den­tial, but only five fonts – all busi­nesslike – and no kiddy icons. It saves up to 10 en­tries. I like how con­ve­niently er­gonomic it is too – the car­tridge com­part­ment opens from the top of the ma­chine (the oth­ers open from the back), and you press down on the cut­ter but­ton to cut the tape (the oth­ers have the same but­ton on the side). It’s the only one that runs on six AAA bat­ter­ies – the oth­ers use six AA ones.

VERDICT It cre­ates both sim­ple and com­plex la­bels for a range of needs, but the ad­vanced fea­tures need more ef­fort.

4 BROTHER P-TOUCH PT-D200 $69.90, from ma­jor sta­tionery and elec­tri­cal stores. Op­tional AC adapter, $45; tape re­fill (12mm x 8m), from $17.50.

With its in­tu­itive in­ter­face, this was the eas­i­est to get the hang of. The fre­quently used but­tons are well-spaced, and are big­ger than the let­ter keys. Some are in a prom­i­nent green. The wedge-like, soft rub­ber keys made it eas­ier to type with it in my hands, than when I placed it on the ta­ble. I didn’t have to waste any tape on la­bels that did not turn out the way I wanted – the pre­view func­tion was the most ac­cu­rate of the lot.

It has an ar­ray of 14 fonts, 99 frames and 178 icons, and stores up to 30 en­tries. There’s also a unique Deco Mode with 12 fun lay­outs like dot­ted and wavy text. The ic­ing on the cake? A tape with split back­ing so it’s easy to peel, mak­ing quick work of la­belling. VERDICT A de­vice that’s easy to use and ver­sa­tile to boot.

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