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.
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.