Review: Dymo LabelWriter Twin Turbo

A specialized label printer for Windows and Mac OS X (June 6th, 2008)

Electronista Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Dymo corporation

Price: $189.99

The Good

  • Thermal printing eliminates cost of ink or toner cartridges Dual spools makes printing different types of labels easy Only pay for postage; no additional charges for printing your own stamps Allows the creation of custom labels

The Bad

  • Can use, but not edit, Mac OS X Address Book data Import capabilities limited to CSV text files Must buy special thermal labels

One problem with most printers is that they're clumsy for printing out labels. Although many word processors will let you print names and addresses directly on an envelope or on a label, the problem is aligning envelopes or labels correctly in a printer. If you need to print mailing labels, or any type of labels (such as name tags, CD labels, etc.) on a regular basis, you can save yourself time by buying a printer dedicated to printing labels of all types, such as the Dymo LabelWriter Twin Turbo.

This printer includes everything you need to get started: a power cord and adapter, a USB cable (often omitted from most printers), a CD that contains Windows and Mac OS X software, and two spools of labels. One spool is designed for printing address labels while the other spool is designed for printing postage.


The parts of the Dymo LabelWriter Twin Turbo


By including two spools for storing labels, the LabelWriter gives you the option of storing two identical spools of labels for printing large numbers of labels, such as name tags. The moment one spool runs out of labels, just switch to the second spool of labels and continue printing.

Two spools also give you the option of using each spool for different purposes. Using the including labels, you can print either mailing labels or your own postage stamps. Change the spools out and you can alternate between any two types of labels, such as mailing labels and name tags. The two spool capability gives you greater flexibility in using different types of labels without needing to swap them out.


The printer can hold two spools of labels


What makes the LabelWriter especially economical to operate is its use of thermal printing, which relies on heat to print directly on the labels. Instead of messing around with ink or toner cartridges, the only additional supplies you'll ever need to purchase in the future will be additional spools of labels. Since you must use labels specially designed for thermal printing, you must make sure you only buy and use labels designed for the Dymo LabelWriter.


You can print a wide variety of different labels


To take full advantage of the printer, you must use the included Windows or Mac OS X software, which controls the printer. This software lets you specify the type of labels in your printer, the number of labels to print, and the data to print on each label. For printing mailing labels, you can type names and addresses directly on each label, or store names and addresses in the software's own address book database.

If you have names and addresses stored in other programs, such as a database, you can copy and paste that data into the LabelWriter's address book, or import the data from a file. To import data from another program, you must first export and save that data as a comma-separated value (CSV) text file, which almost all programs, such as contact management programs, can create. Then you can use the Dymo software to import this data into its address book.

On Mac OS X, the program can directly link to the Mac OS X Address Book and print any names and addresses stored in that program. (Since the data remains trapped inside Address Book, the LabelWriter software won't let you edit any data stored in the Mac OS X Address Book.)

Storing names and addresses in the program's own address book or in a separate database can be handy for customer names or other names you'll need to save. However, if you only want to print a label but don't need to save this information, you can use a special Smart Paste option.

Just type the text you want to print on a label, using a word processor or a spreadsheet, and separate it with returns, tabs, commas, or in rows and columns in a spreadsheet or table.

Now you can select this text, copy it, and use the Dymo software's Smart Paste feature to print your selected information on a label. If you select multiple chunks of text, such as two or more names and addresses, the Smart Paste feature prints each name and address on a separate label.

The program also includes a label designer feature so you can add graphics and text such as having the date and time appear or having a picture of your company logo appear on every label. Designing your own labels works like a desktop publishing program. Paste and align objects on the label, resize objects or overlap them to create unique visual effects.


Text and graphics objects allow you to create custom labels


Besides letting you customize mailing labels, this feature lets you print labels for other uses. For example, you could create labels to stick on food containers or inside a fuse box to identify the purpose of different switches, depending on the type of labels stored in the printer.

One of the more unique features of this printer is the ability to print out your own postage stamps that you can affix to any envelope. To print postage stamps, you must first sign up with a free account through
Endicia. This account requires that you specify whether to pay for your postage through a credit card or a checking/savings account. Creating this account doesn't cost anything; your only cost will only be the actual postage that you print.


Before you can print postage, you must fund your postage account


After creating an account, you must download additional software for tapping into your Endicia account and printing postage on the Dymo printer. You can purchase postage in any quantity, such as in $10 increments, and then print the exact amount of postage that you need whether it's for first-class envelopes or packages.


You can specify the exact postage


One potential problem with printing postage is that if your postage labels are jammed or misaligned, the printer will print a faulty postage stamp, which you won't be able to use but you'll get charged for the cost anyway. To prevent this problem, the Dymo software allows you to print a test stamp to verify that the labels are correctly aligned and that you've chosen the correct spool to use.

To print postage stamps, you need an Internet connection so the software can deduct the cost of the stamps from your account. Besides tracking the cost of the postage you're printing, this Internet connection also allows the software to display the most current postal rates for postcards, letters, or flat-rate envelopes or packages. As long as you know which type of item you're sending (postcard, letter, etc.), you'll always be able to choose the correct amount of postage.

By offering dual labels, the Dymo printer lets you print both mailing labels and postage at the same time without the hassle of loading a different spool of labels in the printer each time. When printing for the first time, you must specify which spool to use (left or right). If you have mailing labels in the left spool and postage stamp labels in the right spool, you only need to specify which spool to use for printing mailing labels or stamps, and the software defaults to your chosen spool unless you change it later. This prevents you from needing to specify which spool of labels to use each time you want to print.

If you need to print mailing labels, or labels in general, and also need the convenience of printing your own postage rather than wasting time at the post office, then the $189.99 Dymo LabelWriter Twin Turbo is for you. With the ability to store and print labels and postage from a single printer, along with its Windows and Mac OS X compatibility and bundled software, this printer is especially geared for anyone who needs to do multiple mailings.

by Wallace Wang


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