Unbiased review of Brother VC 500w color printer, detailing pros and cons for informed purchasing decision... Read more
Test of Brother VC-500W Versatile Compact Color Label and Photo Printer with Wireless Networking, White (RVC500W) (Renewed)
- User-friendly software
- Compact and desk-friendly
- Full roll of paper included
- Built-in cutter feature
- Waterproof print output
- Compatible with personal fonts
- Printing alignment difficulty
- Significant wastage
- Weak adhesive strength
- Moderate print quality
- Cost of labels high
- Limited to maximum 2-inch labels
“After extensive use and careful consideration, my verdict on the Brother VC 500w Color Printer is a mixed bag of impressions. Its compact size, ease of use and in-built cutter definitely make it a convenient tool for quick label tasks. Nonetheless, the constant battle with color inaccuracies, reduced adhesive strength and high costs of labels, unfortunately, diminishes its potential value. As someone who values quality, flexibility, and affordability, I would steer more towards traditional printers, especially for professional labeling or larger-scale projects. Whilst it’s not a complete disappointment, its weaknesses make it difficult to justify the price point and it falls short of my expectations for a professional-grade printer, hence, I will not be keeping it. “
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|Maximum Print Speed (Color)||1 ppm|
|Operating System||Windows, Mac|
|Item Weight||1.5 Pounds|
Introduction to the Brother VC 500w Color Printer
Right out of the box, the Brother VC 500w Color Printer comes with a certain allure – it’s not a laser printer, neither is it thermal. It belongs to the ZINK (Zero Ink) family which, in theory, should simplify quite a few printing woes. The initial question that pops into my mind is simple: Is it worth the $150 investment?
An Overview of the Printer’s Strengths
At first glance, I notice that the printer ships with a full roll of one-inch paper. No starter cartridges to wrestle with – definitely a plus. So in reality, if you value the roll at $30, you’re actually paying around $120 for the printer itself. A rather reasonable cost, considering the usual price point of quality label printers.
Before we delve deeper into the pros and cons, I’d like to set the stage for this review. The goal here is to embrace both my subjectivity (based on my personal experience) and objectivity (considering fair contrast and comparison). The aim is always to provide a balanced and informative examination. Let’s plunge into the Brother VC 500w realm and discover if it lives up to the hype.
Breaking Down the Negatives
- Brother VC 500W has printing alignment struggles
- Printer limitatively doesn’t print beyond the die-cut
- Insufficient adhesive strength observed in heavy usage
In this part of the review, I’m going to dive into the aspects of the Brother VC 500w Color Printer that left me underwhelmed, if not borderline disappointed. Remember, an unbiased review goes beyond the highlights. We’re exploring the cons extensively.
The Printing Alignment Struggle
Getting the designs on your computer to lineup with the labels on the paper proved to be a daunting task. Although this is common with traditional printers, the Brother VC 500W offered little to no flexibility in finagling the labels’ placement. It lacked options like over-print commonly found in regular printers, leaving little room to ‘workaround’ the challenges. This caused quite a bit of print waste, obscuring the printer’s efficiency.
Trade-offs between A Regular Printer and Brother VC 500w
Let’s call a spade a spade; the Brother VC 500w has its limitations. Unlike a regular printer, it doesn’t allow you to print beyond the die-cut, creating a restricted print field. This limitation can cause some trial and error, leading to additional print waste, which may not be ideal for regular usage.
Wastage Woes: Exploring the Printer’s Inefficiency
Wastage – that’s the word that kept cropping up during my experience with the Brother VC 500W. Beyond the alignment issues, every single print left a quarter-inch of wasted label both at the front and the back. This adds up quickly and becomes quite considerable, especially when factoring in the cost of the labels.
Adhesive Weaknesses: An Overview
The weakness of the adhesive was a stark issue I noticed. When used for my seed baggies, the label corners wouldn’t stick firmly if the baggie was opened frequently. This seemed to be directly attributed to the thickness of the label paper, which is considerably heavier than your usual stickers. While this might not be a concern for all, it definitely is worth noting for potential users who aim for heavy usage.
Digging Into the Positives
- Brother VC 500w has a convenient built-in cutter
- Offers long-lasting, waterproof prints
- Best suited for hobbyists or prosumers
If you’re considering the Brother VC 500w color printer, it’s only fair to equally weigh up its favorable aspects. While it does have its challenges, there certainly are qualities that should make any potential buyer pause to consider. Here’s an honest dive into those aspects I felt brought value to the printer.
The Convenient Built-in Cutter
I have to say one of the enticing elements that caught my eye was the built-in cutter . It’s a little feature but adds so much convenience. You simply slide your finger over – it’s as easy as pie! And, quite surprisingly, it works really nicely.
Endurance and Waterproof Abilities: My Experience
An aspect I really appreciated was the printer’s resilience, especially when it came to waterproofing. I tested out a label on my bag of frozen reapers (not your typical test, I know). After a month, the label still held up commendably well. Trust me, the ink never smeared, and the label didn’t give way. So, if you’re looking for a printer that can provide long-lasting prints, waterproof even, then this is a highly positive attribute to consider.
Assessing the Printer Quality: A Professional Record?
Here comes the million-dollar question: Is the printer boasting ‘professional’ quality? Well, in terms of how I perceived it, I’d have to say it’s genuinely a solid ‘just okay’.
It’s important to note that professional is a somewhat flexible term depending on individual expectations and requirements. Personally, I think the Brother VC 500w wouldn’t entirely meet the mark for professional labeling product for a business. It veers more towards the hobbyist or prosumer realm .
However, do bear in mind – quality might vary depending on the fonts, images, and even the colors you use in your design. So while I found the quality to just be okay, you might have a different experience. The printer’s ability to meet your needs might actually depend heavily on what those needs are!
Comparing with a Laser Printer
- Brother VC 500w printer uses ZINK thermal technology
- Canon’s laser prints crisper and more accurate colors
- Laser printers possibly surpass thermal in quality
In this section, I’ll be diving into a head-to-head comparison between the Brother VC 500w color printer and a conventional laser printer. The aim is to bring out the stark differences and similarities between the two, helping you to make a well-informed choice.
Picture Quality Precision: Thermal vs. Laser
Let’s kick off with the picture quality. The Brother VC 500w color printer uses thermal technology (ZINK), while the typical printer I’m comparing it to leverages laser technology. On comparing prints from the two devices, I found the Brother VC 500w’s output to be satisfactory, but not stellar. As a reviewer, I hold an unbiased stance and truth be told, the quality didn’t quite meet the standard I would expect from a professional-grade printer.
Real-world Experience: Comparing with My Canon Laser Printer
In my experience, I purchased a Canon color laser printer alongside the Brother VC 500w. I found that the Canon printer produced images and text that were noticeably crisper and color reproduction that was considerably more accurate. With my Canon printer, I was able to print without worrying about the need for tedious color corrections and pixelation issues, unlike the Brother VC 500w. This was a stark contrast and a factor that cannot be ignored when choosing between a thermal and laser printer. Without a doubt, the Canon color laser printer managed to edge out the Brother VC 500w in this regard.
In conclusion, while the Brother VC 500w printer does have its positive attributes, when it comes to a comparison with a quality laser printer, it falls short on a few fronts. This can impact your decision, particularly if you prioritize print quality and color accuracy. The thermal vs laser battle paints a clear picture – what you compromise in cost, you may end up gaining in quality.
Probing the Printer’s Color Calibration
- Printer inaccurate with colors, especially reds
- Font quality isn’t sharp or professional
- Only ‘normal’ and ‘vivid’ print options.
Upon testing the Brother VC 500w color printer, I found myself dealing with some inconsistencies in color representation, particularly when it came to the red tones. The disparities between the original and printed colors had me poking into the printer’s color calibration aspect. Here’s what I uncovered:
Dealing with Color Inaccuracies
The colorful world of the Brother VC 500w printer had some bumps along the road. Most notably, the reds that appeared vivid on screen resembled a faded tone when printed, which certainly affected the vibrancy of my designs. This means you have to fine-tune your design’s color on your computer screen to counter the printer’s weaknesses. Color accuracy is a critical aspect of any color printer; having to manipulate color settings to fit a potential inaccuracy is something to consider.
Quality Check: Font Edges and Outputs
The quality of the printed font edges was another area that failed to impress. Instead of the sharp, clear finishes you would expect from a professional printer, the results featured a slightly hazy, less-defined side that underdelivers on the quality front. This fuzziness, however, did seem more prominent on specific fonts than others and most discernible in high contrast scenarios like white text on a black backdrop.
Interestingly, compared to a conventional printer, this printer offers fewer options when it comes to print output. It had two quality settings – ‘normal’ and ‘vivid’. However, despite the Vivid mode doing better justice to colors, it’s still not enough to match the crisp, well-defined output a standard printer provides, which is worth noting.
- Color inaccuracy: Some colors, especially red tones, come out faded and not as vibrant as they appear on the screen.
- Font quality: Certain fonts have fuzzy edges, disabling sharp, professional results – a clear drawback for business related prints.
- Print output options: The printer falls short with only ‘normal’ and ‘vivid’ settings, which fails to deliver the precise, vibrant output of a traditional printer.
To sum it up, while the Brother VC 500w color printer brings convenience and simplicity, some shortcomings, particularly around color calibration & font sharpness, prevent it from providing the professional-quality results one might expect for the price.
The Cost Factor
- Brother VC 500w printer’s labels cost compared to competitors
- Labels are approximately 55 cents each, ten times comparative brands
- Cost increases to 60 cents with wastage factored in
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the cost. One of the key considerations when buying any product, and especially so with a product like Brother VC 500w printer. Let’s break this down.
Unraveling the Real Cost of Labels
First off, let’s consider the actual cost of the printer labels. As anyone who’s dabbled in printing knows, the cost of printing is not just the machine itself but also the consumables, here being the labels. To be precise, we need to consider not just the purchase price but also any potential additional costs like wastage.
Matching Cost against Avery and OnlineLabels.com
So how does Brother stand? Comparing Brother’s labels with other major players in the market such as Avery and OnlineLabels.com, I found quite a striking difference. For instance, a sheet of Avery 1×4 inch glossy labels (200 count) worked out at roughly six cents per label. Similarly, OnlineLabels.com came out at around eight cents per label, both as per the current prices.
However, when it comes to the Brother labels, I found that each 16-feet roll, priced at 27 dollars, provides around 49 1×4 inch labels. This works out to approximately 55 cents per label, considering zero wastage. That’s almost ten times the cost of the comparative brands mentioned!
Hidden Cost: Label Wastages
But wait, there’s more! Considering the initial alignment struggles and the less-than-perfect accuracy in print labels, I noticed a significant amount of wastage, which can put a dent in your pocket. Hence, after factoring in the print mistakes and label gaps, I estimate the actual cost per label to be around 60 cents. That’s a pretty steep price tag for each printed label.
Undoubtedly, the cost difference is significant. It all boils down to whether this premium is justified by the printer’s performance, usability, and convenience. However, my question here is, are you willing to pay this high cost in the long run? In my experience, many might find this pill a bit too hard to swallow.
The Impact of Label Size on Cost
- Cost and label size correlate in Brother VC 500w printer
- Largest printable label is two inches wide
- No cost-efficient alternative to original labels found
Getting into the nitty-gritty of the Brother VC 500w printer purchase, one factor that certainly made my eyebrows arch higher was the correlation between the cost and label size. At this stage of the review, I’ll attempt to give you a thorough breakdown of how the cost per label varies depending on the size you decide to go for. My aim here is to shed light on this otherwise overlooked aspect so that you, as the future user, won’t be blindsided by unexpected costs.
Understanding Limitations – The Two-Inch Barrier
Initially, I was slightly taken aback when I discovered that the largest label I could print was two inches wide a limitation that reduces the printer’s versatility. However, as I continued using it, I began to understand its constraints better and adjust my expectations accordingly. Remember, this isn’t about badmouthing the printer, but rather about providing you with all the specifics so you can make an informed decision.
Size Availability: A Brief Overview
For the Brother VC 500w printer, five sizes were available: two inches, one inch, three-quarter, half, and three-eighth. Yes, it’s beneficial to have some variety, but I found myself yearning for an intermediate size, maybe something between one and two inches. Sadly, such an option didn’t exist.
High Hopes Dashed: The Quest for Knockoff Labels
A pivotal part of my purchasing decision was the hope of finding less expensive, knock-off labels that could be a more cost-efficient alternative. A diligent search led me nowhere, and I was left stuck with the original labels, which invariably meant higher costs. Again, this isn’t an attempt to tarnish the product’s reputation – rather, it’s about presenting an impartial overview to help guide future consumers.
To wrap up this section, I’d say that while the printer’s label size does have a significant impact on cost, one also needs to consider aspects like user-friendliness and a smooth printing experience. Each choice will inevitably have its pros and cons; hence, the decision ultimately boils down to what fits your specific needs and budget best.
Walking Through the Pros
- Easy installation and intuitive inbuilt software.
- Compact design doesn’t take much desk space.
- Includes a full roll of paper on arrival.
- Easy and straightforward to use, even via mobile app.
After thorough testing and exploration of the Brother VC 500w color printer, I’ve identified a handful of its noteworthy advantages. In this section, I’ll enumerate these positives, and provide an unbiased account of my hands-on experience with the device.
Easy Installation and Intuitive Software
The initial setup of the printer, from unboxing to eventual operation, wasy surprisingly simple. The detailed manual that comes with the printer was quite helpful. However, the real star of the show was the software.
The device comes with its inbuilt software that’s feature-rich but not overly complicated, making it pretty straightforward to navigate. It’s not on par with professional software like Photoshop or Illustrator, but for the usual tasks you’d want out of a home or office printer, it’s more than adequate. Plus, the fact that it installs directly to your computer, as opposed to online, is a major perk. This arrangement enables direct access to the fonts on your machine, thus broadening your options.
One strongly positive aspect of the printer is its compact design. This device won’t demand much of your desk space, making it an excellent choice for those lacking in extra room. Despite its small footprint, it doesn’t compromise on the essential features that are expected of a good quality printer.
A Full Paper Roll On Arrival
This may sound trivial to some, but the inclusion of a full roll of paper was a welcome surprise. It’s nice to have this perk, especially because it means you can begin printing right out of the box before needing to worry about shelling out extra money for paper.
Ease of Use
Above all, this printer is simply easy and straightforward to use. Regardless of whether you’re printing from your computer or cell phone (Yes, there’s a handy app!), the process is seamless, quick, and effective. The ease of use underpins this printer’s appeal to a wide spectrum of users.
The Verdict on the Pros
With several notable pros bundled into its compact design, the Brother VC 500w color printer indeed offers some attractive features. However, as with any product, balancing these positives against its downsides is key to making an informed purchase decision.
A Look at the Printer’s Compactness
- Brother VC 500w printer offers compactness, saving desk space.
- Small size, high performance, suitable for limited spaces.
- Compactness benefit weighed against specific printing needs, costs.
Albeit an unexpected attribute in the realm of printers, the compactness of Brother VC 500w is something that stood out. Most printers are bulky pieces of equipment, taking up a significant portion of desk real estate. That’s not the case with this little guy.
Delving into Physical Appeal and Practicality
The Brother VC 500w has a distinctly petite profile. Its small stature is pleasant to the eye and the build quality does not disappoint. It has a certain aesthetic charm that adds a contemporary nuance to any workspace with minimal encroachment.
The overall footmark is a blessing in disguise, making it apt for spaces cramped with tech trinkets or cluttered with paperwork. It could easily fit into a small corner of your desk, or even sit happily amongst the keyboard and mouse without consuming much room. It’s a breeze to move around, which adds to its ease-of-use.
Unpacking the Space Economics
A printer isn’t something one changes often. Thus, its dimensions matter to ensure it blends with your evolving workspace over time. Despite its small size, Brother VC 500w does not compromise on performance, albeit some limitations as elaborated in other sections of this review.
Its compactness is a viable advantage for small businesses and home offices with limited space. But you may need to take into consideration the actual usability on a daily basis, the efficiency of the device, and the recurring cost of labels that come only in specific sizes.
The compactness of this printer is a definite pro, but the deciding factor will undoubtedly lie in whether it fulfills your specific printing requirements and fits in your budget.
Bottom line, the printer’s handy dimensions make it an attractive addition to any desk while sparing valuable workspace. However, it’s equally crucial to weigh this benefit against your everyday printing needs and cost constraints.
The Overall Verdict
After spending some quality time with the Brother VC 500w color printer, it’s time for me to lay out my verdict. Like with anything, there are two sides to the story – the good and the not-so-good. Remember, this isn’t about convincing you to buy or not to buy. Instead, I am offering an unbiased, first-hand experience to help you determine if it’s the right fit for you.
Comparing With A Laser Printer: The Final Showdown
Let’s start by comparing it to a laser printer. In terms of quality, there’s no contest. My Canon laser printer offers superior print quality, sharper edges, and better color accuracy. However, the Brother VC 500w stands out for its compactness, ease-of-use, the full roll bonus, and a built-in cutter. It’s a battle of quality versus convenience, and the choice entirely depends on what you value more.
The Verdict: An Unbiased Perspective
Just from a cost perspective alone, it’s challenging to ignore the significantly cheaper label costs associated with traditional laser printers. The Brother VC 500w’s labels are rather pricey – almost ten times the cost per label when compared to Avery or Onlinelabels.com. And this doesn’t even account for the extra wastage. If quality and cost-effectiveness matter to you, I’d say a traditional printer might be a better bet.
That aside, the Brother VC 500w has its charm with its zero-ink technology and small size. It’s the kind of printer that doesn’t require much space, the setup is more uncomplicated than typical printers, it gets the job done quickly and is pretty much hassle-free. But it’s crucial to note that these conveniences come with compromises in label design flexibility, print quality, and ongoing cost.
Final Thoughts and Reader Engagement
So, there you have it – my take on Brother VC 500w color printer. Whether it’s a hit or a miss for me doesn’t matter. It’s all about you, the readers, finding the information you need to make an informed decision. So, what do you think? Is the Brother VC 500w fit for your needs? Or, have you used this printer before, and do you agree with my verdict? Your experience matters; let’s discuss in the comments.
Should you buy the Brother VC-500W Versatile Compact Color Label and Photo Printer with Wireless Networking, White (RVC500W) (Renewed)?
Buy it if…
You value ease of use
The printer is hailed for its intuitive setup and simple operation, making it ideal for those who want a hassle-free printing experience.
You need a compact printer
Its small, desk-friendly size makes it a good fit for users struggling with limited space.
You’re looking for a printer with built-in cutter
This printer also includes a convenient built-in cutter, serving as a very handy feature for users.
Don’t buy it if…
You’re looking for professional-grade print quality
The printer’s quality has been described as adequate yet not exceptional, making it less suitable for those requiring professional-level outputs.
You’re cautious about ongoing cost
The cost of the labels is significant and can quickly add up, so this may not be the best choice if you’re budget-conscious.
You require precision in label printing
The challenge in aligning designs and labels as well as the inability to print beyond ‘the Die Cut’ may deter any user needing precise label outputs.
- Is the Brother VC 500w Color Printer easy to set up?
Yes, the Brother VC 500w Color Printer is easy to set up if you follow the instructions in the manual.
- Does the printer come with a full roll of paper?
Yes, the printer comes with a full roll of one-inch paper.
- Are there any issues with the alignment while printing?
Yes, according to the review, aligning the designs on the computer with the labels on the paper can be challenging.
- Does the Brother VC 500w Color Printer result in label waste?
Yes, according to the review, the printer can lead to label waste, especially during alignment adjustments.
- What about the adhesive strength?
The adhesives are found to be on the weaker side, but the quality can vary based on the intended use.
- Does the printer deliver professional-quality prints?
The review suggests that the print quality is okay, but may not be up to the mark for professional labeling.
- Are the print colors accurate?
Some color inaccuracies especially within the reds were noticed as per the review.
- Is the cost of the labels high?
Yes, according to the review, the cost per label can be considered high compared to other label brands.
- Does the Brother VC 500w Color Printer accept other label sizes?
The Brother VC 500w Color Printer accepts labels up to two inches in width.
- Does the printer have built-in cutter?
Yes, the Brother VC 500w Color Printer does have a built-in cutter.
- Does the printer software support transparent PNG images?
Yes, the printer software does support transparent PNG images with some adjustments.