Dymo LabelWriter 330, by Dymo
Posted: 7-Jul-2003

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Dymo Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE
Overview
The DYMO LabelWriter 330 is a compact printer designed to print labels directly from your Mac or PC, so there's no more fussing with trying to load label sheets into your normal document printer. With the LabelWriter's resolution of 300 dpi, your labels will come out crisp and clearly legible, whether you're printing nametags, address labels, or barcodes.

The 330 can print directly from many standard business applications such as Word and Outlook, so you can use a variety of fonts and print sizes, and even add pictures. Less than 5 inches across, and weighing less than 5 pounds, it fits snugly on even small desks. It comes with all cables, as well as the software and labels to get you started. DYMO provides a one-year warranty on parts and service.

The LabelWriter 330 handles more than 40 standard label sizes up to 2.3 inches (56mm) wide, including address, postage, shipping, file folder, disk, video, name badge, cassette, and many more. It comes with DYMO Label software and integrates directly with Microsoft Word, Outlook, the Palm Desktop, GoldMine, ACT, and CardScan. And it works with all other software through standard printer drivers.

Retail price is $179.99 (Amazon price is $159.99).

Features

  • Eliminates the hassle of printing labels with a desktop or network printer.
  • Direct thermal print technology eliminates ribbons, toner and ink cartridges.
  • 300dpi resolution for laser sharp labels.
  • Prints labels up to 2.3" (56 mm) wide.
  • Prints labels in less than 4 seconds, 16 per minute.
  • Prints Internet postage.
  • Automatically captures addresses from popular applications for instant address labels with no retyping.
  • Prints Code 39, Code 128, Codabar, UPC-A/E, EAN-8/13/128, ITF-14 and Interleaved 2 of 5 bar codes.
  • Connects to USB or Serial port.
  • Easy to share over a network.
  • Works with Windows 98, 2000, Me, XP and MAC OS X. Can be used with MAC OS 8.6, 9, and 9.1 with version 5.03 of our DLS software.
  • Package contents: Printer, power cable, serial cable, USB cable, roll of labels, Windows/Mac software on CD, printed Quick Start Guide.

Initial Setup
I hooked the Dymo 330 up to my G4/867 via my USB hub and installed the Dymo software on Mac OS 9.2.2 (this is DLS 5). At first the software didn't recognize the labelwriter. To remedy the situation, I went into the Chooser to select the Dymo Laberlwriter and tried to print a small file within SimpleText as a test. That seemed to work fine. I then went back into the Chooser to reselect my HP printer since I didn't want all my printing to go to the Labelwriter. After that initial test print, the Dymo software had no problems seeing the printer. I typed in an address, clicked the Dymo print button, and the address label printed out perfectly.

I switch between OS 9 and OS X, so later I booted up OS X and installed the OS X version of the Dymo software (DLS 6). I went into the software to create a label, and ran into a small snag. Basically, the text in the software was condensed on each line into just the first character cell (the label printed out the same way). After contacting the vendor, I was informed that the Dymo software for OS X only worked in 10.1.5 -or- 10.2.5 and higher. I happened to have been on 10.2.2, which put me in the doesn't-work-right zone. After downloading Apple's 10.2.6 update and installing it, I then went back into the software, and all the text was showing up correctly, and it printed like a charm.

In Use
As shown in the picture above, the Dymo LabelWriter 330 is a very sleek and stylish design. It's a low profile label printer that takes up very little of your valuable desktop space.

The Dymo 330 can be used from 3rd party programs (such as word processors and database apps), but for ease-of-use, I prefered using the Dymo Labelwriter Software (DLS) that comes with the labelwriter. Using DLS, you can create labels on the fly, or you can store labels in an address book so you can retrieve them again later for subsequent printing. I keep my family and friends in the address book, and when I have one-shot needs to create a label (such as for sending out an eBay item), the software is perfect for quickly entering in an address and printing out a label.

For OS 9 users, the LabelWriter uses DLS version 5, and for OS X users, it uses DLS version 6. They are basically the same software, except that DLS 6 has a more polished user interface and a few extras. When using DLS, you do not use the Chooser to select the Dymo labelwriter. DLS automatically switches to using the labelwriter when you print from within the software (and it doesn't affect other applications, i.e., they will still use the printer setup in Chooser).

DLS includes a variety of label templates to choose from (from address labels to zip disk labels to folder labels). After choosing a label from the Label Templates popup menu, the label is presented in the DLS window. Each label type depends upon the size of the label paper you are using (and there are several label types you can order). Making a label is done by either clicking on the label window to change the text on-the-fly, or you can click on the Address Book and then select an address stored there. The label editor, whether used to change text on-the-fly or creating an entry in the address book, offers a fair amount of text handling, such as font, size, style, vertical printing, and a mirror effect. You can also specify the text attributes for the entire label, just the first line, or the remaining lines. Further, when entering an address, if you use a full 9 digit zip code, the software automatically inserts a postage barcode (POSTNET) on the label. There are preference settings that allow you to specify to always use the barcode, and also whether to put the barcode above or below the address.

DLS also includes a designer function that lets you alter the label template by adding graphics and text directly on the template. For the graphics, there are tools for lines and objects, barcodes, and an option to insert your own graphics from a file. In DLS 6, there is also a text tool for bending your text in an arc. You can then save the label template under a different name. The next time you select that template, all of your template text and graphics, as well as the text styles selected for the label, will automatically be loaded back in . I found this feature to be extremely useful. I found the Dymo software to be adequate for all my needs, but there is definite room for improvement (e.g., graphics scaling, showing size, drag & drop, etc.).

The quality of the prints from the Dymo are outstanding. The most amazing part of labelwriter is that you never have to change out an ink cartridge or ribbon. The Dymo 330 is a thermal printer, meaning that is uses heat applied to the special labels to create the print. I tried entering some grayscale graphic images, and the grayscale was duplicated amazingly well, just as good as my laserwriter would have done. The only downside on OS 9 is that you have to wait while the label prints (i.e., no background printing option). Under OS X, this setback is removed, as DLS 6 supports background printing.

The printer itself is very easy to operate. The top lid opens up with ease, under which you can change the spool out with a new label spool. There is only one button on the front which is used for paper feed. When not printing, the 330 does not make a peep, so you can leave it on 24/7 (there's just a small green LED light in front that stays illuminated to let you know it has power). Overall, I was very impressed by the design of the printer. In fact, in terms of just the hardware, I could not find any fault with this product.

There were a few quirks I discovered with the Dymo software. The OS 9 version (DLS 5) does not have descriptors (neither static or pop-up) for the buttons, so you have to learn what the buttons are by trial or by reading the documentation. Additionally, DLS 5 did not have all the features of DLS 6, such as the arc text feature and background printing. One major quirk I ran into, however, is for users who switch between OS 9 and OS X. DLS 5 and DLS 6 can be set to work from the same folder for storing address books, but they use different formats of the address book. I found this out the hard way. I had created an extensive address book in DLS 5, but when I used DLS 6 to access my address book, the software must have changed something. It loaded the address book into DLS 6 just fine at first, but when I returned to DLS 5, the address book was no longer readable by the program. I went back to DLS 6 to open up the address book again, and the address book was suddenly empty. Peeking in the address book file with BBEdit, I confirmed that the addresses were all wiped out. This is a disheartening effect of the incompatibility between DLS 5 and DLS 6.

Summary
The Dymo LabelWriter 330 is one of those desktop tools that you may not think you need, but once you use it for awhile, you cannot imagine being without it. Whether you are creating address labels for holiday cards, sending out eBay items, or even a quick label for your household boxes, the Dymo 330 is both convenient and versatile. The print quality is amazing, including a variety of supported barcodes as well as graphics. The 330 model also holds the larger labels, which allows you to print just about any kind of label you might possibly need, such as full address labels, return address labels, disk labels, file labels, zip labels, and more. The Dymo software even lets you create your own label templates based upon the label type. Users of OS 9 and OS X will have to use two separate address books due to incompatibilities between DLS 5 and DLS 6, but that is the only fault I could find in this product. Given the variety of labels that the Dymo 330 supports, there's a use for this labelwriter for every Mac user. After using it for awhile, you'll wonder how you ever got along without one. This product comes highly recommended!


Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Stylish low-profile design
  • Accepts several label types
  • No printer ink required
  • High quality labels (including graphics)

Cons

  • Using both OS 9 and OS X on the same address book corrupts the address book
  • Dymo software is adequate, but could be improved upon


Rating

Hardware

Software

OVERALL