Blog | March 4, 2013

Who Makes The Best 4-Inch Mobile Label Printer?

By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @monocello

Today's answer to the above headline is "I don't know." However, by the time our May issue rolls around, I'll know. You see, I've been up to my eyeballs working on this upcoming product review for Business Solutions. So far, it's shaping up to become what I think will be a very valuable comparison.

To date, we've had calls with a handful of manufacturers and have been refining the testing methodology. Additionally, we have our testing VAR all lined up ready to begin receiving units.

I bring all this up now because we welcome your ideas for what we can test and how we can do it. After all, we're doing these reviews for you and we want the results to be as accurate, fair, and valuable as possible.

Here are some of the things we plan on testing (some methodology is still being worked out):

  1. Ease of setup — what is the out of box experience? Utilities to setup and configure for use.
  2. Time to first print — send a print job to printer and time how long it takes for it to process and print the first label.
  3. Connectivity
    1. Who has which radios to support different networks? Wireless a/b/g/n
    2. User experience in setting up WiFi
    3. How far can the signal go? Radio strength
  4. Paper loading — how cumbersome is the experience? For instance, when wearing gloves
  5. Battery life — Don't just use the mfg's reported battery life. Measure inches-of-label per battery cycle.
  6. List languages/emulation of all tested units. Speed of emulation
  7. Interface
  8. Languages available in interface (e.g. English, Spanish, French, etc.)
  9. Full LCD? How much info is available on the display?
  10. Physical size/weight of unit
  11. Specs on the size and thickness of labels capable of being used. Max roll diameter
  12. Ruggedness — drop specs, IP rating, operating temperature
  13. Warranty
  14. Amount of memory
  15. Accessories available (e.g. forklift mount/battery, charging options, etc.)
  16. Price
  17. Speed
  18. Does mfg offer labels or counsel?
  19. Obvious side-by-side comparisons:
  20. Other factors — Include random things that are important when considering. Special features (NFC, multi-purpose) and other intangibles.

So, what do you think? What are we missing or where could we go wrong?

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