Tag: labeller

Product Review–Brother P-Touch PT-P710BT Bluetooth Label Printer

I am reviewing the Brother P-Touch PT-P710BT portable Bluetooth label printer which is designed to work alongside your smartphone or tablet as a label-printing solution. This is simply through the device talking with your smartphone or tablet via a Bluetooth link.

It can work with your regular computer like a laptop if you are using Brother’s labelling software and a Bluetooth connection, which would really come in handy for those of us who use a laptop computer.

Brother PT-P710BT portable Bluetooth label printer with smartphone

The label printer itself

I would describe the Brother PT-P701BT printer’s size as being compact – slightly larger than four cakes of soap stacked face-to-face. Here, it would be something that you could hold in the palm of your hand.

The label printer uses the TZ family of label tapes that are kept in special cassettes. This same family of label tapes is infact used across a large number of their label writers or Wi-Fi label printers in Brother’s stable. This can be of benefit when it comes to ordering supplies for these machines.


Bluetooth PT-P710BT Bluetooth label printer

The labels come out of this side

It runs on its own replaceable rechargeable battery. Here, this battery is charged by you connecting this printer to a USB charger using a Micro-USB cable like you would with most open-frame smartphones or Bluetooth accessories. Or you could use this same cable to connect the printer to a Windows or MacOS regular computer so you can use Brother’s P-Touch Editor software to create labels.

The setup process to make it work with your Bluetooth-equipped computer or mobile device is that you have to hold down the power button to make the printer discoverable. Then you use the host device’s operating system to find the printer as a new Bluetooth device, similar to what you would do with a Bluetooth headset. It didn’t take long for me to pair this device up with my Android smartphone.

Brother PT-P710BT portable Bluetooth label printer with TZE label tape in place

Brother PT-P710BT portable Bluetooth label printer with TZE label tape in place

When I use this printer with my Windows 10 computer, I found it easier to set the Brother PT-P710BT printer to work as a USB label printer rather than with Bluetooth. It would be achieved by connecting the printer to the host computer using a USB Type-A to USB Type-microB cable or USB Type-C to USB Type-microB cable depending on the connection the host computer has. This is because there wasn’t the software support to allow a proper Bluetooth connection between the host computer and the printer.


I used this label printer to label the fuel tank of a small engine to remind its user of whether to use petrol or 2-stroke mix with this engine. Here, I used the iPrint&Label app on my Samsung Android smartphone and it didn’t take long to turn out that label although I would like to see that app have a quick opportunity to “clear the canvas” on any new setup. The resulting label then came out sharp and clear.


Brother could take advantage of various enhanced Bluetooth-peripheral setup experiences such as NFC-based “tap-and-go” pairing for Android phones for Bluetooth label printers and similar peripherals. They could also support the Bluetooth “fast pairing” setup experience being put forward by Apple, Google and Microsoft including, where applicable, the ability to lead users to install the extra software needed to get the most out of the device. This would also include the ability for this printer to work properly with a MacOS or Windows regular computer that is connected to it by Bluetooth, something that would be valued by those of us who use highly-portable computers like laptops.

As well, I would like to have the ability for the Brother P-Touch PT-P710BT label printer be able to operate while connected to the USB power source rather than use that source just for battery charging even if the battery is being charged or at full capacity. This could allow for battery energy conservation while you are at home or in a vehicle, or cater towards using a USB power bank with more battery capacity for longer field projects. Such a state could be indicated with the battery charging LED glowing green while the unit is switched on and connected to a USB source to indicate operation from external power and glowing yellow to indicate that the battery is charging.

To avoid confusion, I would personally like to see the Power LED glow steady while the printer is on and connected to a host device whether by Bluetooth or USB. Then have it glow yellow to indicate that it is discoverable by a Bluetooth host and flash during the pairing-up phase. Having a light that flashes regularly on a device can be seen to be an indication of a fault or warning condition rather than normal operation.

Conclusion – Is it a tool or a toy?

I would position the Brother PT-P710BT Bluetooth label printer as a basic label printer for those of us who use highly-portable computing equipment especially smartphones and always want to use it while “on the go”. Here, I value the ability to provide wireless connectivity without the need to worry about Wi-Fi network issues. It may not work well for team-based work where multiple-host-device connectivity is essential such as for work teams.

It is easy to see this labeller as a toy but for most of us who want to use our “many-function” smartphones to the hilt, it could be seen as a highly-portable tool. This is more so if we are wanting something that is highly compact and ready to go.

Product Review–Brother PT-E550WVP handheld label writer

I am reviewing the Brother PT-E550WVP TZe-compliant handheld label writer which is pitched at electricians, AV and IT technicians and similar folk who work with different equipment.  This ranges from those who work out of the back of their trucks or vans to the maintenance and IT departments of different workplaces.

One feature that it has beyond the typical label writer is that it can work with other computer equipment via an existing Wi-Fi network segment or its own Wi-FI network. This allows for you to order labels on your smartphone or tablet and have it turn them out.

Brother PT-E550WVP handheld label writer

Price: AUD$329 Recommended Retail Price

The unit itself

Brother PT-E550WVP label writer with back removed

Where to install the battery and the label tape

The Brother PT-E550WVP label writer is a large handheld device which has a heavy-duty build and an orange-and-grey housing. It is equipped with a large dot-matrix backlit LCD display that lights up when you are actually using the device, along with a rubberised keyboard.

To load the batteries or label tapes in to this label writer, you have to remove the back cover from this unit by pressing a latch on the top edge. Here. you have clearly-identified compartments at each end of the device for the batteries of the tape.

It has what some people may describe as a “three-way” power supply arrangement where you can run it on mains power courtesy of a supplied AC adaptor/charger, a supplied rechargeable lithium-ion battery or 6 AA alkaline batteries of the Duracell kind. This means that even if you run out of power from the rechargeable battery while on the road, you can go to the convenience store and buy some batteries to complete that labelling project. Here, charging the unit’s lithium-ion battery pack is simple as plugging the unit in to mains power using the supplied AC adaptor.


Brother PT-E550WVP label writer keyboard

Rubberised keyboard with accent selector

The Brother PT-E550WVP label writer is based on Brother’s TZe label-cassette platform which means that it can work with all of Brother’s TZe label products which suit different purposes. This includes their HSe series of heat-shrink label tubes that you use to attach to cables.

This label writer has quick access to label templates that are optimised for labelling cables, patch-bays, outlets and the like which can make it an electrician’s or maintenance engineer’s best friend.

As for on-device data entry, the large display makes it easy to see what you are typing in on the unit’s QWERTY-layout rubber-membrane keyboard. The disadvantage with this keyboard is that all the keys are “bunched-up” together rather than spaced out like a calculator’s keyboard. This can be awkward for some users, but you can at least feel which keys are which because each key on the main keyboard has a hemispheric “pimple” shape.

The label writer doesn’t feel extra top-heavy while you are entering text and it still has that comfortable hand-held feel that is expected of this class of device.

You have a dedicated accent key which can come in handy for entering the accents common in most of the Latin languages. This may also appeal to those of you who are learning foreign languages and use labels attached to items as a tool to reinforce your vocabulary. Here, you press the letter you want accented then press the accent key repeatedly until the desired accent appears. In the case of the “ß” used in the traditional German orthography, you type the S letter then press the accent key until the “ß” letter shows up.

As for the output quality, the labels come out of this machine very crisp and clear as has been expected for Brother’s thermal labellers.

You use the Menu and arrow keys to select the advanced functions like the network connectivity, cutting behaviour amongst other things. This leads me to the network connectivity which is one of its key features.


The Brother PT-E550WVP label writer can work as a label printer with a regular computer or a mobile device and can connect to the latter via Wi-Fi. This can be handy if you are wanting to run a batch of labels from your smartphone or tablet such as whenever you are out of the right label tape or you have left the label writer behind. Similarly, you can use this link to transfer databases or label templates created using the P-Touch software.

Brother PT-E550WVP label writer network operation menu screenshot

The user can select between direct Wi-Fi or a Wi-Fi network

This model has answered a problem that was exhibited by Brother’s PT-P750W Wi-Fi label printer where it would attempt to connect to the last Wi-Fi wireless network it used before working as a standalone Wi-Fi wireless device. Here, the user has to select whether to run the label writer as its own Wi-Fi network or have it join an existing Wi-Fi network by using the WLAN menu option on PT-E550WVP’s menu and selecting “Direct” for working as its own network and “Infrastructure” for working with an existing Wi-Fi network.

As for connecting via an existing Wi-Fi wireless network, you can connect this unit to Wi-Fi network segments that use WPS or classic WEP or WPA-Personal password setup methods. This typifies most Wi-Fi home or small-business networks but would preclude business networks that implement user-specific or device-specific authentication along with public hotspots that implement Web-based authentication.

Comments from other people

Brother PT-E550WVP label writerI showed the Brother PT-E550WVP label writer to a friend of mine who works as a maintenance electrician and let him have a play around with this device. He was impressed with this unit’s rugged design and ease of use. This was so much that he would suggest to his workplace to consider buying these labellers for the team he works with.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

A feature that may be considered nice to have for the PT-E550WP would be to allow the label writer’s keyboard to serve as an external keyboard for a tablet or smartphone. Similarly, this labeller could benefit from an optional car adaptor so it can be charged up from the vehicle’s cigar-lighter socket when you are driving between jobs or want to conserve battery power when you work out of the back of your van.

Similarly, Brother can improve on the display’s contrast to augment its useability. Here, they could implement display technologies like EL-backlit LCD displays or monochrome OLED displays which have a similar contrast to the vacuum-fluorescent displays but don’t consume as much power as those displays.

A function that could come in handy for people who use this label writer as part of IT support would be to print out the SSID and, perhaps, the password of the current network. This may be useful for preparing a network-configuration card to give to the network’s owner or attach the SSID to the router or access point they have configured.

Conclusion – Is it a tool or a toy?

The Brother PT-E550WVP handheld label writer earns its keep for tradesmen and maintenance departments who value a highly-durable label writer and want to have the ability to link it with their portable computing equipment whether now or in the future. Personally, I would consider this label writer to be a viable tool for these kind of users rather than a toy.

Product Review–Brother PT-P750W Wireless Label Printer


I am reviewing the Brother PT-P750W Wireless Label Printer which is the first portable label printer to be designed to work with smartphones and tablets.This is brought about using integrated Wi-Fi wireless network connectivity with Wireless-Direct (own access-point) operation along with the ability to work with a mobile-platform label printing app.

Brother P-Touch PT-P750W Wireless Label Printer

Price (Printer unit): AUD$249

The printer itself

Brother P-Touch PT-P750W wireless label printer with Samsung Android smartphone

This is what this Brother label printer is all about

The Brother PT-P750W Wireless Label Printer has “three-way” power where it can work from AC power via a supplied AC adaptor, 6 AA batteries or an optional rechargeable battery pack. If you run it on the AA batteries, you can only connect to it using the USB cable which limits its printing abilities to laptop computers or tablets running the “regular” Windows or MacOS X operating systems.

It uses the TZe series of P-Touch thermal label tapes which snap in to the Brother labeller in a manner not dissimilar to an audio cassette tape. Here, you have a wide variety of label tapes that can suit the different situations ranging from coloured labels through tamper-evident labels even to waterproof labels.


Label printed by Brother PT-P750W printer from Samsung smartphone

Light-switch label turned out by the above-illustrated setup

This machine can be connected directly to a regular computer via the USB cable or can be connected to regular computers or mobile computer devices via an existing Wi-Fi network segment or Wi-Fi Direct link. This includes the ability for Android phones that have an NFC connection and the Brither iPrint&Label app to “touch and go” for printing. As for the existing Wi-Fi segments, this can work with small networks that implement pre-shared key methods like WEP or WPA-PSK or can sign in to enterprise networks with a username and password. In these situations, if the network segment doesn’t implement WPS “push-to-connect” functionality, you have to use a regular computer running Brother’s “Printer Setting Tool” which you download from Brother’s Website and connect the printer to the computer via a USB cable to supply to the printer the parameters for the Wi-Fi segment you intend to have this printer work with.

Brother P-Touch PT-P750W wireless label printer - label cassette bay

Uses TZe label cassettes

This network functionality can only work if the printer is connected to AC power or the optional lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack. As well, it doesn’t implement the web-based “own-access-point” Wi-Fi setup that is common of a lot of wireless devices for integration with existing Wi-Fi segments. This may not be an issue with those of you who would keep this machine in the back of the van, ready to turn out labels as needed. If you have a device that doesn’t support NFC “touch-and-go” connectivity, you just need to turn on Wi-Fi and the printer will go in to Wi-FI Direct mode if it isn’t connected successfully to the

If you are printing from your smartphone or tablet, you would need to use the Brother iPrint&Label app to turn out the labels. This app worked well with my Samsung Android smartphone and it didn’t take long for me to link the smartphone up directly to this device and turn out a test label. It worked very well with a clean easy-to-use interface that allows you to get the job done.

Personally, I would have liked this app to support the ability for one to supply network connectivity information to the printer using that app’s interface as well as being able to print direct. Using a flashing Wi-Fi light to indicate Wireless Direct can have us think that something is going wrong even though the steady NFC light to indicate connection can lead to operator confusion. Rather, I would implement a dual-colour LED for the Wi-Fi light to indicate “infrastructure connection successful” in green and “Wireless Direct connection successful” in red or yellow. As well, have the light flash during connection establishment.

Label Quality

The labels have come out of the Brother PT-P750W labeller very crisply and clearly even when I have used the iPrint&Label app.  The app even implemented “right-sized” labelling to fit multiple-line text on the same piece of tape.

Usage Notes

Brother P-Touch PT-P750W Wireless label printerI used this device at the church I attend to help one of the men who is a licensed electrician and does the AV and electrical work for that congregation to turn out a label for the external-lighting switch. Here, I found that the Brother PT-P750W “tries” for my home network and doesn’t immediately fall over to Wireless Direct behaviour every time it is powered up. Personally, I would like to have a switch on the unit that enforces Wireless-Direct as an operation mode there and then, in a similar way to some of the Pioneer wireless speakers that have a switch on the unit to enforce this mode, and this mode is highlighted by the Wi-Fi light changing to a different colour to indicate “independent” wireless-network operation.

The man’s wife was intrigued by the way the Brother PT-P750W operates with a smartphone like his iPhone so as to make better use of that phone through the day. I had explained to the man how the device worked where he used his iPhone or iPad to label switches and outlets and he was even approaching me regarding how much it cost.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

An accessory that may be nice to have and may gain traction with this device’s target market would be a DC power adaptor. This would plug in to a vehicle’s cigar-lighter socket to allow this unit to be powered or charged from the vehicle’s 12-volt circuitry. Here it would earn its keep with those of us who work out of the back of a van by allowing us to charge the Brother label printer’s rechargeable battery while we are driving between jobs or locations, or have the unit working with the full wireless abilities and printing from our smartphones when we are preparing labels in the back of the van but without needing to have the optional rechargeable battery or compromising the battery’s runtime.

Another accessory that Brother could supply, whether “in the box” or as an optional extra, is a matching fitted carry-bag or road-case for this printer where the printer, its AC adaptor, a USB cable and a few label cassettes can be kept safely while it is taken “on the road”. Here, it also provides a single known place for the machine and these accessories so you don’t lose anything easily as you take it between locations.

As I have said before. the Brother software could support the ability to use one of their labellers to create a calibrated measuring tape. This could come in handy when you want to make a surface become a reference for measuring an item’s length or height.


I would pitch the Brother PT-P750W at electricians and other tradesmen along with maintenance departments who place value on using a smartphone or tablet to turn out labels as part of the job. The fact that it can work as its own Wi-Fi wireless segment as well as working with an existing Wi-Fi wireless network increases its portability even more because you don’t have to pair your mobile device or this printer with an existing Wi-Fi wireless network.

For that matter, I would see this machine as a viable tool rather than a toy. If you are intending to use the Brother PT-P750W Wireless Label Printer “on the road”, I would recommend that you purchase the rechargeable battery pack and have this set up for Wireless Direct exclusively for a truly portable setup with your mobile device.

Product Review–Brother QL-700 high-speed thermal label printer


I am reviewing the Brother QL-700 desktop label printer which is the high-speed heavy-duty version of the QL-570 label printer that I previously reviewed. It is pitched at high-throughput applications such as the delivery segment of an online-order business or the mailroom in a busy office, whereas the QL-570 is pitched as a desktop labeller for most low-throughput applications.

Brother QL-700 label printer


The QL-700 which is the heavier unit can use the same Brother thermal labels and tapes as the QL-570, yet is able to turn out labels and badges at a quicker rate than the previous model. It retails for AUD$149 and effectively uses the same software as the other model, working as a printer for the host computer using the supplied driver rather than needing special software to print at all.

Brother QL-700 label printer with tape loaded

Tape loaded in Brother QL-700

Like the Brother QL-570 label printer, the Brother QL-700 connects to the host computer via USB, and is self-powered like the QL-570 with an easy-to-replace “cassette-recorder” AC cord, which has the same advantages of not being dependent on “wall-wart” power supplies. Like the QL-570, it could benefit from having a two-port or three-port self-powered USB hub integrated in to the unit, which would benefit use with other workstation devices like bar-code readers, scales or keyboards.

If you are upgrading from a Brother QL-570 label printer, you do not really any retraining because the loading and operating procedures are effectively the same for both units.

As a labeller, the Brohter QL-700 still does the job properly and reliably, being able to work with continuous tape or cut labels and turning out sharp text on these labels. The supplied address-book software can turn out advanced mailing / shipping labels with the barcode for the ZIP code but this only works properly with goods destined to the USA. It could work in a country-specific manner by supporessing this barcode for other countries or using destination-specific barcode systems where applicable.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

Brother QL-700 tape bay

Tape loading bay - just like the QL-570

Like the Brother QL-570, the QL-700 could benefit from implemeng the USB POS device classes ; and could also support printing on to regular thermal-print paper rolls used with point-of-sale devices. This can then make it an ideal partner for a high-traffic point-of-sale environment rather than just a label maker.

Similarly, the Brother P-Touch software that comes with the QL-series label printers could take advantage of the continuous-length tapes to turn out stick-on measuring tape for applications such as health and education.

Brother could also turn out a 12-volt variant of this model which can run from a car battery for use with high-throughput outdoor applications like disaster relief and country events.


I would recommend using the Brother QL-700 for high-turnaround environments like online-order businesses or offices with high-traffic mailrooms – if the business has outgrown the QL-570’s capabilities, the QL-700 would be a perfect step-up unit.

Brother QL-700 label printerWhen used with the Brother VM-100 visitor-management software or similar visitor-registration software, the Brother QL-700 could satisfy the needs of a very busy registration and check-in desk at a very busy event.

Product Review–Brother QL-570 Label Printer


I am reviewing the Brother QL-570 thermal label printer which works with a host computer as a simple label-printing system but can suit other tape-printing application.

Brother QL-570 thermal label printer


RRP: AUD$129.00

This label printer is also available as part of a visitor-management package which costs AUD$499 that has the software, a brace of thermal-paper rolls for the printer as well as 12 plastic badges and accompanying clips.The software, which I will be reviewing next, is also available as an add-on package for AUD$399.

The unit itself

The Brother QL-570 is a very compact label that is as wide as the typical receipt printer or two desktop sticky-tape dispensers. So it wouldn’t take up much room on one’s desk and could even perch on the top ledge of a reception desk without getting in the way of the view of the receptionist.


The label printer connects directly to the host computer using a standard USB cable. It doesn’t support any RS232C connectivity which would hamper its useability as a receipt printer for most POS systems and hotspot-management systems that use this connection. Brother offers a network-connectable variant of this unit as the QL-580N which connects to an existing Ethernet network segment.

There is one thing that I am pleased about this unit in the way it is powered. It is a self-powered device rather than being powered from the host computer’s USB cable. But the way it is connected to AC power is refreshingly different for this class of device. Here, the power supply is built in to the unit and it is connected to the power outlet using a standard AC cord of the kind you use to connect a boom-box to the mains. Here, you benefit from an easily-replaceable power cord and you don’t have to worry about losing powerboard space to awkwardly-sized “wall-wart” power supplies.


Brother QL-570 thermal label printer tape compartment with tape

Tape compartment with tape roll in place

The Brother QL-570 prints on to the labels or tape using direct-thermal printing, like the typical receipt printer or the older fax machine. Here, these units used a special thermal paper that has its top surface burnt off whenever the paper needs to be marked and this printing technique is known for printouts that fade over time.

This is although Brother uses a special layer to protect the labels from fading. As well, this unit uses a built-in guillotine to cut the paper labels or tape. It can work with Brother-supplied adhesive or non-adhesive label-tape reels that are up to 90mm wide.

You install a tape reel by dropping it in to the tape well, making sure that a square black clip is outside the tape rest on the right. Then you have to thread the tape through a slot so it comes out the label printer’s front. You have to make sure the cover is closed before you use the printer. This includes using the form-feed or paper-cut buttons to feed the tape through properly.

Brother furnishes the same P-Touch Editor label-creation software as they have provided for their PT-2730 label writer to create custom labels. This also supports the creation of merged labels and work with supplied plug-in modules for Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook. There is also a P-Touch address book to “get you going” with printed labels for your envelopes.

Programmers and software developers have access to a software-development kit available for download from Brother’s Website. This works tightly with Microsoft’s Visual Basic, Visual C and Access development environments.

Points of improvement

Brother QL-570 thermal label printer tape path shown

Tape path shiown - marked side isn't used for printing

As far as connectivity goes, a label printer like the Brother QL-570 could be designed for USB bus-powered operation, thus avoiding the need for extra cables to run to the printer as well as working properly with laptop computers. On the other hand, this label printer could benefit from an integrated self-powered USB hub thus creating more USB ports to connect devices to the host computer.

I would also like to see this printer support any and all USB device classes that relate to label or receipt printing for point-of-sale or gaming applications. This could also allow the printer to work with devices like point-of-sale terminals, TV set-top boxes, gaming / amusement systems and the like as a label or receipt / voucher printer.

It could also be able to work with the typical thermal-paper rolls used for receipt printing, which would be commonly available around most businesses. This would benefit the QL-570 being used in visitor-management or similar applications where you use “one-shot” badges or tickets.

As I have said before, the Brother P-Touch label-creation software could benefit from a measuring-tape creation program so one can create measuring tapes.


Brother QL-570 thermal label printerThe Brother P-Touch QL-570 label printer is a very capable unit for turning out labels or name tags on an ad-hoc basis and I would still consider it as being of use for these applications.

Product Review–Brother P-Touch PT-2730 label writer


I am reviewing the Brother P-Touch PT-2730 label writer which can turn out printed labels for attaching to various items. Unlike most labellers, it is one of those units that can be connected with a computer so you can create customised designs or have your office software prepare labels for printing out.

Brother P-Touch PT-2730 label writer


Recommended Retail Price: $129

The unit itself


The Brother P-Touch can be operated on AC current using a supplied transformer or can be used on the road once four AA batteries are installed in it. Personally, I would like it to support the use of rechargeable batteries with in-situ charging and / or receive its power while tethered to a host computer via its USB port.

Brother P-Touch PT-2730 label writer tape compartment

Tape compartment where the label tape goes

The PT-2730 uses Brother’s “TZ” label tape cartridges which are dropped in to the unit in a similar manner to how you would put a tape cassette in to a small cassette recorder. The only main point of confusion is that there is a white lever which can confuse new users when they load the cartridge in the machine.


Brother P-Touch PT-2730 label writer TZ label cartridge

TZ label cartridges as used by this labeller

The Brother P-Touch label writer uses a thermal-transfer method for writing on the labels. With some cartridges, it may involve the use of two tapes in a similar manner to the typical low-end plain-paper fax machine and in others, it would mark like the typical receipt printer.

When the unit turns out the labels, it automatically cuts labels to the correct size.

As well, there is a large choice of Brother “TZ series” label tapes available for the user to buy, with laminated tape in different colours or clear tape. There is even the ability to buy fluorescent tape, tamper-evident security tape or iron-on fabric tape for needs that call for these materials.

Standalone operation

A person can use the Brother P-Touch labeller to turn out a label without any special training, just by powering on the unit, typing up the characters on the keyboard and pressing PRINT.

If you need to enter accents that are required for foreign languages, you have to enter the letler that needs the digraph, press the ACCENT key repeatedly until desired character appears, then press OK. Some characters peculiar to certain languages like German or the Nordic countries may require you to enter a “close letter” then press ACCENT until you find the character. An example of this is using S for ß or A for æ.  This may make it easier to create vocabulary labels that you attach to objects in order to help with learning foreign languages.

If you needed to enter currency symbols like the euro (€) or pound (£) symbol, you would have to use the SYMBOLS option and “pick and choose” the symbols to use them.

There is the ability to determine the text typeface, appearance and size using the TEXT button. As well, you can determine the label layout using the “LABEL” button. The Barcodes option supports the creation of most of the single-dimensional barcodes that are in common use nowadays. You can also print the current time and date to a label once the internal clock is set, which can be of use in date-stamping perishable foods that you have added to your fridge.


Once the Brother PT-2730 is connected to your computer, it works with Brother software that is supplied on a CD that comes with the unit. This allows you to upload label designs or can work as a printer for the host computer. This kind of arrangement is very similar to what is needed for the computer-aided-craft-design software that Brother embroidery sewing machines come with.

Brother P-Touch PT2730 Side View with AC socket and USB port

Side view with AC socket and USB port

I was expecting to use some inept software for the machine but Brother had offered more, such as an easy-to-use program. You have access to the full TrueType font library on your computer but this is only for creating the designs that you will upload to your labeller.

What I would like to see is for Brother to license the device for TrueType and other standard font families so that you can upload a TrueType typeface to the unit for creating labels on that typeface without the need to use the computer.

The Brother P-Touch software can support “merged labelling” with data that is brought in from resources held on your computer system. At the moment, it handles data held in Word, Excel or Outlook as well as the usual comma-separated / tab-separated text file suspects. It can connect to Microsoft SQL Server database resources but I would like to se it work with ODBC database resources which encompass MySQL and desktop databases like MS Access. There is also add-in programs that run with MS Word, Excel and Outlook for making labels from these programs.

Limitations and Points of improvement

Power Supply

I would like to see some improvements regarding the P-Touch PT-2730’s power supply. One would be that the labeller can work with rechargeable batteries and charge those batteries in the unit while connected to the AC supply. This will allow for intense labelling projects where you might think you will “blow through” many packs of Duracells to complete the projects.

As well, it could be feasible for the unit to be powered through the USB port while it is tethered to a computer. This may then obviate the need for carrying the AC adaptor when you use the Brother labeller with a laptop. This ability would be more important for those homes and workplaces that have moved to the laptop-based New Computing Environment.

Usability and Software Design

An improvement that I would like to see for Brother P-Touch label writers is a WYSIWYG view during label creation. Here, the unit provides a coarse multi-line view of the label when you write in the text but it could work better.

The software could be improved with direct import of data from ODBC-compliant databases; and / or integration with the desktop databases like MS Access or FileMaker Pro. As well, there could be an “in-unit” or software-based option to create calibrated “measurement tapes” using the labeller. This may please user groups like photography, police / security and health-related disciplines who want to make up a measurement chart like a height chart.

The USB interface could be exploited further with clock synchronisation to the host computer. This could also include support for “UTC+timezone-offset” timekeeping and improved handling of daylight-saving time.

There could also be a further option where the keyboard could become a USB Human-Interface-Device keyboard. Here, the QWERTY keyboard could be set to work as a standard USB keyboard for text entry on other devices like LED signs, or network AV equipment like the Sony BDP-S380 or Sony PlayStation 3. The function could then be enabled as a menu option in the Setup menu.


The Brother P-Touch PT-2730 label writer would be considered a highly-capable labeller that can be used in a standalone fashion or alongside a computer and I would recommend it for most organisations.