Brother P-touch Cube
- Good print quality.
- Comprehensive, easy-to-use label design and print mobile app.
- Strong selection of label types in several color schemes, including fabric iron-on labels.
- Runs on AC or battery power.
- Good value for the price.
- Cannot use with Windows or Mac PCs.
- Requires replaceable (rather than rechargeable) batteries.
Bottom LineWith excellent design and comprehensive print software, the reasonably priced Brother P-touch Cube prints several sizes and colors of good-quality plastic (laminated) labels from your iOS or Android mobile device.
- Refurbished Products. Available Only on Brother.ca! Web Exclusives. Available Only on Brother.ca! Enjoy the convenience of using apps to print from and scan to smartphones and tablets when you install a compatible Brother device in your home office, workgroup or business.
- P-touch Design&Print app. The perfect app for adding personalized touches to your projects, Brother P-touch Design&Print makes creating labels easy and fun. This FREE download for iOS and Android™ lets you create unique, artistic labels on your P-touch CUBE by selecting from existing templates or creating new designs from blank templates.
Most professional- and consumer-grade label printers (such as our Editors' Choice Brother QL-820NWB and the Dymo MobileLabeler, respectively) let you design and print labels from your computer and/or mobile device, but the Brother P-touch Cube ($59.99) is the first one that we've reviewed that cannot be tethered to a PC or a Mac via a USB cable. In other words, its only mode of operation is connecting wirelessly to your iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile device. The good news is that the bundled Brother P-touch Design&Print app is simple to use, allowing you to produce a variety of good-looking plastic labels for your kitchen, garage, bedrooms, office, and schoolroom, making the P-touch Cube an easy top pick as an entry-level label printer for families, small workplaces, and classrooms.
P-touch CUBE Plus lets you choose from 3 different applications, so you can create just the labels you need – from simple text for organizing and identifying, to unique labels with a variety of symbols, fonts, frames and more. Use Brother iPrint&Label. app, P-touch Design&Print. app or P-touch Editor software from your PC.
Small, Sleek, and Simple
In addition to our review unit with its white chassis, Brother offers the P-touch Cube%displayPrice% at %seller% in blue. The label printer measures 4.5 by 2.5 by 4.5 inches (HWD) and weighs about an ounce-and-a-half short of a pound, which is similar to the Dymo MobileLabeler's dimensions of 5 by 2 by 5 inches and weight of just over a pound. In fact, aside from the P-touch Cube being a little wider, the two printers look quite similar—cube-shaped with rounded edges. Epson's LabelWorks LW-600P Portable Label Printer%displayPrice% at %seller% is (while similar in size and weight), a bit taller than it is wider. All three models are small and light enough to easily take with you.
Use another scanning method or app: If you cannot scan to your Mac from your printer, try using an app, such as HP Smart or HP Easy Scan, or another method, such as Scan to Email or Scan to Network. Troubleshoot network and USB connection issues: Go to one of the following documents for additional scan connection troubleshooting. Hp scan mac download. HP Scanjet Scanners have an ICA driver to enable scanning with Apple's Image Capture application and/or software to enable scanning with the HP Scan application in OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). Use this document to find out which Scanjets have drivers and software.
Like the Dymo MobileLabeler%displayPrice% at %seller%, the Epson LW-600P, and the Editors' Choice Brother P-touch PT-700%displayPrice% at %seller%, the P-touch Cube can use either AC or battery power. However, only the Dymo MobileLabeler comes with a rechargeable battery. To run without wall power, the P-touch Cube requires six AAA batteries. It can be operated from an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, but the other three label printers also have USB ports for connecting to Windows PCs and Macs. Since nearly everybody with a pulse has a smartphone these days, however, the inability to connect directly to a computer isn't really much of a limitation.
Given that everything from designing your labels to printing them out is controlled from a mobile device, the P-touch Cube has no control panel. The power jack and power button are located on the back edge, and the manual cutter lever and output slot are on the front. On the left side, there's a small window that allows you to see how much blank label tape is left.
The P-touch Cube uses audio-cassette-like tapes containing 16.4- or 26.2-foot spools of plastic tape in widths of about one-eighth, one-quarter, and one-half inch. (There are also a couple of cassettes with 9.8 feet of fabric tape for creating iron-on labels.) Brother offers about 30 or so P-touch TZe-series label cartridges in several color schemes, such as black on white, black on clear, white on berry pink, black on pastel purple, gold on satin silver, and so on.
Setup and Mobile App
To get the P-touch Cube operational, you simply power it up and drop in a blank label cassette. You can use either the bundled power cable, or load six AAA batteries (not included). You install batteries by removing the cover on the right side of the chassis, and the cassettes go under a cover on the left.
You can download the P-touch Design&Print app from either Google's Play Store or Apple's App Store. The P-touch Cube's mobile app isn't anywhere near as feature-rich and capable as Brother's own iPrint&Label app designed to work with the company's QL-810W and other QL-800-series professional-grade labelers, but then the P-touch Cube isn't nearly as robust as those models, either. Even so, for so simple a device, P-touch Design&Print's design features aren't that shabby.
The mobile app comes with numerous templates organized in categories, including Kitchen, Storage, Garage & Garden, Home Office, Occasions, and Identification, and it recognizes all the P-touch TZe-series labels and offers templates designed around the current installed label type's width and color scheme. You can also design your own labels, choosing from 450 symbols, more than 60 frame designs, and several fonts, including most of the Apple and Google font libraries.
In addition, P-touch Design&Print utilizes helpful smartphone features, such as spell check and voice to text. In fact, deploying a smartphone (or tablet) app as the device's design center and control panel provides a much wider range of features and design options than Brother could have easily (and economically) squeezed in to the P-touch Cube hardware itself.
Decent Print Times and Good-Looking Labels
Unlike Brother's QL-800-series label printers (and its competitors), which are designed to print, among many other things, about 100 die-cut address labels per minute (all with different addresses), the Cube and its ilk are relatively slow, and since you can't design and print several labels with different content in succession—not without stopping to change the words, that is—how fast the label printer prints often depends more on you than the machine itself.
In this regard, comparing one machine's speed to another fringes on an exercise in futility, except, perhaps, when printing only one label at a time, or maybe a few with the same content (i.e., copies). Even then, a human operates the cutting mechanism, which in turn initiates the printing of the next copy.
That said, I clocked the P-touch Cube as it printed a single 0.47-by-3.5-inch black-and-white label with the words PCMag: A Printer Test on it at about 7.5 seconds, and 10 of them in succession (again, I pressed the cutter lever when each label finished printing) in 67.7 seconds. That was about 1 second slower than the Dymo MobileLabeler for one label and 6 seconds slower for 10.
The Epson LW-600P took 14 seconds for one label, and 10.7 seconds when printing the same label from an iPhone. But, again, the bottom line is that none of these entry-level label printers are particularly fast; besides, they're designed for printing one or two labels at a time, and then waiting for you to move on to the next. Producing the labels from your smartphone, however, makes the process much easier (and faster) than the old-style labelers with a small keyboard included in the control panel.
Let's face it: You can't get too fancy when your only design options are text (characters and symbols), frames, and backgrounds (and, well, yes, the various two-color label tapes spruce things up considerably), but the P-touch Cube's hard-copy labels themselves come out looking quite good, with smooth edges around frames, backgrounds, and the words. Keep in mind, though, that I was not able to check all label types and colors or all sizes, or all font and symbols at all supported sizes. I've no reason to suspect that they won't all look good, but at the same time, I'm reasonably sure that some will look (perhaps, in some cases, a lot) better than others.
P Touch Cube App For Mac Pro
Cost Per Label
Depending primarily on the length of your labels (and the length of the blank tape), the per-label cost varies greatly. Printing 0.47-by-3-inch labels on clear tape with black print will run you about 18 cents each; 0.47-by-3-inch labels with gold print on satin silver cost about 23 cents each; and the same size with navy-blue print on white fabric iron-on labels run 54 cents each—you get the idea. The longer the label, the more it costs. Buying your label cartridges in 2-packs will save you a cent or two per label.
Apple Mac Cube
Simplicity Is Productivity
Overall, the Brother P-touch Cube doesn't do anything different or perform that much faster than its entry-level competitors. In fact, that it doesn't come with a USB port for connecting to computers directly renders it a little less capable. If you need the ability to design and print labels from a desktop or laptop PC, the Epson LW-600P or the Brother PT-P700 are definitely better choices. Where the P-touch Cube excels is in its simplicity. You get from the box to printing labels in less than 5 minutes, and the P-touch Design&Print app is child's play—for most label types, all you do is change the text. That it's so straightforward and easy to use at such a reasonable price is reason enough to make it our new Editors' Choice entry-level, all-purpose plastic label printer for home and home office use.
Brother P-touch Cube
P-touch Cube App
Bottom Line: With excellent design and comprehensive print software, the reasonably priced Brother P-touch Cube prints several sizes and colors of good-quality plastic (laminated) labels from your iOS or Android mobile device.
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