July 21, 2012, 12:03 AM — If you create only the occasional label for files or objects, you can probably get by with one of the many sub-$100 label printers on the market. But if your business-labeling needs are more complex--for instance, you require support for bar codes or for multiple users who use different types of labels--the Dymo LabelManager 500TS could justify its admittedly high price ($200 on Dymo's site as of July 19, 2012, though you can find it for significantly less at some online retailers).
The new high-end entry in Dymo's line of electronic label printers, the LabelManager 500TS is roughly the size of a standard desktop office phone and functions capably either on its own or as a computer printer. The unit connects to a PC or Mac via its included USB cable, and it uses Dymo D1 tape cassettes (clear plastic and paper) in widths ranging from 0.25 inch to 1 inch. The labeling tape costs roughly $20 for a 23-foot roll (or less, if purchased in quantity).
Dymo's website provides free labeling software that includes the drivers required for computer use. In my tests, installation of the software on a Windows 7 laptop went smoothly and took only a few minutes. After that, I found creating and printing labels to be a breeze, whether I worked within the Dymo application or used third-party software such as Microsoft Office applications. During installation, the software lets you opt to set up QuickBooks integration, a useful feature if you're planning to label products that you sell.
Of course, you can buy a PC label printer for a lot less than $200. But the LabelManager 500TS's principal selling point is its bright 2-by-4-inch color touchscreen, which makes the unit easier to use as a stand-alone tool for label creation and management.
The LabelManager 500TS runs on a lithium polymer battery pack. When you power on the unit for the first time, pop-up windows ask you to specify your language and to verify the width of your labels; after that, the home screen displays an image of the most recently used label with six large icons underneath. From left to right, these icons allow you to begin a new label; edit the current label; open a previously created label; view labels or clip art that you downloaded from your computer when the device was connected via USB; adjust settings for language, fonts, label size, and the like; and manage user accounts.