Page 2 of 2
The LW-300 automatically stores the most recently used label, including its text, font style, symbols, frames and any other special characters used. The last-used label reappears whenever the unit is turned on. What's more, the device can store as many as 30 preset labels for later use, which might help offset its lack of a PC interface.
Text can be oriented horizontally (default), vertically or inverted. The LW-300 also can print up to nine copies of a label and supports printing a series of labels in a numbered sequence, and will automatically increment the sequence. For tight spaces or to minimize the amount of labelling used, the LW-300 contains narrow characters and also can reduce the amount of space between characters. Like a hardware keyboard, there are two shift keys for accessing uppercase letters and another to toggle between the upper and lower case. And like many software keyboards we're seeing these days, there's a dedicated key for punctuation; Epson adds another for accented characters. A setup button provides access to special text-handling capabilities.
We like the preview feature, but thought it should do more. For example, it doesn't display frames, character orientation or other special formatting -- only label length and inputted text. Also, we found that the LCD was a bit hard to read in low light conditions and its five contrast settings didn't help much. With its LCD backlight, the LW-400 obviously solves that problem and supports more colors and tape styles, including a width up to three-quarters of an inch. For the LW-300, other available labels include plain, clear, metallic, glow-in-the-dark and those with extra adhesive, and most in various colors. Epson offers about two dozen tapes for the LW-300, ranging from a quarter- to a half-inch wide.
Overall, we found the $39 Epson LW-300 a good value; it's a capable label printer that's easy to use, comes with a protective carrying case and is flexible enough for most situations. An AC power adapter is a $25 option.