This is the Brady BMP41 hand-held label printer, Brady's latest mobile printer. Launched late 2013, this printer came flying into the stream bursting with features and functionality. With it's price tag between the BMP21 and BMP51 and it's functionality between the BMP51 and BMP71, this printer is boasting to be the best. Brady set the benchmark when it comes to usability. I found it very easy to print 5 sequential barcodes by pressing only 12 buttons, from power-on to print in under 15 seconds! The clear display is backlit and has a higher DPI than equivalent Dymo and Brother models. The backlight is active from the first time you switch the printer on which is helpful as it saves hunting around for the buttons if you're already in a low-light environment. If you're not in complete darkness and would like to save some battery power, you can always switch it off. The rubber keyboard clicks so you know you've successfully pressed a button (if you've ever used a rubber keyboard that doesn't click, you'll know that sometimes you may have pressed the button but not hard enough for it to be registered), has the QWERTY layout making it very easy to use and it's very responsive. It's likely you're reading this on a computer and you'd know it's easier to type on a QWERTY keyboard than an ABC keyboard. An ABC keyboard sounds easy because all the letters are in order but believe me, if you're in a hurry it's rather annoying unless you're used to it.
Lets start with the feature that everyone's shouting about; drop-proof. I know I can be clumsy at times but I don't think even I would be clumsy enough to drop a £200 printer. However, if you are clumsy and you fear it might fall while on a job then there is nothing to worry about. I've been told stories of people throwing these around rooms and they still working right away (this is not recommended though). I've seen first-hand a Brady representative drop one from head-height, the front and rear cover came flying off but once these bits were popped back into place, it switched on and continued to work as if nothing happened. I've had plenty of hands-on use with this printer and I still haven't the heart to drop-test it myself. Barcodes The BMP41 will print both Code 39 and Code 128. You can manually adjust the height and ratio of 2:1 or 3:1. You can also adjust the width of 1, 2 or 3 dots and add a check digit. Not all barcodes require a human readable option so this is also a setting that can be adjusted or switched off. Label types Here's what I made earlier.
Terminal Block, Patch Panel and 66-Block are the essentially same thing but with preset sizes. They can be printed horizontally or vertically. DesiStrip is the same as General but with a locked size which can be adjusted. Wire Wrap repeats the data down the label so it can be viewed from any angle when fitted to the cable. Wire Flagdisplays the data at the start and finish of the label with an adjustable gap in-between that is attached to the cable. Lets have a look at some specifications:
|Max roll width||1" (25.4mm)|
|Display||50mm x 33mm backlit LCD|
|Barcode types||Code39 & Code128|
|Label types||General, Wire wrap, wire flag, terminal block, patch panel, 66-Block, DesiStrip|
|Save labels?||Save to internal memory or to USB memory stick.|
|Battery||Included rechargeable pack.|
Lets have a sneaky peak at the screen. It's a bit tricky to photograph the screen so my apologies for the quality.
Looks simple enough but what does it all mean?
|The current font size||The part number of the cartridge installed||The rotation of the design that will be printed (if any).|
|The type of label (see "Label types" in table above)||The size of label that will be printed. Automatic but can be set to manual.||Which label area you are currently viewing of the total areas.|
|This is your label design, it can be whatever you want from text to barcodes to icons.|
|How much media is left in cartridge||Extra details such as function lock, caps lock, bold etc.||Battery status|
A quick run down to sum up the printer This printer's functionality, price and versatility is nothing short of surprising for it's value. After knowing what customers want from a printer and what is dominating the market I couldn't have expected more from this unit. The built-in clock allows for time and/or date stamping at time of print. Also when choosing to print a long string of labels it gives you the option to pause at any time so you don't get too ahead of yourself. The vast colour, size and material options on the available media means you'll always find the label to suit you.