DYMO - RhinoPRO 3000 Printer
DYMO is a name that many of us remember from the good old days of mechanical label makers. Interestingly enough, they still make them. Most of us who need to make labels have moved into the future using the modern thermal-based printers. DYMO has introduced the RhinoPRO series that includes three models (1000, 3000 and 5000), each priced incrementally higher starting from $50 and ending at $150. We reviewed the RhinoPRO 3000 priced at $100, which is designed for the professional residential installer. The 3000 comes in a bright orange housing, making it easy to locate in the vast clutter of tools and installation products. The removable impact-resistant rubber housing helps protect it from potential falls. The unit is powered by six "AA" batteries (not included), yet can also be used with the optional 9VDC/1.3A AC adapter (available for $24.99, SKU #15519) if preferred. Based on the input power requirements of the 3000, we decided to use a set of rechargeable NiMH batteries to see how long they last. The front panel of the 3000 has buttons logically placed with each number and letter positioned sequentially in order (not QWERTY). The blue buttons are used for label design and hot keys. The gray buttons are used for printing, navigation and numeric entry. The LCD display is easy to read and even comes with a backlight for using the unit in poorly lit areas. The upper right corner has a manual lever for cutting the label once it is printed.
The text Hot Keys provide instant access to common names and are categorized by Location, Audio/Video, Voice/Data, Sec and Panel. Under each group of names a scroll bar to the right of the display shows your location in the long list. A total of 50 Location names, 46 Audio/Video names, 16 Voice/Data names, and 40 Sec (secondary) names are provided in the database.
The LCD backlight is a nice feature, but since the buttons do not have any backlight capability, users will have trouble seeing what they are doing in the dark. However, since the LCD is difficult to see without good lighting conditions such as outdoors, users will benefit from it regardless. I found that in many cases indoor lighting was not good enough to see the LCD display clearly and the backlight certainly improved the display.
Battery life appears to be quite good from what we can tell. The unit has a hefty input power specification (9V/1.3A) printed on the power jack, but our measurements were considerable lower than this when we measured the battery current. The unit appeared to only require about 13mA while powered on and 26mA with the backlight illuminated. The power requirement jumped to around 100mA while printing. It is possible that the current requirement can be significantly higher at times, but based on the time our six rechargeable NiMH batteries (rated at 1800mAH) lasted, we thought rechargeables might be a good choice.
While the RhinoPRO 3000 has most of the features installers will need for their everyday labeling, the more expensive RhinoPRO 5000 has some significant improvements that may benefit some users. We didn't have one on hand for this review, but it appears to offer some significant capabilities. Namely, the unit supports five text sizes, tape sizes up to 3/4" and prints up to 12 characters for vertical wraps. In addition, the unit has an advanced wire gauge function that automatically sets up the label precisely based on the gauge or type of wire defined by the user. The RhinoPRO 5000 can also print Code 39 and Code 128 bar codes and meets ANSI/TIA/EIA-606-A labeling standards. So depending on your labeling requirements in the field, DYMO should have you covered with either the 3000 or 5000. If both of these units are out of your price range, customers have the option of choosing the very affordable RhinoPRO 1000 for $50.
- Kevin Nakano
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