For years, the Xi Series of label printers from Zebra has been considered to be the standard when it comes to high volume industrial printing. The basic design has been tweaked with each new version, but the basics have remained the same. With competitors launching new models, the most recent Xi (the Xi4), has been looking somewhat dated.
That has now changed with the unveiling of the new version of the Xi printer, the brand new ZT600. Yes, after all this time, the Xi name has been dropped and (with the exception of the prehistoric 105SL Plus, all of Zebra’s industrial printers are now in the ZTxxx family).
4 inch (ZT610) and 6 inch (ZT620) wide versions are still available and the print resolutions remain 203, 300 and 600 DPI (no 600DPI for the 6 inch ZT620). As one would expect, the ZT600 printers have all the connectivity that would likely ever be needed.
So whats new? The new printer still looks like an Xi model, which is a good thing, and the most noticeable change on the outside is the new display and keypad. The display is now in color, which is expected these days, and (thankfully) now uses Zebra’s icon based menu, rather than the annoying original version.
There are two other important updates that live under the cover – the printhead pressure toggles and the media threading.
I always disliked the pressure toggles on the old Xi printers. It was difficult to reproduce the settings when adjusting the pressure, leading to frustration many times. This is solved on the ZT600, making setting and adjusting printhead pressure much easier.
My other major dislike on the Xi models was the difficulty in the threading the labels and (particularly) the ribbon. Zebra has taken the opportunity to fix this, making loading labels and ribbons much easier.
The ZT600 printers look to be a good update to this well-proven product line. It is a bold move by Zebra to drop the name of the best known product in the industry, but maybe having a consistent naming scheme for the industrial printers is a better way to go to market.
Hopefully, there will soon be a new OEM print engine launched, that will be based on this new platform.
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