Computer Times
January 2007

Editor's Choice Disc Title Printer

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Casio CW-K85 Disc Title Printer

Reviewed by Terrance Kibiloski

 

The Casio CW-K85-L disc title printer (Retail $99, around $70 on the Web) is an excellent choice for anyone wishing to label discs at home, in a small volume office, or on the road, with or without their computer. While this unit will not give you the full disc print that you see on commercial CDs and DVDs, it will give you nice titles and subtitles to help your collection look more professional and to help you know what is actually on each of your discs.

The model we reviewed was powered by 8 "AA" batteries. Since the unit automatically shuts itself off when not in use, and the printer needs little power to operate, battery power should be sufficient for most users. If you will be doing a lot of printing, or simply dislike batteries, an optional AC adaptor is available for around $25.

When printing in the computer free mode, you can select from 18 alpha-numeric formats and four graphic formats and print up to 16 lines on a standard CD-R disc, if you print both above and below the center hole of the disc. To accomplish this will require two passes of the disc. The first pass will have you place the disc upside down in the unit so it can print the top of the disc. The second pass will have you place the disc right side up (as shown in the photo above) so you can print the bottom portion of the disc. This is necessary since the CW-K85 thermal printer print area only measures 5/8" x 2 15/16. This unit prints in 200 dpi resolution and at 8mm per second on CD's and DVD's with a blank unlined surface.

During our testing, we tried multiple types of discs and found the newer ones with the brushed aluminum look (as shown in the photo above) work best and provide crisp and clear titles, even when printing at the smallest font to get 16 lines of print. Colored discs tend to have a shinier surface and did not respond well to the thermal print.

A nice feature of this CW-K85 unit is its computer-like keyboard that lets you print disc titles without a computer. Its window display can show 12 characters x 1 line data input and illustrate the CD-R, DVD layout. While the display window is small, it is sufficient for keying in the titles you need for your discs.

When using the included USB cable to hook up the printer to your PC, Casio's software expands your options to any True type font and hundreds of symbols. You can also use graphics to frame your text and further illustrate whether your disc contains movies, photos, music or data.

When you cut open the plastic display container, you will find the disc title printer, a USB cable, software, black ink ribbon, template, sample CD-R and batteries. Yes, unlike the toys you bought for your kids this year, this unit comes with its own batteries.

We recommend caution when handling the ink ribbon. It is thin and can be damaged if you are not very careful during its installation. During our testing, as we printed the first disc the ribbon broke in two. Knowing that editors can be a bit rough with test units, Casio was very gracious and immediately sent out replacement ribbons. The manual states that you should print the disc labels before writing any data on the discs. We tried it both ways and it worked just fine.

For a basic disc label printer, which can be used with or without a computer, the Casio CW-K85-L disc title printer is a great choice. This unit provides a simple solution for labeling your discs at home, on the road, and even in low-volume small office locations. Click here for more information on this CD Label Printer with Keyboard

Now for you techies who seem to love technical specifications. Key features of the Casio CW-K85-L disc title printer include:

System Requirements

IBM PC/AT with the following specifications.

Operation under Windows 3.1, 95 and NT®, on a Macintosh®, and under Mac® OS is not supported. Operation of the applications are not guaranteed on a computer upgraded to XP, 2000 Professional, Me, 98SE, or 98. Operation under Windows XP Professional x64 Edition is not supported

Click here for more information on this CD Label Printer with Keyboard

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