NIIMBOT B1 Review
This will be my review of the NIIMBOT B1 thermal label printer.
I love NIIMBOT printers. And to put that statement in perspective I have owned and reviewed a LOT of label printers. Most of them you would call industrial printers.
A few months ago NIIMBOT contacted me and asked me to review their B21 Label Printer. Since that time I have reviewed their B3S, the D110, and now their excellent B1 label maker. I have enjoyed them all. The concept of a small, portable, bluetooth label maker makes a heck of a lot of sense. Most of my industrial printers are large, come in huge carrying cases, and are hooked to a computer via USB. Most of them use speciality labels as well such as shrink tubing. Having all that capability is great but sometimes you just need to put a small and simple label on something. Actually MOST OF THE TIME, you just need to put a small and simple label on something.
This is where NIIMBOT printers shine.
Having a label maker that sits on your desk that you don’t need to actually have your hands on is awesome. Holding a printer with a tiny keyboard on it is no fun. Bluetooth connections are a welcome addition. Making a label from a phone app instead of needing a full blown laptop is cool too.
Enter NIIMBOT B1
Here is a quick, but not all inclusive rundown of the B1:
- Inkless Thermal Printer
- Small and Light – 5.2*3.6*2.4 inch(13*9*6 cm). 0.7 lbs.
- Rechargeable 1500 mAh battery. Long life.
- USB C Recharging
- Works with IOS or Android App
- Prints images, barcodes, QR codes, tables, Excel sheets, add dates, shapes, etc.
- Comes in 3 color schemes
- And finally my favorite feature below:
Label Auto Detection
This is by far one of my favorite features. The one thing I find a little clunky about the NIIMBOT experience is that it is difficult for me to manually select labels.
I won’t expand on that other than to say I have 60 year old eyes and the boxes and print are small.
The search feature for manually adding labels usually makes me sit up straight, turn all nearby lights on maximum and think, “Okay, here we go!”
However, with a machine that AUTO-DETECTS labels this is no longer any concern whatsoever.
The NIIMBOT app clearly and prominently displays the current supplies that are installed in the label maker.
This also makes a template the right shape and size of your label.
This is a pretty sophisticated and slick solution for changing labels in my opinion.
The downside to this is that if the machine knows what roll of labels is inside that means there is some kind of RFID chip in the roll somewhere and that the label rolls are proprietary. That means you can’t use generic paper in the machine.
RFID And Labels And Stuff
You will find that there are a lot of people who like to use generic labels in label makers. The obvious reasons are cost. Generic labels are just about always a lot cheaper.
Let me tell you what I think about all this: YOUR LABEL MAKER SELECTION SHOULD BE DETERMINED BY YOUR LABEL MAKER NEEDS.
Let’s say that I buy a NIIMBOT B1 and I have a one million square foot warehouse with shelves to the ceiling. Let’s say there are tens of thousands of locations to label. A small label maker with a moderate sized roll capacity of fairly expensive proprietary labels is not the best choice from a business cost or efficiency standpoint. You absolutely should seek out the best solution for this printing need.
Now let’s say I’m just some guy. With a wife. And a few nieces and nephews. At most I’m going to label a few drawers, some pantry items, and add a little colorful sticker to the back of Christmas and birthday, and anniversary cards. Just general organization requirements with some fun thrown in.
The odds of me blowing through 200+ labels is not great. What is more important to me is that making those labels is STRESS FREE. Slap a label roll in a machine, wait for the cool start up sound, and you are off to the label making races.
Yep, I’d love to slap nearly costless labels in a machine too, but have you ever tried to add generic labels to a label maker before. It is usually a frustrating setup to get the label size right and get the printing centered.
Don’t immediately discount what an RFID chipped roll of labels can allow for in software.
Font selection is okay and there are a few different fonts available for download. There seems to be a VIP or pay section available for purchasing additional fonts.
I’m pretty sure you can make your text in any font on the computer, screenshot it, and import it into the NIIMBOT app as an IMAGE. If there is a will, there is a way.
The Start Up Sound
The start up sound is cute. Nice little tune, a few notes long. I like it. I can tell you who doesn’t like it though. My wife, at 2 AM, when her insomniac husband is blogging about label makers. I wish there was a way to toggle off that tune.
The first thing you see is “PLACE STICKER FACING DOWN”. THANK YOU!
Do you know how many label makers I own that don’t have a big sticker inside telling you how to install labels? I set up a Dymo 5XL printer the other day for my shipping needs and it TOOK ME FOREVER (okay 10 minutes) to load a label.
Drop a label roll in the B1, squeeze the roll holders in just a hair. Now close the lid and turn the machine on. It auto loads and aligns the label. THEN IT PULLS IT BACK IN.
Do you know how many label makers I have that feed out a label for alignment and then LEAVE IT OUT? That wastes a label. Heck, some label makers spit out 2 or 3 labels before they are happy.
Even during a review of a NIIMBOT B1, I am not ashamed to admit that my favorite NIIMBOT label maker is the B21. That label maker is stylish and it is FUN. Label makers are tools and not supposed to be fun. The NIIMBOT B21 is FUN.
There is a heck of a lot of similarities between the B21 and this B1. Yeah, they look different, and the internals are just a little different. Both are 2″ label makers. Conversely, both play a cool tune, both have auto detected labels. Both are designed very similar. Both can use the same labels. But the B1 is a bit cheaper at an advertised $42.99 compared to the B21 at $55.89 (current prices).
Essentially, I am saying that the B1 will save you a few bucks while providing the same capabilities.
Having said that, the B21 is a conversation piece with its retro design. Did I mention it was FUN? Put a B21 on your desk and I guarantee someone will say, “What is that? That’s cool.”
USPS Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMB)
I’m getting into “THIS WASN’T DESIGNED FOR THIS” turf. But that’s what I do at John’s Tech Blog. If I can coerce this machine into printing address labels with the weird USPS IMB, then you know the flexibility of this machine is top notch.
On the encoder tab fill out the all required information. It will produce a 65 character text string and a downloadable barcode. I simply download the barcode and put it in my Photos app. it can then be selected and inserted as a photo in the NIIMBOT app. The only kicker is that I have had to turn the threshold down to about 50 to get the barcode to scan correctly. Obviously I have blacked out the address below but the code will scan with a Charlotte, NC zip code.
Now, am I positive your Mailman won’t bonk you on the head for putting tiny IMB barcodes on your address labels? No, I am not. But the IMB codes can be inserted. They can be read with a tweak of the threshold setting. Your mail will look a bit more professional and might even get where it is going faster with the IMB barcode on it.
If IMB is a REQUIREMENT for your mailings you might of course need a larger format printer.
But, I have demonstrated that the NIIMBOT software is flexible enough to do things it wasn’t designed to do.
NIIMBOT B1 Review Wrap Up
NIIMBOT label printers are affordable, and attractive. Labels, while proprietary, are of high quality and come in a variety of patterns and fun colors. The label printers are sturdy and now having owned 4 of them I can say that not once has one of them choked or frustrated me in any manner. The software is pretty intuitive and has several cool fonts available for download.
I didn’t mention this in the review but I went to the Mac app store and downloaded the NIIMBOT app on my MacBookAir. There was a requisite warning that it was designed for IOS but it works to perfection best I can tell. And that is good news for me and my old eyes.
And yes, I own top of the line Epson, Dymo, and Brother label makers ………….but they all come in a gigantic hard case that are generally stuffed in a corner or closet. My NIIMBOT printers are just sitting out, looking attractive and are EASILY ACCESSIBLE for quick label making needs. The B1 looks sharp sitting on the kitchen island or office desk. If I need a quick label for something the NIIMBOT is ready. I can’t count the number of times I DIDN’T label something because, “Oh, I gotta go all the way upstairs, dig the industrial label maker out, hook it to a computer, and probably hook it to a power source too because the batteries are flat”.
NIIMBOT = Convenience
John’s Tech Blog strongly recommends the NIIMBOT B1 Label Printer and the entire line of NIIMBOT printers.