Brother VC-500W Review, Pros and Cons

Brother VC-500W Review

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Dealing with creative projects requires you to have a special tool that helps you with the work. And when it comes to printing labels, stickers, or photos, the Brother VC-500W can be a great companion.

The VC-500W is one of ZINK photo printers, which means it can print colorful cards, labels, or photos without the need for ink ribbons, cartridges, or toners. With the ability to produce high quality results, this little device seems ideal to support your school project or home business.

A Space-saver with Small and Compact Design

Brother VC-500W Design

Rolled out as a mini photo printer, the VC-500W has a compact design that makes it a nice space-saver. Measuring 3.8 inches by 4.4 inches by 4.6 inches and weighing about 1.5 pounds, I don’t find any difficulties locating the device, be it on the table, on the floor, or wherever I choose to work.

Besides its compact layout, it comes with monochromatic nuance by pairing a black top and white sides. A slope design with a higher point at the back and a lower point in front make it look sleek and modern. Additionally, there is a white Brother logo that contrasts with its black top.

Since bundled software takes most operations, the device features minimal controls consisting of power button and Wi-Fi buttons. On the front, it has an output slot where printed labels will roll out. It also has a cutter that lets you cut the labels easily, either full size or half size.

Print Without Ink

Unlike the Kodak Mini 3 Retro that uses dye-sub technology, the VC-500W is specialized to handle your printing tasks with ZINK technology. That means the instant photo printer enables you to print without cartridges, toners, or ribbons.

Print Without Ink

How does it work? Thanks to ZINK paper in which all colors required for photo printing is embedded. Whenever you need to print, the software will send a message to the device. The printer then translates the message and changes the white label into colorful prints according to your command.

The printed labels, stickers, or photos will roll out through an output slot that is housed in front. Simply cut the label using a slider or built-in cutter across the top. The cutter can be activated with your fingertips. Additionally, the VC-500W is able to print up to 2 inches wide.

Average Print Speed

Brother rates this wireless photo printer at 0.3-inch per second in Standard mode and it performs half the standard if you try Vivid mode. When tested with labels, the device manages to print 0.5 inches by 3.5 inches mono address labels in 3.5 seconds using Standard mode.

If I take the cutting process into account, the speed increases to 5 seconds, which means I will get 12 cut labels in a minute. What do I think about this speed rating? Although it is not the fastest device, I should say the VC-500W has a good printing performance with average speed.

Despite some printers having faster print speeds—mostly work on monochrome prints—the VC-500W is not a bad idea to support your creative projects. You might need to switch to Standard mode, especially if high quality prints is not a priority.

Good Print Result

Having fun with stickers, labels, and photos is getting more exciting with good output quality. This mini photo printer produces prints with minimal graininess and accurate colors. I can confirm that you will enjoy its vibrant and bright print results.

Good Print Result

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However, comparing the VC-500W to photo-grade inkjets is not wise. The photos are acceptable but if you put quality into priority, this printer might not meet your expectation. I have seen some other printers that produce better prints such as Sprocket Select from HP.

Brother VC-500W Consumables

As previously mentioned, the VC-500W uses ZINK technology which means it doesn’t require ink cartridges, toners, or ribbons. Instead, it uses a paper roll in which all colors needed for printing are embedded.

Brother VC-500W Zink Paper Rolls

This model is compatible with Brother CK and CZ Zink paper rolls that are available in various sizes, including 2 inch, 1 inch, ¾ inch, ½ inch, and 3/8 inch. The available length varies from 6.5 feet to 16.4 feet.

What makes it better is that all CZ paper rolls are tear, water, and smudge resistant. This means you will have high quality prints that are durable and fade-resistant. Not to mention all CZ rolls have adhesive backing that allows you to stick the prints on the laptop, smartphone, wall, or other surfaces.

For the best result, be sure to use only genuine Brother’s paper rolls. It’s not recommended to load the device with incompatible tapes.

Connectivity and Software

The VC-500W is a wireless printer that lets you print directly from mobile devices using a wireless network. This device is easy to connect, thanks to Wi-Fi / Wireless Direct that helps you establish connection and share on a network from your tablet or smartphone.

As a bonus, this mini printer supports AirPrint wireless printing technology. Once you design photos, labels, or stickers on iPhone or iPad, you can print directly using AirPrint enabled app.

Brother iPrint&Scan
Brother iPrint&Scan App

When it comes to apps and software, this product comes packed with Brother iPrint&Scan as well as label editor app. Enhance your creativity with this free app and enjoy editing labels with countless elements, such as backgrounds, fonts, art, frames, and many more.

Additionally, the VC-500W supports P-touch Editor that allows you to print a variety of labels with professional design right from Mac or Windows computer. Of course, it offers a huge convenience as you can easily handle organizational and office tasks, address labels, business projects, and more.

What’s in the Package?

What’s in the Package?

I really appreciate that Brother gives a super complete package for every purchase of this model. Each package includes a printer, a roll cassette CZ-1004 16.4 feet, and a cleaning cassette CK-1000 6.5 feet. This means the device is ready to use once it’s out of the box.

Besides, you will also get an AC adaptor, documentation, and a USB cable. Despite it comes with a portable design, the VC-500W is not supported by battery. That means you have to plug the device into a USB cable to make it work.

At first, I thought that it could be a great travel companion that supports printing on the go. But the fact that it doesn’t come with a battery means I have limited access to the printer.

Brother VC-500W Pros and Cons

  • Compact and Sturdy Design
  • Acceptable Output Quality
  • Support Mac and Windows Computer
  • No Ink Cartridges Required
  • No Batteries
  • Relatively High Running Cost

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Do you think the VC-500W is a great device to tackle your creative projects or business? Don’t rush checking out your order. The pros and cons below will help you make a better decision so that you can clearly think whether or not this model meets your needs.

Brother VC-500W Pros

  • Compact and Sturdy Design

Without question, this model comes with a compact layout and sturdy build that brings a new statement to any given room. Not only is it good by function, but it is also aesthetic by appearance. With monochromatic style, this printer can easily blend with other elements in your room.

  • Acceptable Output Quality

The ability to produce vibrant and accurate color with minimal graininess makes the VC-500W a good choice for school projects or small business. Whether you want to have fun with stickers or print labels to code products, this device can help tackle your tasks.

  • Support Mac and Windows Computer

The VC-500W supports not only smartphones but also desktop computers, which gives an added value to this product. Thanks to P-Touch Editor that enables you to design and create label on Windows and iOS computers.

  • No Ink Cartridges Required

As one of ZINK printers, this model doesn’t require ink cartridges or ribbons to produce beautiful prints. Instead, it uses color-embedded paper rolls that allow you to print continuously. If you are looking for a mess-free mini photo printing, the VC-500W is surely for you.

Brother VC-500W Cons

  • No Batteries

Despite its small size, this product is not completely travel-friendly. The VC-500W doesn’t require a battery, which means you have to plug the device into a power source. Of course, this can be a problem if you need to print while you are outdoor.

  • Relatively High Running Cost

Most label printers have a problem with running cost and this model is no exception. You will need to spend around 61 cents for a 0.5 by 3.5 inch labels, which means it costs you around $2 for a 2 by 17 inches label. I have ever seen printers with higher running costs but still the VC-500W is not cheap.


Your labeling tasks can be easier with the Brother VC-500W. With a boast of good print results and abundant apps, this mini photo printer is a great companion to upgrade your creativity. Besides, it has a complete package that makes it ready to use once it’s out of the shipping box.

If you are looking for a nifty device to work with stickers, snapshots, or labels, the VC-500W can be a nice pick. But if you are coveting a cordless printer that supports printing on the go, you might need to find other references.

Review Date
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Compact Printer
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Product Name
Brother VC-500W

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