Brother’s latest pocket printer, the P-Touch Cube Pro, is a nifty device for printing all kinds of labels. With the help of a handy app, the Cube Pro is able to print a variety of labels including custom-designed templates for businesses. If you’re keen on organisation or you’re looking at selling any kind of product, the Cube Pro is a worthy business companion. There is another, equally important market for the new printer, though: sticker kids from the early 2000s.
The early 2000s were a boom period for sticker fiends. If you weren’t rocking a sticker collection filled with Bratz dolls, holographic Digimon or scratch’n’sniff fruits on the playground, you weren’t cool. It had to be the right kind of sticker, though. The gold stars teachers would give you for performing well (the nerd stickers) didn’t count. They had to be fun, or have some kind of gimmick.
Stickers were a form of currency in schools during this period as kids traded stickers for recess or a turn on your Tamagotchi. There were cameras that created sticker memories, stickers that contained beads or jewels and even ‘dress up’ stickers that let you decorate cardboard dolls.
As technology advanced in the 2000s and the sticker craze died down, it was quickly replaced by other, more exciting ventures. Mobile phones became mainstream. The internet came calling. More time was spent chatting on MSN. But while stickers lost their hold on the kids of the early 2000s, it turns out there’s still a sticker kid lurking inside each of us — and this was extremely apparent when I brought the Brother P-Touch Cube Pro out on Twitter.
im reviewing a cool printer check out my new business card pic.twitter.com/ba8Z7BB8vE
— Leah J. Williams (@legenette) September 30, 2020
I printed myself a funny ‘business card’ to slap on my WFH desk to remind myself I’m a professional, even when I’m rocking up to work meetings in my pajamas.
The response was immediate. “Can I have one?” “Can I have one?” “Please?” In the first half hour, I had three requests for stickers. Then I had five.
Over the course of the day, I ended up printing 14 stickers, each customised with their own photo and caption. Later, I printed some for my mother and a few more for the rest of my family. Everybody loved the stickers. They couldn’t get enough of them. Maybe it was being bored in lockdown, or maybe it was something else.
Somehow, the Cube Pro had connected them all to a long-forgotten urge to collect stickers. It kickstarted a theory I’m working on: no matter how old 2000s kids get, there’s still a sticker kid hiding inside all of us.
It only takes the right tool to find them again.
How the Brother P-Touch Cube Pro works
The Brother P-Touch Cube Pro is a B&W thermal transfer printer, so you won’t need to worry about replacing the ink. Instead, the major ongoing cost here is the labels. They come in multiple different sizes and colours (the 36mm variant is new for the Cube Pro). Each will give you plenty of ready-made stickers (around 600 labels), but you will need to consider the additional cost. Labels for the machine start from $22.95 but speciality 36mm coloured tape will run you up to $66 for a reel.
The Cube Pro prints at 360dpi, which is great for text and just okay for images. While text is clean and dark, images do come out mildly grainy and pixelated unless they’re clean lines. It means photos look great at a distance, but dotty up close. Logos should fare much better, particularly if there’s a clear contrast between black and white. You may need to experiment before you commit to a big print run.
In terms of the production itself, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the Cube Pro running out of steam. It packs in a whopping Li-ion battery that claims to print five whole tapes without needing a charge. While I wasn’t able to rigorously test this claim, it didn’t need charging for the entire two weeks I used it. It’s a hardy machine with plenty of life in it, but that quality does come with a caveat.
The price is a major sticking point here: the Brother P-Touch Cube Pro costs $549 in Australia.
For casual sticker enthusiasts or dedicated organisers, it’s a major investment. As much fun as it is to create your own stickers and relive your childhood, it’s not an accessible price point for the everyday consumer. If you’re keen for a solid label maker, you’ll want to stick with something like the mainline P-Touch Cube, which only costs $79. It’s got a much lower resolution at 180 dpi and isn’t capable of handling quick, high-quality production but it’s still a nifty device and much more reasonable on a cost basis.
But if you’re running a business or planning on using labels for products or professional branding, it’s definitely an investment worth making. The P-Touch Cube Pro prints gorgeous, high-quality labels that are easily adjustable for mass production. If you need labels fast, the P-Touch Cube Pro is very speedy, customisable and fun to use. All you’ll need to do is slap a quick custom design on a label (or use a provided template), select your production batch and the Cube Pro will do the rest.
It’s the perfect companion for a budding business, with the only major barrier to entry being the cost. Outside of this factor, the Cube Pro is immense fun and it’s sure to bring out your inner sticker lover.