In this head-to-head review we compare two mechanical label makers: the classic Organizer Express by Dymo and the Bubble Roll Message Maker by Au’some Candies Inc. Other reviewers have discussed the bubble machine before, but we thought that we should, just to be fair, compare it directly to the competition.
Both of these devices use embossed-tape technology. A venerable but reliable system to be sure: batteries not included… or needed. (We like our electronic labels too, but that’s a topic for another time. If you’re into those, you may want to see what Lifehacker recently wrote about those.
Here is the modern Dymo label printer. It looks between a cross between a Star Trek hand phaser and, well, the USS Enterprise (version NCC-1701-D). Do you notice a theme here? It comes with three rolls of tape, in red, blue and black flavors.
Here is the Bubble Roll Message Maker. It looks like an angular cross between a gummy bear and a gumdrop-vintage iMac. One of the very nice features is that you can, at a glance, determine the amount of tape remaining. It comes with a single tape cartridge in “Sour Apple Stinger” flavor.
The Bubble Roll Message Maker is particularly easy to disassemble, and happily yields access to its daisy wheel. I imagine that it would be straightforward to mod this wheel to produce custom characters.
The embossed tape from the Dymo has very high contrast, which is its chief advantage over the bubble tape version. This is due to a color change that occurs when the tape is stretched, something that does not occur in the bubble tape. On the other hand, the output is not particularly edible.
The output from the Bubble Roll Message Maker has modest contrast up close, however, it would be fairly difficult to read it from more than about a foot away. A secondary issue is that the machine is somewhat more difficult to operate. However, it is much less expensive than the competition.
The Dymo tape output has much higher contrast, but has an unfortunate bow, and will not lie flat after printing.
Our comparative findings are summarized below:
Bubble Roll Message Maker
|Tensile strength||High||Very low|
|Nutritional Value||None||Almost none|
|Artificial color||Presumably; unknown||Yellow 5, Blue 1|
|Taste||Like old ice cubes from the freezer||Vague lemon and apple notes, nuanced with corn starch and citric acid|
|Embossed tape lies flat||No||Yes|
ease of use
|Good||Poor; a light touch is require to avoid squishing the previous letter|
|Cost||$15, Office Depot||$3, Walgreens|
|Labels can be
blown into bubbles
|Included media||3 rolls (Red, Black, Blue)||1 roll (Green apple)|
|Tape level visible||No||Yes|
|Tape cutting||Automatic (like pressing a letter)||Manual|
|Okay, after chewing|