Portable printers are the rage these days with photography enthusiasts and organization diehards. Some let you print out photos almost instantaneously to share with your friends, while others print stickers and labels that you can stick on objects for identification or design. Almost all of these small printers come in designs that clearly mark them as something related to computers or technology, even while trying to aim for more youthful customers with whimsical or eye-catching colors. That’s what sets this label printer apart, looking more like a miniature prop from an art deco film rather than something utilitarian and geeky.
Designer: inDare for Niimbot
Right out of the box, your brain will try to think of where the Niimbot B21 thermal label printer fits in terms of design language. Regardless of whether you think it’s from the 30s or 50s with a pinch of art deco elements thrown in, there will be little argument that this thing is beautiful. Probably more beautiful than a printer has any business to be.
Looking like a cross between a typewriter, a cash register, and a radio, the Niimbot B21 is unique among the company’s other label printers in its more luxurious design. Painted in glossy red, green, or black colors, the printer adds a touch of gold or silver to a few parts, like the plate in front that houses the power button and LED light indicator, as well as the company’s other name emblazoned in stylized letters across its face. There’s also a lever at the side used to open the printer for replacing the label paper roll.
As a label printer, the functions of the Niimbot B21 are less exciting than its appearance. Everything except turning the printer on or off has to be done through a smartphone connected via Bluetooth. There is no ink inside, which makes it safer to carry the printer around, but it does use conventional thermal printing technology to print anything out. That means you’re pretty much limited to black and white designs, and your labels will fade out after two or three months.
That’s really nothing new for people who frequently print labels, and they might get a kick out of the Niimbot B21’s unique design anyway. And when the printer eventually breaks down and becomes unusable, it can still function as a decorative piece on your desk, extending its usefulness for years to come.