Review of the Zebra ZQ630 Mobile Printer

Having grown in popularity over the last 5-10 years, Zebra has launched the newest addition to their printer line: the Zebra ZQ630.

This Zebra label printer boasts improvements to inventory management, productivity, and efficiency with new advanced technology. It leads the way in printer wireless technology, taking the already popular Zebra QLn mobile series and upgrading it to a more evolved product. 

So what exactly is a Zebra mobile printer? 

Also called handheld printers and portable printers, Zebra mobile printers allow the use of label and receipt printing on-the-go in any setting. This ability creates a more proficient work area, especially in warehouses and factories, which are commonplace for these types of printers and where they operate best.

Although small in size, these printers do come at a large price, similar to their desktop counterparts. The price can range anywhere from $800 to upwards of $1,000 or more, depending on the supplier.

Let’s see if the Zebra ZQ630 lives up to the hype.

What’s New with the ZQ630?

A Zebra ZQ630 thermal mobile printer with a direct thermal label printed

The ZQ630 is professed to be the better version of its former QLn predecessor. When comparing the overall looks and general specifications between the two, the ZQ630 doesn’t initially seem very different. 

Printer specifications, like dpi and print speed, as well as printer characteristics, like overall size and weight, are relatively the exact same. Both have a screen display and operate using the same size labels, which print the same maximum and minimum label width and length. 

So what truly separates this current Zebra mobile printer from the previous one?

The ZQ630 is part of the ZQ600 series, Zebra’s premium line of mobile printers meant for high volume work in the most demanding settings. Its technological features greatly set it apart from any other mobile printer on the market.

Color Display Screen 

This Zebra printer model is built with an interface display that is both larger and colored, something the QLn model lacks. This makes the screen more user-friendly, allowing for easier set-up and maintenance of the ZQ630.

Additional Memory 

It holds more memory. While the QLn420 has 128 MB RAM and 256 MB Flash memory, the ZQ630 doubles that amount with 256 MB RAM and 512 MB Flash, allowing more space for fonts, graphics, as well as firmware upgrades and tools.

Wake-Up Mode

The technology for the newest version includes an instant wake-up feature, which automatically wakes up the printer from idle sleep mode the moment a print job is sent. This feature works over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, ensuring immediate availability for maximum print efficiency.

RFID Technology 

One of the biggest differences is the addition of RFID technology.

Zebra offers the only mobile printer that is able to produce encoded labels and tags with advanced RFID technology. RFID allows for the fast tracking of merchandise throughout warehouses as well as managing materials for inventory and supply chain use. Labels printed with RFID tags reduce errors and loss prevention while increasing EDI transactions.

The ZQ630 RFID is powered by Zebra operating systems Link-OS and Print DNA, which helps easily integrate networked Zebra printers into existing device management systems. Print DNA adds more security to protect company data by blocking unauthorized printer access and constructing secure connections.

Multiple printers can be added and managed from anywhere, tasks and workflows can be streamlined, and diagnostics can be run on print-heads to ensure health visibility before productivity is impacted.

Who Are Zebra Mobile Printers For?

A Zebra ZQ630 mobile printer attached to a worker's belt loop.

Like the name suggests, mobile printers utilize the ability to print anywhere at any time, unlike desktop and industrial printers which must remain fixed in one location. As previously mentioned, Zebra mobile printers are typically found in warehouses and industrial settings. These locations are very large in terms of square footage, meaning workers must cover an extensive amount of space each day.

For this reason, the use of a mobile printer is extremely beneficial as workers can attach it to their belt or strap it along their shoulder to pick and pack on-the-go. They can also be placed on forklifts as a means to help mobilize barcoding efforts.

The newest Zebra addition is designed for high-volume printing of both labels and receipts. It can be used for labeling both raw materials and finished goods, as well as identifying items used in picking, staging, packing, and shipping.

The ZQ630 also acts as a barcode printer, perfect for printing labels needed for case identification and pallet identification. This makes it a great choice for transportation and logistics industries as well.

One industry that mobile printers have contributed to in more recent years is retail. Here they are essentially a retail label printer, printing point of sale receipts, return labels, as well as labels for shelf edges and markdowns.

Because this is a portable printer, it mobilizes retail workers, migrating them to the sales floor and transforming them into order pickers and shippers for e-commerce orders.

What Kind of Labels Do They Use?

The Zebra ZQ630 is a compact, direct thermal (DT) printer. Therefore it is only compatible with direct thermal labels. This means that the print-head uses heat to activate the ink embedded within the label paper and does not require the use of a ribbon.

This size also means that this printer can only work using labels with a ¾ inch core, the smallest size available for label printers.

Along with printing paper labels, the ZQ630 thermal printer can be used to print on polypropylene. This is a long-lasting tear and water-resistant material that is capable of enduring harsh weather conditions as well as chemicals and oil. This is useful for warehouses and factories where these circumstances are a common occurrence.

Zebra mobile printers are able to sustain labels that have either a black-timing mark or gap sensor. These are marks or gaps in-between each label to notify the printer when one label ends and the next begins. While the default setting is fixed for timing mark labels, gap sensor labels work equally as well and at a more affordable price. Users will simply need to re-set the media type from timing mark to gap sensor.

Printer Specification 

ZQ630  QLN420 
Printer Price  $900-$1,000 Discontinued
Print Technology  Direct Thermal – Black Mark or Gap Media Direct Thermal – Black Mark or Gap Media
Core Size  0.75″ Core 0.75″ Core
Max. Media Width  4.1″ 4.1″
Resolution 203 dpi 203 dpi
Battery Capacity  6800 mAh 4900 mAh
Media Compatibility  Apple IOS, Android & Windows Apple IOS, Android & Windows
Connectivity  Wireless, WiFi, Bluetooth Wireless, WiFi, Bluetooth
Capabilities RFID RFID Not Included
Memory  256 MB RAM & 512 MB Flash 128 MB RAM & 256 MB Flash
Operating System  Link-OS & Print DNA Link-OS
Control Panel  Color Display- 288 x 240 Pixels LCD-  240 x 128 Pixels
Shop  Compatible Labels Compatible Labels 

Zebra ZQ630 Setup 

Compared to its desktop and industrial printer counterparts, the setup for the Zebra ZQ630 thermal label printer is incredibly easy. 

  1. Insert the battery into the back of the printer.
  2. Make sure to charge the printer so the battery is at full capacity.
  3. Insert 0.75″ core labels.
  4. Close the printer.
  5. Turn on the printer.

How to Load & Calibrate 

With the ZQ630’s larger LED screen, navigation is easier when it comes to changing settings and calibrating the printer. Previously, this had to be done through a computer, but because this is a Zebra wireless printer, it can all be done in one go. However, advanced options and settings can be accessed through a USB connection to any computer.

Load Labels 

  1. Open the printer.
  2. Ensure the labels being used have a black timing mark or gap sensor, depending on the media type the printer is set to.
  3. Pull apart the label adjusters and load the labels in with the facesheet side down.
  4. Close the printer.

Calibrate 

  1. Press Home and go to Tools.
  2. Press the right arrow to Label Length Calibration.
  3. Press Start.

Media Type Set Up 

  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Press the Home button, then press Settings.
  3. Press the right arrow to Media Type and then press the down arrow.
  4. Enter in the default password by pressing the up and down arrows. The password can be found in the Zebra printer manual.
  5. Press Done.
  6. Set the media type to gap or mark depending on the labels being used and then press Home.

The Verdict

  • A small and lightweight thermal label printer that can print from anywhere
  • Easy setup with the ability to connect to a PC, smartphone, or tablet
  • No ribbon necessary to print labels
  • A durable thermal label printer capable of withstanding drops from 6ft onto concrete
  • Includes a powerful battery with greater capacity for longer use time
  • Expensive ($900-$1000)
  • Charging cord is an additional cost
  • Slower print speed compared to an industrial printer
  • This is a user-friendly printer for environments that require an efficient and durable printer that can operate on the go.
  • It can print labels for multiple industries, making it a versatile choice for barcode and thermal label printing.