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craggybuk

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Magicard bounce back with the Tango 2e badge printer

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10.07.2009

Advantages:
High quality ID badges .

Disadvantages:
Cost, quite slow

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Picture quality

Printing speed

Colour sensitivity

Ease of use

Value For Money

ReliabilityGood

DesignExcellent

Range of extra features / functionsExcellent

Instruction manualVery useful

Manufacturer SupportExcellent

65 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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Introduction

Having used the Magicard Rio 2 badge printer for several years (see my review from September 2007) we, as a business decided we needed to upgrade as our architecture was changing and DLink were no longer making the DP-300U print servers which were the only print servers which would work with the Rio 2.

In general we were very happy with the Magicard brand so decided to stick with it and went for the Rios twin sister, the Tango 2e. The main difference between these 2 printers is that the Tango 2e now comes with a built in Ethernet port making it simple to connect to a network whereas this was a real tricky job with the previous models.

In the box

These printers are extremely heavy so the box is very well packed to avoid damage during transit. On removing countless layers of polystyrene, you finally reach the main printer. This looks almost identical to the Rio 2, the only visible difference being the badge on the front . There are other differences in terms of performance but we will discuss these later on.

As well as the printer, you get a mains power cable, a USB A to B (standard for printers) cable, a dye film which is the equivalent of an ink cartridge and CD containing the printer drivers, the administration software and a comprehensive PDF manual. The manual is actually quite important if you need to connect this printer to the network as it details things such as setting the printers IP address, subnet and other techie information which the standard user is unlikely to know.

Setting Up

The actual setup of the printer is fairly straightforward. You will need to attach the 2 card hoppers to the main printer. These hoppers are used for storing the plastic cards that you will print on. The one at the back of the printer stores all the unused cards whereas the one on the front stores all the printed cards. These hoppers can store upto 100 cards each which is adequate for most operations we perform.

Once the hoppers are in place, its time to install the dye film. This needs to be handled with care as they cost around £50 each and are liable to snap if installed incorrectly. Fortunately, installation is very simple. One end of the dye film is barcoded, this side always goes to the left when installing the film. By using a little force (thumb and forefinger should do it), the dye film will click into place. Closing the lid on the printer at this stage will force the printer to recognise the new film and initialise it accordingly.

A quick tour of the printer reveals a lcd display on the front of the printer which gives upto 3 lines of data such as the printing status, out of dye, error codes, etc. To the left of this, just above the printers logo is the power button. The printer takes 30-45 seconds to power up and go through its initialisation routine. The printed card hopper in the centre of the front panel of the printer completes our look at the front of the printer. Onto the top of the printer and there’s a release catch which gives access to the inside of the printer. You will only need to use this to replace the dye film or to clear a card jam. The back of the printer is where most of the action is, as well as the unprinted card hopper are the connections for either parallel, USB or Ethernet printing. Only one of these cables should be connected at any one time otherwise the printer really does get confused about which one it should be using. The mains power cable also plugs into the back of the printer. This is the standard PC/monitor power cable so I would recommend housing this printer on a desk with plenty of space behind it as the power cable and rear hopper are going to need a lot of space.

Once all of the components are attached to the main printer, its time to install the drivers and software. Do not connect the printer though until the drivers are installed.

Using the Magicard Tango 2e printer

Using this printer is simple, just like printing to any standard A4 printer in fact. The beauty of this printer is that it can seamlessly be connected to a network meaning that multiple users can print to the printer without the need for swapping cables from PC to PC. This is the main reason we went for this printer as we would be using it for printing out student ID cards from upto 5 PC’s at a time. The print quality is lovely, giving vivid colours and a high quality font which can be read into our library system via the barcode on the card. To put this into perspective, when we printed the output onto a standard inkjet printer, the barcode would not read because the quality was not upto scratch even though it looked acceptable to the naked eye.

The printer is cable of producing watermarks and holograms too but we have never used this feature so I cannot really comment on how easy this is to do although I have seen demonstration cards with this on and it does look very impressive.

It takes about 30 seconds for a card to print which, in my opinion isn’t very fast. On average a dye film will print 500 cards in colour whereas a black dye film will print approximately 1000 cards. Occasionally the dye film will snap due to being over tense but at £50 a roll, it is definitely worth replacing by selotaping it back onto the spindle.

Verdict.

Retailing around the £2000 mark, this printer is only worthwhile if you need to mass produce ID badges or any other document onto a credit card sized badge. It is certainly not for the casual user. Saying that, if you do purchase this printer, you will be very pleased with the output as the quality is very high. It is not vastly different from the Rio 2 I reviewed some time ago but the existence of the Ethernet port will make it more of an attractive proposition to businesses. I would recommend this printer wholeheartedly as it has been a godsend to us. So much so that we have 5 or 6 of them now throughout the company producing both student and staff ID badges, totalling around 20,000 cards each year.

Maintenance on these printers is quite expensive but also necessary to avoid frequent card jams. We service the printers once a year at a cost of approximately £100 per printer which involves the printer going back to Ultra for a week or so. We find this service to be very good but I would expect excellent service for the price we pay.

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Comments about this review »

catsholiday 24.08.2009 16:38

Not sure i would ever need this

Coloneljohn 26.07.2009 12:28

Nice one but as you say, not for the casual user. John

Ruby.xo 24.07.2009 13:12

Great review. x

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

The high-security Magicard Tango 2e prints a fully-customizable HoloKote card watermark. This professional ID card ...

General

MPN M9006-745E, M9006-990
Printer Type Plastic card printer - dye sublimation - colour, Plastic card printer - dye sublimation/thermal transfer - colour

Printer

Print Speed Up to 0.37 min/page - colour ¦ Up to 0.1 min/page - monochrome
Built-in Devices Status LCD, Contactless Smart Card encoder
Connectivity Technology Wired

Show all Product Information

Review Ratings »

This review of Magicard Tango 2e has been rated:

"exceptional" by (11%):

  1. JordanBuck
  2. obscuredbykep
  3. claribella

and 7 other members

"very helpful" by (89%):

  1. lora44
  2. xmen109
  3. xxfoxyredxx

and 77 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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