Zebra 2844 vs. Zebra GC420. Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

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Late last year, Zebra finally retired the LP/TLP2844 desktop printer line.  These thermal barcode label printers went through a few refreshes over their long lifetimes, which began under the company Eltron (no affiliation with L-Tron), acquired by Zebra back in the late 90s.

Zebra LP2844 4" Barcode Label Printer

The replacement G-Series printers were introduced in 2008 and included the GK and GX printers.  The GK was the base model, available only in 203dpi (dots per inch; higher dpi is required for higher density barcodes) and with a print speed of 5 inches per second (IPS) with serial, USB and optional Ethernet.  The GX is a bit faster at 6IPS and includes options for 300dpi resolution plus optional Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.  The GX430 (300dpi) is only available in thermal transfer (the higher resolution slows the print speed to 4IPS), while all others are available in thermal transfer or direct thermal.  Both models are slightly more expensive than the (4IPS) 2844 models.

After the 2844 retirement notice, the distribution channel made large quantity final purchases, and those printers are now almost entirely depleted.  The 2844 is finally gone.  Or is it?  Sometime around the retirement of the 2844, Zebra announced a 4IPS addition to the G-Series printers.  Tell me if it looks familiar:

Zebra GC420D 4" Desktop Barcode Label Printer

The Zebra GC420 is the new base model G-Series, available in limited configurations: GC420T for Thermal Transfer and GC420D for Direct Thermal.  Interface is local host only; no ethernet, WiFi or Bluetooth options.  No cutter or Real Time Clock (RTC) are available, but the label dispenser is.  Like all the other G-Series printers, it supports EPL and ZPL programming languages.  8MB RAM and 8MB Flash Memory are standard and a significant upgrade over the 256/512k of the 2844 models.

Without going too deep into the history, the GC420 is more accurately the replacement of the 2844-Z that had ZPL, 8/8MB RAM/Flash and a higher price than the standard 2844.  The GC420 is available at lower price than the GK and GX printers, a lower price and better specs than the previous Zebra 2844 models and even lower still than the 2844-Z.

The GK and GX printers are excellent products, but if you have an installed base of 2844 printers and you want a consistent look and feel – or if you’re just looking for best value over top performance – the GC420 may be the right choice for you.  If you’re interested, please contact us to discuss your desktop printing needs.