Pazzles Inspiration Review
Since its release, the Pazzles Inspiration Vue has shown itself to be one of the most efficient and effective die cutters on the market. Before you rush out to buy one, though, you should know a little more about what it is, how it works, and whether or not it's the right machine.
What Is The Pazzles Inspiration Vue And How Does It Work?
- Print and cut with optical eye
- Design and cut your own images from clipart, drawings, etc. or draw your own designs. Cut fonts installed on computer
- Cut all kinds of cardstock including the thickest textured cardstocks
The Pazzles Inspiration Vue is the successor to the original Pazzles Inspiration, which has been discontinued by the manufacturer. As an electronic die cutter, this machine connects to a computer and uses a blade to cut out practically anything you can design.
This particular machine can cut cardstock, plastic, chipboard, fabric, rubber, metal, and some types of foam. With additional tools (sold separately), you can also draw, engrave, emboss, pierce, or distress many types of materials. As if that wasn't enough, the pastry tools let you cut things like cookie dough, gum paste, and fondant.
As a printer, the Inspiration Vue is extremely precise - though it's worth noting you'll have to feed it the right materials. If your fondant isn't at the right consistency, for example, there's really nothing the machine can do about that.
Like most die cutters, the designs themselves are fairly straightforward to use. A digital file (usually SVG or WPC format) tells the printer exactly how to place and cut things. Since you can modify the images before you print, every project should turn out exactly the way you want it to.
What Makes The Pazzles Inspiration Vue Unique?
The Pazzles Inspiration Vue is easily one of the most flexible machines on the market, and that's the real strength here. Some die cutters focus on one or two common materials, like cardstock or plastics. The Inspiration Vue's wide selection of options - and compatibility with new tools - makes it ideal for buyers who want to create elaborate designs on a variety of objects.
At the time of this review, the Pazzles Inspiration Vue sold for $$ on the manufacturer's official website (Pazzles.net).
Most resellers match the price of the manufacturer, but we were able to find some discounts on this product. At the time we checked, Amazon was selling the orange (and only the orange) version of this product for $, a discount of about 43%.
On the other hand, Jet.com was selling a purple unit for $$, down from a normal price of $$$. We're not sure how they got either of these numbers - the Pazzles Inspiration Vue may have been more expensive in the past, or they might be changing the price in hopes of getting more. Either way, the fact they're asking for more than the manufacturer suggests it's not going to sell well.
If you decide to get this product, we don't recommend paying more than $$ (before tax). The good news is that this product is expensive enough that most stores will give you free shipping, so that's not a concern. If they want you to pay for shipping, just buy it somewhere else.
What's In The Box?
For the price, the Pazzles Inspiration Vue includes the following in each box:
- The machine itself
- A 12 x 12 print and cut mat
- A cutting blade with a blade holder
- A USB cord to connect the printer to your computer
- A power cord
- The InVue Design Software
- 300 images that are ready to cut out
- 2 months of access to the Pazzles Craft Room
- A setup guide
- A 1-year warranty
- 1 year of support by phone
Notably, it does not include a manual. Those are only available online, though you can print it out if you really need to.
Aside from what's in the box, you'll need a computer with 1+ GHz in its CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 1 GM of disk space, a USB Port, a CD-ROM drive, and either Windows 7 (or newer) or OSX (10.9+). In the practical sense, any vaguely modern computer can easily run the design software, but old machines may struggle with it.
Public perception is widely split on this product.
In a post for Top Ten Reviews, Angie Parkinson rated this product 8.48/10, placing it as the third-best die cutting machine at the time we checked their site. She looked favorably on the way a subscription plan offered access to an online community, but also noted there was no response from customer support. Ever.
As part of this review, Angie noted that the 1,000 grams of cutting force were well above the average for this type of product, but you can only get the most from it if you use Pazzles' software. It's not as compatible with popular programs like Sure Cuts A Lot, and if you're spending several hundred dollars on a machine, you don't want to be pushed out by the software.
Amazon reviews, in contrast, trended sharply negative. Reviews were separated based on the color of the machine, so there's no total star rating, but we can consider them individually.
The Purple version was rated 1/5 after two reviews. One reviewer on this model cited awful customer service and the need to return the product to the factory to resolve a major defect present on several other machines they'd seen. The other cited the software as being too difficult to use, so they returned the product.
The Blue version was rated 2.4/5 after three reviews. The most negative review said that the product took too long to learn how to use, while another negative review stated that it didn't cut as well as they wanted it to. (Since the machine is listed with above-average cutting power, it's possible they were using it wrong). The sole positive review - 5/5 stars - simply observed that it was "Great".
That said, the Orange version on Amazon had the most helpful reviews. This one was rated 2.6/5 after two reviews, and the negative one is extremely detailed in the complaints. Complaints included issues with missing the registration mark, extensive conflicts with printing programs, trouble installing Pazzles' programs, and the (expensive) cost of repairing the machine.
Just for variety, we decided to take a look at some international reviews - and the pendulum swung back the other way. On Walmart's Canadian site, the Pazzles Inspiration Vue was rated 4.0/5 after 4 reviews. One of these was the same negative review we'd found on Amazon - the other three reviews were full 5/5 opinions.
One buyer cited getting a discount on the Pazzles website and felt the $$/month membership cost was worth it. They felt the InVue software was user-friendly and liked the variety of tools associated with it.
Another positive review from this source said they'd owned their machine for more than two years and had used it with a wide variety of products. They were especially fond of the repeat button, which allows you to do the same cuts without having to be connected to a computer. They recommended people start with the Basics to get used to the machine and - critically - claimed ownership of 13 cutters.
This is important because someone with that many cutters is likely to know which of them are good. Out of their entire collection, they noted feeling that the Pazzles Inspiration Vue is the best.
The last of the 5-star reviews on Walmart's Canadian site said they bought it because it seemed to have the most capabilities. They looked favorably on the premade designs, the educational videos, and the general community. All three of these buyers recommend the Pazzles Inspiration Vue.
For context, the final reviews on Amazon for the original Pazzles Inspiration put it at 3.3/5 after 49 customer reviews. Most people gave it 5 stars or 1 star, with few in the middle, showing that people tended to either love the machine or have a lot of problems with it, and there were about even chances of being on either side.
Understanding The Reviews
What we see from the reviews is a hit-or-miss product. Most people who buy the Pazzles Inspiration Vue either love it or hate it, and there's not a lot of in-between. There's no way to predict which situation you'll find yourself in. As such, we only recommend buying it from a store that offers a generous return policy.
How It Compares
The Pazzles Inspiration Vue compares fairly well to most die cutters, at least when you're looking at the official specifications. At 1000 grams of cutting force, it's significantly better than the category average of 710.0 grams. However, it's not the best in the category, either - that title belongs to the Silver Bullet, which has 1250.0 grams of cutting power.
The cutting width - or maximum possible width of cuts - is 12 inches. That's just under the category average of 12.06 inches. Admittedly, the difference is meaningless for most applications, but it's worth noting that the maximum width of cuts is under the average.
The machine also has four rollers - wheels that hold the cutting mat in place as it moves around. That's a step up from the category average of 3, and it helps to stabilize things and ensure each cut is as precise as possible.
Finally, the machine itself weighs about 11.2 pounds. That's heavier than the category average of 10.89 pounds but lighter than some of the better products in its category (especially the Silver Bullet and the KNK Zing Orbit). Lighter cutters are more portable, and on paper, this machine strikes a good balance between weight and power.
What We Think
The Pazzles Inspiration Vue is a hit-or-miss product, and it's that "miss" that stops us from really recommending this. Make no mistake - it can be a good machine. As we described in the Public Perception section, there are some people who really love this machine. There are also a lot of people who absolutely despise it.
Unless you have a lot of money to spare, it's hard for us to recommend this product when some of its competitors are more reliable. Instead, we recommend the KNK Zing Orbit (for amateurs) or the Silver Bullet (for experts, as a long-term investment). Both of these machines are considerably more reliable for users - and less likely to have manufacturing and software concerns.
You can still get this product if you're willing to take the risk, but under no circumstances can we recommend buying the Pazzles Inspiration Vue without a plan to return it and get a refund if it doesn't work as expected.
Coupons And Deals
Aside from discounts on other sites, which are hard to predict, Pazzles offers two special "deals" on the Inspiration Vue that can bring the cost down. For context, the "normal" sale value is about $440 (counting the two months of Pazzles Craft Room access).
The first deal is the machine for $$ with a one-year subscription commitment to the Pazzles Craft Room. The total amount you're paying is... drum roll, please... $, same as the original. However, you get ten more months of the Pazzles Craft Room at the same price, so this is technically better even if you're paying the same amount.
The second deal is the machine for $, with a two-year subscription to the Pazzles Craft Room. The final cost of this deal is about $$, spread over two years. You're paying less up-front, but you do get extended access to their design library and options.
It's hard for us to call that last one a deal because you end up spending more. Worse, this is only available through their official site, so you may have to deal with restocking fees, early termination fees, and other issues if the product doesn't work out for you. All in all, a risky proposition, but an easier way to get started if your budget is a little tight.