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I first saw this device around May 1999. I desperately needed a portable CD cutter to carry around with me along with my laptop (Toshiba Tecra 8000). Every other offering on the market at the time (with the possible exception of the Freecom) was the size of a breeze block. Price at that time was around £495 at PC World. It was exactly what I needed but not at that price. Over the next few months it came down in stages until at £375 I felt it was good enough value for money. So I bought one. It has been superb. It's never missed a beat. I've cut dozens of CDs, music ones, data ones. Data ones I've cut closed and open and also added extra data to open ones without any problems. The only thing I haven't yet tried is CD-RW, but only because I haven't yet had a need. I've played music CDs, Video CDs and also CDs cut on other cutters and all have been trouble-free. The only issue I have, if I have any at all, and it is just a niggling one, is that it does not play music CDs stand-alone. There are no CD controls on the device itself save for a volume control. In order to play them it has to be attached to the laptop. But I'm nit-picking I agree. If you're looking for the perfect CD cutter in the smallest package available, go no further. An unqualified recommendation... and the price is now only £250!!!!!! UPDATE 1/4/2001 Sadly this superb little device no longer seems to be available. HP have introduced a new model, the 9600se. I have not been able to examine this but from the information I have been able to gather it does look slightly more bulky. It does retain the SCSI interface and seems to deliver a higher performance in terms of read/write speed. The sort of price that this seems to be going for now is around £225. There are far more CD writers on the market now and this may no longer be the best of its sort. ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIO
N My son has had experience of the Amacom offering in this category of products. They tried to install one where he works. They have had enormous problems with it and have now returned the second example sent to them. This may be one to avoid. Proceed with caution.
In line with my need for portable computing solutions, I recently invested in an HP portable CDRW. In the box I got: PCMCIA SCSI card Power adapter CDRW drive 1 Blank CDR 1 Blank CDRW 1 CD containing drivers / software Instruction book Lead to connect CDRW to SCSI card First impressions of this technological marvel are good. It can write/re-write at 4 speed and reads at a very respectable 20 X. As far as size goes, its around the same as a portable CD player (walkman thingy). Portability is no problem. As with most of my portable gear, it has its own PSU (if anyone knows of a capable "univeral adapter" for all my portable PC stuff please mail me). Installation is relatively easy, you install the PCMCIA card, install its driver and then plug in your new CDRW. Easy enough if you have prior SCSI experience, but may be a tad harder for novices. Adaptecs Easy CD is supplied which is more than adequate for writing CDRs or CDRWs. My choice is Nero which is a hundred times better - check www.ahead.de for details. As this is a SCSI CDRW, you can also use it with a desktop PC or indeed any with a SCSI card. It daisy chains on the back of my Scanjet 5p with no problems at all. For portability I think this unit would be hard to beat. As far as reliability goes, I have yet to write a coaster after burning some fifty CDs. Highly recommended if you are a mobile PC user.