Dooyoo have made it quite clear this summer that the only money to be made for members is from things consumers want to read about, end of. And as we generally have only one or two off these products or services in the Level One bit then there's not much money to be made, especially as these things are mostly used and purchased by the women of the house, so the boys left to scratch around here and there by throwing up the computer 'stuff' review to keep it ticking over. I'm looking around my room now to see what's next to review. Technical and inanimate stuff is so boring to write about but that's the deal now and if we don't write about things like external disc-drives its game over. I just feel guilty about writing less than 1000 words on something I know I have nothing interesting to say about, opening waffle like this purely about bulking things out.
So why do we need external disc drives in the era of memory sticks and all-in-one PCs and lap tops? Well the answer is Netbooks, most too small to fit a disc drive in, the portable internet a bit over-rated, my Samsung NC10 without a drive and so hence this review. Mini disc drives that would fit in their nicely looked like they were going to be ubiquitous about ten years ago but it never happened, memory sticks far more practical and portable. Simply, netbooks have a paradox in that you can't load the operating system and software without a disc drive, and so unless Vista or XP etc isn't preloaded you have to buy an external disc drive, which is a bit of a step backwards me thinks. Bring back mini-discs!
The 'Lite-On EZ DUB' has a rather retro look about it with smooth curved angles to its rectangular shape and that shiny brown and white plastic finish that we had hoped we had left back in the 1970s. The whole idea of external drives just feels anachronistic. With a big chunky on/off switch and a port for an adapter and the USB interface at the back and a front load for the disc with a little red light to say the powers on then there's nothing complicated about this kit in anyway.
This is a rewritable disc drive, which means you can copy information off your PC or the internet onto a blank disc, as well as use this for playing music like a CD player and a normal DVD and CDROM for normal computer stuff. You must buy the correct blank CD/DVD discs though to do this. Normal drives just read information on discs with a laser and relay that to the computer. With the EZ DUB you can copy films and music off the internet or other files stored on your computer and then back on to the external disc. Kit like this and the ability to copy music, film and software into digital files is causing a huge headache for media conglomerates as we can now get all our films and music for free if we so chose, and 90% of all music downloads online is now pirated files. In music that's not as bad as it seems as the big record companies that run the show can no longer spend money hyping gay boy bands and telling your girls they are straight and auditioning for popcorn girl pop bands like the Pussycat Saturdays and so smaller independent bands get to exploit that very same technology to get their music out there instead. But for film it's more serious as they spend million on movies and if they don't make their money back on rental and multiplex tickets the more intelligent films never get made, one paying for the other. If you have a re-writable disc then you need to be responsible with it as there will be no music or films one day.
The Drive comes with some software to use its special feature, the 'DUB' and 'FILE' button, which basically allows a simplistic one action drag and drop move to copy file-to-file and discs-to-disc instantly etc...You can place an empty disc in the machine and simply burn what's on your computer into it by pressing the Dub button. The discs are around ten quid for ten and you can get about ten hours on each DVD for films and TV and hundreds of songs on CDs. It retails for around £35-40. I can burn around three movies on to one disc. You can also wire this up in conjunction with your DVD and copy rentals, although that is illegal, of course.
Technical details I have no idea about....
EZ-DUB function works with the addition of two buttons to the DVD writer - DUB and FILE
Write media compatibility - CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD-R and DVD-RW media
Smart-Burn for efficient recording minimizes buffer under conditions
Smart-X for fastest CD-DA/VCD/DVD data extraction speed
Compatibility - Microsoft Windows 98SE, ME, 2000 & XP, Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or higher CPU and 128 MB RAM or higher
Hard Disk Interface: USB 2.0
Buffer Size: 2 MB
Total Item Weight: 6 pounds
Shipping Weight: 5 pounds
Width: 6.8 inches
Depth: 9.6 inches
Height: 2.6 inches
Weight: 2.9 pounds
Average Amazon Customer Review: 4/5 Stars