Every computer out there today has some sort of optical drive in it, they all pretty much have too to access media and install programs, the types and capabilities vary but they’re pretty much all the same.
Portable optical drives on the other hand can be different, they can be small, slim styled drives or full sized in a portable enclosure to hook up via your USB port. These are not really that much different than their internal cousins, but some companies add increased functionality to set their products apart from other on the market to add value and of course make them more attractive to the end consumer. One such company is Liteon, they’ve got a line of portable optical DVDRW drives called the EZ-DUB. These drives feature a standard sized, fully featured, optical drive inside of an external enclosure, but what makes these special is the addition of two touch sensitive buttons labeled ‘File and ‘Dub’ to make common functions easily accessible to the end user. Is the EZ-DUB worth your money, are the extra features worth it?
First up of course check out the Unboxing movie, then continue on to the rest of the review:
Lite-On introduces EZ-DUB, a patented new feature, making copying easier and more hassle-free for users than ever before.
The EZ-DUB function works with the addition of two buttons to the DVD writer : “DUB” and “FILE”, and the user-friendly EZ-DUB software developed by Lite-On.
EZ-DUB is as easy as 1-2-3. All you need to know is how to press a button !
DVD Read: 16X
CD Read: 48X
DVD Access time: 3/1 Stroke:130ms, Full:200ms, Random Access:130ms
CD Access time: 3/1 Stroke:130ms, Full:200ms, Random Access:130ms
Ok, so I ran into problems with the installation, I had assumed that since it came with Nero that it would be compatible with Nero8 that I had installed, as it says on the Liteon site that you need at least Nero7.5 to use the software, well I was wrong. So I ended up having to uninstall my Nero8 and install the Nero7 Essentials that comes with the EZ-Dub, and of course I ran into a few more problems there as well. I only wanted to install the basics, I don’t like having a program take over my computer, as in reset all of my preferences to playing music,videos etc, and while Nero is a great product I don’t like some of the things like the Indexing Service and the Nero Search bar that integrates into the taskbar. So I tried to do a custom installation with just the basics, that didn’t work, then I tried to do another custom installation with everything but un-checking all of the preferences, that didn’t work either, so on the third try I just let everything install and let it essentially take over my computer.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing really, for the average user, or basic user this would be fine, use Nero for everything, hey that’s great really, a suite of software that can do everything for you, but I’m what most would consider an enthusiast user, I tweak my system to run at max performance and have all of my settings exactly the way that I want them to be, I don’t like it when something comes along and forces me to change my way of doing things just to use it. So it’s not a bad thing, it just depends on who you are and what type of user you are as to how this can be taken and used by the end user.
So fine, it doesn’t work with anything above Nero7, I talked to tech support and the next version of the EZ-DUB will have Nero8 support. Though that doesn’t negate the fact that it doesn’t work with the latest version of a very popular software. and also considering that Nero9 just came out as well. So we’ve got an end product that only currently works with older, outdated software. Again though, I’m an enthusiast and I try and have all of the latest software and hardware out there today, the average user doesn’t upgrade like I do, so I’m sure there are many people still running Nero7 right now and are completely happy with it.
>The main feature of the EZ-DUB, and one that I find quite useful, is the two touch sensitive buttons on the side labeled ‘File’ and ‘Dub’. This is why you must install Nero7 to make use of these buttons, without these it’s just another external CD/DVD drive like all the others out there today.
Touching the File Button opens up a graphical interface that allows you to just drag and drop files into the picture, once the capacity of the disc is full you can then burn it.
Touching the second button labeled Dub allows you to copy discs, if you have a second drive in your system you can also enable ‘copy on the fly’ or direct disc to disc copying, it’s faster but there are chances of errors occurring.
The buttons are very useful really, just tap the button and you’re ready to go, and the drag and drop interface is great and easy to use.
The next problem I ran into was disc reading, this only pertained to one disc that really, Crysis, I think that the problem lies with the protection scheme on the disc and not so much as the drive itself, though it should be able to read the disc by default. I put the Crysis disc into the drive and the activity light came on, it spins and spins and makes a ticking sound, after about two minutes of this I gave up and just stuck it on my other drive. It’s an optical drive and it’s expected to read all of our discs, where the problem is I’m not too sure, Crysis was read fine by both my Sony and Pioneer DVDRW drives, but obviously there is a problem somewhere, and I’m betting it’s with the DRM or Copy Protection on the Crysis disc itself.
I know it seems like all I’ve got are bad things to say about this product, and to a point yes that’s correct, but it’s from my point of view, and my observations, and I have to include these things to do an honest review to help cover all of the bases.
To look at this objectively though, the only problem that I encountered that might effect an average user was the disc reading one, the drive should be able to read all discs, especially since it’s newer than the game I was trying to read from it.
As for the included Nero7 Essentials and the average user, well they might like the fact that it indexes all of the multimedia files on their hard drive, and they might like the search option easily handy in the taskbar.
As for the actual performance of the Liteon drive, I compared it to my Sony18x DVDRW/DL drive. I was curious since the Liteon is an external USB drive, and my Sony is an internal IDE, even though the Sony is only 18x, I thought that it might still beat out the Liteon since it was using the USB connection, but I was wrong. I used Neros own testing software, CD-DVD Speed and ran the Create Disk Test and the Overall Benchmark test as well to compare the drive to one another.
Here’s the results for the Liteon, Benchmark and Creation tests:
and here’s the results for my Sony drive:
Here’s a graph comparing the main results of the tests, Average Speed, Random Access, and Average Creation Speed.
Creation Speed and Average Speed results are higher is better and Random Access is lower is better.
As we can see the Liteon, even though running through the USB connection, is a better drive when it comes to raw performance.
The drive itself is quiet when in operation but I did notice that I could feel the vibrations through my desk, I’m sure that’s because it’s an external device though, as the same thing can usually be felt with an external hard drive as well, just not as pronounced as with the optical drive.
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Enthusiasts point of view aside, the Liteon EZ-DUB is a great product, and it comes bundled with probably the most popular burning suite available today.
The EZ-DUB is something that can be a very useful addition to any one’s computer system, be it a desktop or a laptop. The EZ-DUB is an external optical drive making it very portable if need be, even though it’s connected via USB it still performs very well.
If you’re in the market for an external DVDRW then give this one a look really, it’s not a bad choice.
I have to be honest though, if you’ve upgrade to anything above Nero7 I’d stay away from this product as you’ll have to downgrade to make full use of it and it’s features.
-Easy to use
-Not compatible with Nero8 or Nero9
-Media compatibility problems
-Must install every feature of Nero7