When the MacBook Air was first announced, there were many who criticized its lack of an optical drive. (Funny since it certainly wasn’t the first notebook to drop the drive.) Sure, in order to make the notebook as thin and light as possible there were things that had to go, and that included having more than one USB port and the optical drive. Apple may, however, have been setting the stage to phase out internal optical drives in favor of smaller, lighter notebooks. CD drives replaced floppy disk drives, DVD drives replaced CD drives, and now it’s quite possible DVDs are on the way out as well since software can either be downloaded directly or shipped on flash drives.
This does not, however, mean that there are times when a CD or DVD drive isn’t necessary. For example a few days ago I received a new TabletPC I had won on eBay. As is the case with most slate TabletPCs, there is no optical drive. Fortunately that same day I received a eTDU108 External Slim DVD ROM drive review unit from LiteOn.
The 8X external Slim DVD-ROM drive is small, light and compact. The size of about two CD jewel cases, it can easily be tossed into a gadget bag and used whenever necessary. Because it gets its power off if the USB port, a short USB cable is needed for data and juice.
The drive keeps everything tidy and accessible with a storage slot built into the bottom of the case; that way you’ll never need to go looking for the cable.
The drive is made of shiny black plastic. It looks good coming out of the box but like all devices made of shiny black plastic within seconds becomes covered with fingerprints. Personally I think I would prefer a device that looks a little less shiny coming out of the box, but is also a bit less welcoming of fingerprints. The drive is small enough and light enough to keep with you all the time if need be, although it is clearly not designed to take a lot of the bumps that come from being in a gadget bag. This isn’t to say the drive is flimsy, just that it’s not ruggedized.
To put a CD or DVD into the unit you simply release the latch on the lower front of the device and the lid flips up. It isn’t mechanized which helps keep the unit light, but it does have a gentle spring that opens it on its own. Close the top, plug the USB cable into the DVD drive and the computer and away you go. I used it to load a number of programs onto the tablet and it worked perfectly. I used it to start a movie I had no issue either. Best of all it is exceptionally quiet.
If transfer rates are 8X for DVDs and 24X for CDs at or write speed of 24 times. System requirements include a 1.3 GHz Pentium 4 processor, Windows 2000, XP or Vista. The literature says nothing about compatibility with Macs however when I plugged it into my MacBook Pro it worked just fine.
It’s a nice unit and definitely something good to have around. Especially if you have a notebook that doesn’t have its own optical drive.
What I like –
Small, thin, light, USB powered, has its own storage for the USB cable, inexpensive
What needs improvement –
Shiny black plastic is a fingerprint magnet, not heavy duty and built to take the wear and tear of carrying it with you.