While the name may suggest something rather different, the JackRabbit 4 is an interesting approach to the portable DVD writer. Philips questions why a portable DVD writer should be limited to working on a PC. Taking this idea, The Jackrabbit 4 will happily work as an additional drive for your computer, but also work as a portable CD and DVD player as long as you have a recipient for its signal.
Built to look like a tank the JackRabbit 4 isn’t the most stylish-looking unit on the block. Cased in your standard a-typical consumer electronics silver, the player is adorned with two buttons and a host of input and output options including sockets for composite video, S-video, analogue audio, headphones, USB2, digital audio and the drive's power supply. Controlling the device is done by an additional remote control and this is mainly for the CD or DVD Playback.
Connected to the computer via a USB2.0 connection the player is unlikely to suffer issues with data transfer and the burner offers support for CD-R/RW/DVD-ROM/DVD±R/RW formats with read, write and re-write speeds of CD-R at 16x, CD-RW at 10x, CD-ROM at 40x, DVD+R at 4x, DVD+RW at 2.4x and DVD-ROM at 12x. A 2Mb data buffer should also ensure you never get blips in your recordings.
Its real strength however is not as a burner, but as a CD and DVD player. Connect it to your television via one of the many included cables in the box and you can instantly watch DVDs or listen to CDs on your television. The addition of a 5.1 Digital Output for the audiophile is also a lovely addition and shows that the chaps over at Philips are actually thinking about what they are doing.
This is a great all-rounder offering DVD burning and playback for both the PC user and television watcher. Admittedly the player isn't without its drawbacks. The lack of a FireWire socket as an alternative to the USB2.0 socket would have been a nice addition and as always with any device that isn't Apple, a more compact power unit to make this device truly portable. But grumbles aside this player not only completes what it sets out to do, but also adds a little touch of extra sparkle into the mix. Top Marks.