EZ-DUB 1673SU External USB2.0 DVD Writer

Lite-On are on something of a roll, establishing quite a reputation for innovation without the usual high price tag. So we were keen to take a look at the EZ-DUB external DVD writer with its fast burning automated simplicity.

It’s a bit of a chunky monkey, albeit a blue one, at a none-to-svelte 1.3Kg and measuring a sturdy 172x66x243mm.

You might expect this sturdiness to be the result of all the sound insulation, a good solid device to keep things nice and quiet. We did, and we were wrong.

Oh boy were we wrong! All such devices are a little noisy when burning, but where the EZ-DUB really disappoints is in the noise levels during read mode. We thought it was actually going to take off and fly out the office window at one point!

While we are in moaning Minnie mood, let’s get the rest of the gripes out of the way in one hit: the supplied USB cable is too short at just a metre, and the EZ-DUB feature is only supported under Windows 2000 and XP. Yep, that really is pretty much it, other than the teenagers who popped in for a look-see during testing and complained bitterly about it not supporting the copying of copy-protected movie DVDs in the one button dubbing mode.

Err, yes, well you see that’s not something we can really knock Lite-On for, is it? However, the teens went away happy when they realised that it is only copy-protected movies it barfs on, and they could happily copy games discs all day long.

What you do get for you not a lot of money, is a very powerful device indeed that turns in a versatile and effective performance. Seeing as speeds and stuff are quite important when it comes to a DVD burner, we thought you might like a look at the specs: this is a 16x dual drive with double-layer writing capacity.

It provides 4x write speeds on DVD+R double-layer media and 16x on single-layer DVD-RW and DVD+RW media. Re-writing speeds are a respectable 8x for DVD+RW and 6x for DVD-RW. The CD-R writing speed of 48x is none-too-shabby for a DVD writer, nor is the 24x CD-RW re-writing. The 2MB onboard buffer helps the speed and stability, as does the Lite-On patented "SMART-BURN" technology that eliminates buffer under-run and optimises high-speed writing for whatever media is being used.

But the big selling point of the EZ-DUB is, as the name suggests, that easy disc dubbing feature. You can’t miss the two big buttons on the top of the thing, one marked DUB and the other FILE.

You can’t go wrong in disc copying either, as you simply insert a disc, hit the DUB button and replace it with a blank disc when prompted. That’s it. The Lite-On supplied software takes over and automates the entire process, ensuring the optimum settings are used for the best quality recording. If you want to backup important data it’s just as easy, first drag the files to the EZ-DUB desktop folder, insert a blank disc and hit the FILE button. Cool huh?

Verdict

If you fall into the relatively specialist category of someone requiring an external DVD writer, and don’t mind ramping up the stereo while it’s working, then the power and simplicity of the EZ-Dub is hard to ignore. Very hard to ignore indeed at this price.