Teac’s new portable USB 2.0 CD-RW drive is one of the slimmest and lightest drives that we’ve seen; its dimensions aren’t much greater than those of a standard CD jewel case. The USB 2.0 specification means it’s relatively fast, too, rated at 8-speed write, 8-speed re-write and 24-speed read.
When used with USB 1.1 connections the performance of the drive drops considerably; 6-speed is the maximum it will achieve in read mode while write or re-write operations are limited to 4-speed. But at least it does work with the older interface, which ensures compatibility when using it on different desktop and notebook machines. The 110ms access time means that read operations are suitably swift, while the drive’s ‘Write Proof’ system prevents loss of data through buffer under-runs.
As we’ve said, the drive itself is exceptionally compact and is accompanied by one of the shortest USB cables available, but the external mains adapter (not enough power is available through the USB port, apparently) adds to the carrying weight, so it’s not quite as portable as it could be.
That point aside, the CD-W28PU works well. The build quality is good, there’s a line-out port for audio (but no amplified headphone socket) and the two LEDs tell you all you need to know about the drive’s operating status. A copy of the excellent Nero 5.5 authoring software – which includes packet-write and write-at-once functions – is supplied with the unit and the installation process for both this and the drive itself is pretty painless.
The drive mechanism is based on Teac’s own CD-W28E drive and the unit comes with a useful CD containing data sheets and specifications plus applications that include CD benchmark tools, a ‘virtual CD’ utility, drivers for all major operating systems and firmware upgrades. There’s a well-written manual, too, covering installation and trouble-shooting issues.
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