After selling millions of Iomega ZIP drives, worldwide, and promoting it as a kind of new standard, Iomega, the American backup solution giant, come back with a brand new innovative ZIP product that'll surely fit the needs of mobile users. The ZIP CD is an USB CD Burner. It's the first USB CD burner we've seen here and even if this new drive doesn't use the ZIP technology we really hope that it'll have a great success as we really appreciated it at ActiveNetwork.
Iomega ZIP CD650 features :
After unpacking this blue burner, which is a little big, you have to plug the external AC power adapter. Then simply connect the USB cable from your computer to the ZIP CD device. Now start Windows 98SE: the device will be instantly recognized and you'll be prompted to insert the drivers CD. Installing this brand new burner is a real child game as it's very fast. The last step you have to do before burning CDs is to install the provided Adaptec Easy CD Creator 3.5c for Iomega burning software. Reboot the computer.
The ZIPCD 650 device is big and cumbersome: it's much imposing than the standard 5"1/4 format. The drive is also heavy, as it weighs 1.2 Kg. However its blue & grey refined design will allow it to be fully integrated in any workspace area. On the front of the drive there are two LEDs that indicates if the drive is reading or burning CDs. A volume-knurled wheel will allow you to increase or decrease the audio output easily. Iomega thought to every user as the drive also features a phones connector and two rear RCA audio lineout connectors to rely the burner to any Home audio component or computer sound cards. Finally an eject button allow you to open/close the drive tray: when you push it for the first time you'll be surprised as the blue front panel is just a mechanical cache that is pushed by the drive tray when you open it or that closes itself when you close the tray due to a small spring. It's a pity because it suddenly gives the drive a wobbly appearance. We deeply regret the lack of an emergency eject button to manually eject CDs if there's a problem. Finally the size, the weight and the big pads of the device make it really solid which is very important to avoid shocks and vibrations when burning CDs.
The Iomega ZIP CD unit is recognized as any other conventional burner or CD-Rom drive under Windows 9x. That is to say that you can access the drive from the My Computer window (also from any other software) or from the explorer as if it was an internal burner. The ZIP CD can play CDs to a speed of 6x according to Iomega. However our tests shown that the maximum play speed reached only 5x (755Kb/s) in the best case and in the worst condition the play speed fall to an honourable 4x (736Kb/s) speed. In any case the play speed of the ZIP CD is slow due to the USB 1.1 technology limitations. It'd be surely better if it uses a FireWire connection. Iomega gave us one good surprise: when you play audio CDs with the ZIP CD drive you don't have for example to plug an audio cable between your sound card & the burner: all the audio data are transferred through the USB cable ! Great isn't it ?