One of the most obvious differences between an external optical drive and its internal brethren is in appearance. A device that’s going to sit out in the open for anyone to see, after all, has to look the part. Lite-On’s latest EZ-Dub optical drive accomplishes this with a fashionable white and black aesthetic that would surely do Apple proud. It’s an update from the more staid look of the previous EZ-Dub model, which was also nearly two inches longer and a half-inch taller. As with the older model, this EZ-Dub comes with a stand, so you can set the drive on its side to save desktop space.
Another distinction of external drives is convenience. The EZ-Dub connects to a PC via USB and is ready to go with you anywhere. Lite-On also equips the drive with two touch-sensitive buttons to make common optical chores easier: a Dub button for disc-to-disc copies and a File button for backing up files to a disc. Pressing the button automatically launches the bundled EZ-Dub software, and then it’s just a couple steps to completing the aforementioned tasks. In the end, it saves a bit of time, but these tasks aren’t all that laborious when you use the traditional means: The drive also comes bundled with the Nero 7 Essentials package.
Of course, what should matter most about any optical drive is its performance. The EZ-Dub is rated for 20x DVD+R write speeds, just like the Samsung SH-S203 that we’ve been recommending for many months. But Lite-On’s drive took a full minute longer than Samsung’s to write 4.38GB to a single-layer DVD+R (6 minutes vs. 5 minutes). And when writing to a double-layer disc, Lite-On’s drive took 17:56 (min:sec) to Samsung’s 13:10. Still, these scores are solid, if not stellar—and if what you’re after is an external drive solution, Lite-On’s EZ-Dub is a credible choice.
Good locks; useful stand. Speedy for an external drive.
Not as fast as the best internal drives (duh); Dub and File buttons, though neat, are not really that necessary.
Lite-On 20A4PU EZ-DUB
DVD+R Write Speed Average
DVD+R Read Speed Average
Access Time (Random/Full)
DVD+DL Write Speed Average
Best scores are bolded. All tests were conducted using the latest version of Nero CD-DVD Speed and Verbatim media. Our test bed is a Windows XP SP2 machine using a dual-core 2.6GHz Athlon 64 FX-60, 2GB of Corsair DDR400 RAM on an Asus A8N-SLI motherboard, an ATI X1950 Pro videocard, a Western Digital 4000KD hard drive, and a PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 850 PSU.