Iomega's Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner 8X could have been the only optical drive you'd ever need. It's a CD and DVD burner, a DVD-RAM drive, and a video-to-DVD transfer system. However, while the QuikTouch has much in common with HP's popular , it's hampered by poor performance and a less convenient method of video transfer: you can't burn DVDs directly from an outside source--video has to go through your PC first. Iomega provides a robust software bundle, including Sonic MyDVD, , and an excellent backup utility. But a drive with a $289.95 price tag (as of June 2004) should offer trailblazing speed and push-button simplicity. The Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner 8X does neither. It's worth a look, but consider HP's 8X update to the Movie Writer dc3000, the dc4000 instead. Iomega's bulky Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner 8X is about the size of the latest Harry Potter hardcover. It doesn't lack style, however, thanks to a silver-accented, gray shell and numerous LEDs, which light up to indicate power and the recording activity, as well as whether the drive is connected via USB, video, or S-Video. The drive is designed to sit flat--unlike , it has no stand for upright positioning.
While the QuikTouch offers backward compatibility with USB 1.1 ports, you'll lose the capability to watch DVD movies and capture video without the faster-speed port; it's almost not worth bothering with this drive if your PC doesn't support USB 2.0. Note that you can upgrade your PC or laptop to USB 2.0 with an inexpensive PCI card or PC Card, respectively.
The QuikTouch has composite (RCA) stereo audio and video ports and an S-Video input, meaning you can connect it to just about any external video source--VCR, camcorder, or even an old laserdisc player. There's nothing complicated about setting up the QuikTouch, either, though it is a bit time-consuming, due to all of the software you need to install. You'll need to load the half-dozen bundled applications one at a time, often with a reboot afterward--there's no way to install everything in one fell swoop. This minor hassle is made even more annoying by Iomega's animated installer, which very slowly introduces a choose-your-language menu, then slowly presents the icons for software to install.
Iomega's multilingual setup poster covers drive installation on one side and the video-capture process on the other. Video capture, a somewhat complicated procedure, could definitely use more thorough documentation, as it's really a video-to-PC-to-DVD operation, not a direct-to-DVD transfer as with HP's drive. Iomega's online manual (a PDF file) also covers the process but in only slightly greater detail.
A single button on top of the drive launches Sonic MyDVD 5.2LE and starts the video-capture process. Oddly, the button offers zero tactile feedback--there's no satisfying click--but all it takes is a light press to activate it. In most other respects, the drive operates like other external burners we've tested. Iomega's Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner 8X is a noteworthy DVD burner for a few reasons. First, it can record DVD+R/RW media at 8X speeds, though it's far from the fastest 8X drive we've tested. Second, it doubles as a video-capture device, thereby eliminating the need for separate hardware to record from external sources, such as VCRs and analog camcorders. However, we weren't able to capture video using any other programs, such as CyberLink PowerDirector 3.0 or Windows Movie Maker 2.0, so we were limited to using the bundled Sonic MyDVD program. Iomega's tech support didn't say that the drive would not work with third-party products, only that Iomega does not specifically support them.
The QuikTouch supports DVD-RAM media, a rarity among multiformat drives. While DVD-RAM isn't the best media to use for burning movies, its high capacity (up to 9.4GB per disc), hard drive-like accessibility, and rewritable nature make it ideal for backups and extra storage. It is fairly slow, however, and the QuikTouch burns DVD-RAM discs at a sluggish 3X speed. The drive also supports all manner of DVD media, both plus and dash, though it tops out at 4X for DVD-R and DVD-RW discs. It can burn CD-Rs at 24X and CD-RWs at 16X.
Iomega supplies a well-rounded software bundle, though it's composed largely of feature-limited "special edition" versions. Two exceptions are Iomega HotBurn Pro, an admirably novice-friendly app for burning and copying CDs, and Iomega Automatic Backup, which makes it blissfully easy to schedule automated file or folder backups. Sonic MyDVD 5.2LE handles DVD and VideoCD authoring; CinePlayer 1.5 takes care of DVD playback. You also get Musicmatch Jukebox Basic for ripping CDs and managing music collections and Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 SE for organizing photo libraries.
Iomega's DVD wizard puts all of these applications under one roof, providing a simple push-button interface for seven common tasks, including watching a DVD movie, creating a data CD, and building a photo slide show. Unfortunately, the wizard doesn't offer access to the online manual; you must pop in the software CD to view it.
As we found out in CNET Labs' battery of tests, Iomega's QuikTouch certainly isn't the fastest DVD burner on the market. In the all-important movie-write tests, it lagged behind the LG Electronics GSA-4082B and the with DVD+R media. Even among other drives that write DVD-R at 4X (a step behind the fastest 8X DVD drives), the QuikTouch turned in a middling performance. The story was pretty much the same in our data-read and data-write tests, as well as our rewritable media tests. Still, unless you're in a huge hurry or are burning handfuls of discs every day, the QuikTouch is probably good enough for casual use.
Capturing video with the QuikTouch was also a mixed bag. When we used it to record a 90-minute movie from a VCR, a dialog box appeared midway through the closing credits informing us that hard drive space was low (though it wasn't) and asking whether we wanted to "keep the capture file." We said yes, not knowing if dumping the file would abort the burn process. It then took MyDVD about 15 minutes to prepare the recording and another 15 minutes to burn the movie using 4X DVD-R media. While the DVD came out just fine, the computer locked up during MyDVD's "cleaning up" process. We tried another movie, this time with an 8X DVD+R disc. The burn finished in about 8 minutes, and thankfully, the computer didn't crash.
|Write a movie to write-once media|
|Write a 383MB file to rewritable media||Write a 500MB directory to rewritable media|
|Copy a 383MB file from rewritable media to the hard drive||Copy a 500MB directory from rewritable media to the hard drive|
Unless otherwise mentioned, all write tests are run with Verbatim media, rated at the drive's maximum speed. Find out more about how we test optical drives. Iomega's online support for the QuikTouch is superb, with everything from FAQs to drivers to a searchable knowledge base that's easily accessible from a single, well-organized Web page. The site also includes links to user forums; e-mail support; and live online, text-chat support that's available 24 hours. We had zero wait time to connect with a tech on a weekday morning. Iomega offers toll-free phone help from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET--but only for the duration of the one-year warranty. After that, Iomega charges $15 per case (not per call), which we think is a reasonable fee.