CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Yamaha CRW70 12X/8X/24X travel drive (USB 2.0) review:

Yamaha CRW70 12X/8X/24X travel drive (USB 2.0)

  • 1
MSRP: $329.99
Compare These

The Good Stylish; sturdy; doubles as a standalone MP3 player; good performance; runs both PC and Mac software.

The Bad Heavy for a travel drive; won't run off of USB bus power.

The Bottom Line We love the Spyder's low-profile, retro design and all of its features and extras. But at nearly two pounds, it's almost twice the weight of most travel CD-RW drives.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall

If you're in the mood for a little retro style in your peripherals, Yamaha's pop-top Spyder USB 2.0 CD-RW travel drive offers the old-school charm of a '60s flip-open address book, plus solid 12X/8X/24X performance. The drive is rugged enough to withstand the rigors of life on the road, but at almost two pounds, it's also a load on the shoulder. If you're in the mood for a little retro style in your peripherals, Yamaha's pop-top Spyder USB 2.0 CD-RW travel drive offers the old-school charm of a '60s flip-open address book, plus solid 12X/8X/24X performance. The drive is rugged enough to withstand the rigors of life on the road, but at almost two pounds, it's also a load on the shoulder.

The $299 Spyder comes with a user guide and a setup sheet that are among the best in the business. The package also includes a three-foot USB cable, one blank CD-R, and, unfortunately, a thick AC power brick that contributes greatly to the drive's hefty travel weight. The drive is compatible with Windows 98 SE, 2000, Me, and XP, plus Mac OS 9.0.4 or later. Setup is as easy as plugging the AC adapter cord into the drive and running a USB cable to your computer. However, you'll need a USB 2.0 adapter card for full performance (expect 4X/4X/6X when attached to a USB 1.1 port), so factor in that hassle if don't already have one. Happily, Yamaha offers a free PCI USB 2.0 adapter for your desktop though a mail-in form. If you're the notebook type, the company also offers a PC Card USB 2.0 adapter for only $29.95--an appealing deal, considering that such adapters usually run about $99.

Retro fits
Besides being handsome, the 5.5-by-7.5-by-1.1-inch, silver and gray Spyder has an intuitive, logical layout. All the CD- and MP3-control buttons (the drive doubles as a standalone MP3 player), as well as the LCD readout, are mounted on the front lip of the drive and are easily accessible. The headphone jack is placed well forward on the right side of the unit to avoid cable tangle. The power connector, a regulation USB-cable jack, and the line-out are on the back. There's even a power switch (which many external drives lack) on the rear right of the unit, but unfortunately, the drive can't run off USB bus power.

Big bundle
A major Spyder perk is the software bundle for both Mac and PC. Ahead Software's excellent Nero 5.5 is provided for PC CD-mastering chores, and the same company's InCD handles drag-and-drop packet-writing. Also included for the PC are NeroMix 1.227 and Nero Wave Editor for audio duties; the Nero Utility kit for testing your drive and system; and Adobe's PhotoDeluxe 4.0 image-editing software. Mac users get Ahead's NeroMax, which brings many of Nero Burning ROM's abilities to Mac users, plus Photoshop 5.0 LE for image-editing needs.

The Spyder performed as we expected for its 12X/10X/24X ratings in CNET Labs' tests. It burned our 500MB batch of test files to CD-R in 6 minutes flat; burned a 43-minute audio image file to CD-R in 5 minutes; and wrote 400MB of data to CD-RW in 8 minutes, 32 seconds. The Spyder also scurried through our DAE (digital audio extraction, or ripping) test, extracting a 27-minute track in only 1 minute, 30 seconds. Installing Microsoft Office Small Business Edition with the Spyder took 2 minutes, 30 seconds, which is on a par with the drive's 24X-rated read speeds. And Yamaha's SafeBurn buffer-underrun protection lets you multitask while burning discs without fear of ruining your media.

Yamaha offers a typical one-year warranty for the Spyder. Toll-free telephone support is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday. Online support includes software and firmware downloads, answers to common questions, and an e-mail link to customer service.

It all adds up
Though the Spyder is a bit on the heavy side for a travel drive, we have to love its combination of good looks, sturdiness, solid performance, and intelligent design. If you can handle the weight, it'll make a useful addition to your home or mobile system.

Write tests
Time, in minutes, to complete tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Audio burn to CD-R from image on hard drive (from 43 min., 11 sec. audio CD)   
Single-session data burn to CD-R (500MB directory)   
Packet-write from hard drive to CD-RW (400MB directory)   
Iomega Predator USB 2.0 24X/10X/40X drive
2.37 
3.07 
35.32 
Yamaha Spyder 12X/8X/24X CRW70 travel drive
4.99 
6.00 
8.54 
CenDyne 8X/8X/24X drive
6.42 
8.06 
7.97 
 
Audio extraction tests
Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (shorter bars indicate better performance)

Iomega Predator USB 2.0 24X/10X/40X drive
0.88 
Yamaha Spyder 12X/8X/24X CRW70 travel drive
1.49 
CenDyne 8X/8X/24X drive
3.35 
 
Read tests
Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (shorter bars indicate better performance)

Iomega Predator USB 2.0 24X/10X/40X drive
1.79 
CenDyne 8X/8X/24X drive
2.51 
Yamaha Spyder 12X/8X/24X CRW70 travel drive
2.51 
 
The Yamaha Spyder skittered through our tests in accordance with its 12X/10X/24X speed ratings. While it couldn't compete with the Iomega on straight data and audio burns to CD-R, it danced circles around the Predator in the packet-writing test.

This week on CNET News

Discuss Yamaha CRW70 12X/8X/24X travel...