Lite-On are calling the eTAU108, “the ideal travel accessory”, while this statement is probably true, for us it has very high hopes of being the ideal netbook accessory!
The eTAU108 is one of the, if not THE, slimmest and lightest, USB external DVD writers on the market today. It’s width and depth measurements hardly measure much greater than that of a CD, and it’s height is less than 2cm.
It is powered by a single USB port form your netbook, and it can burn CD’s at 24x max, and DVD’s upto 8x speed.
- DVD+R: 8X
- DVD-R: 8X
- DVD+R9: 6X
- DVD-R9: 6X
- DVD-RAM: 5X
- DVD+RW: 8X
- DVD-RW: 6X
- Read: 8X
- Access time: 1/3 Stroke : 180ms; Full Stroke : 310ms; Random Access : 180ms
- CD-R: 24X
- CD-RW: 24X
- Read: 24X
Design / Features
External DVD drives are of course very important to netbooks as 99% of netbooks lack an optical drive. An external DVD burner allows you to easily access CDs and DVDs for data and movies, along with being able to burn and backup data from your netbook. I have written more about external DVD drives here.
The Lite-On eTAU108 has been especially designed for traveling, and along with a solid high quality finish it also has a number of nice features.
It has a simple top loading design, allowing the disc to be accessed by sliding a toggle at the front of the drive, which kind of reminds me of a portable discman CD player. This simple design enables Lite-On to cut down the dimensions and size of the eTAU108, keeping them to a minimum. It measures 142.1(W) x 19.4(H) x 143.8(D) mm, and weighs less than 350g.
The constructions feels very strong and sturdy, and I would feel very comfortable carrying it around without fear of it breaking.
A very simple but great feature of the Lite-On eTAU108 is its built in USB cable holder, which stores the USB cable under the drive when it’s not in use. This will come in very handy when traveling with the external drive, hopefully eliminating the all to common problem of loosing or misplacing the required cable! Also, as the drive is powered by the same cable, all you need to do it store the cable in the base of the drive, then put the drive in your bag and you’re ready to go.
One potential downside to this is the supplied cable is rather short at 18cm (including plugs), but as most netbook users will simply place the drive on the desk next to their netbook it shouldn’t be a problem.
Installation / Usage
The LiteOn eTAU108 is very easy to setup as install. Simply plug in the USB cable to your netbook / computer, and Windows will install the drivers automatically. After this, every time you want to use the drive, it’s ready to go in about 3-5 seconds.
After you insert the disc and close the lid, the drive powers up immediately. An LED at the top front indicates drive activity. If the drive is still spinning when you want to remove the disc, simply press the stop button, wait a few seconds, and then slide the latch to open the lid, and remove the disc.
The Lite-On eTAU108 performed very well, with good speeds. When watching a DVD movie the drive was also nice and quiet.
I tested the drives performance with the included Nero 8 DiscSpeed software. You can view the CD and DVD graphs below.
- Burst Rate: 17685 KB/sec
- Spin Up Time: 3.12 sec
- Spin Down Time: 3.04 sec
- Random: 136 ms
- 1/3: 147 ms
- Full: 209 ms
I used the included Nero 8 Essentials software to burn a data DVD at 8x speed. The recording took about 12 mins, and went without any problems.
I can highly recommend the Lite-On eTAU108 external DVD burner as a perfect match for any netbook. It’s simple but tough design, gives me confidence to bring the slim and light unit around with my netbook. It also performed very well, and the added bonus of the built in USB cable storage adds to it’s appeal to the traveler.
I would happily add the Lite-On eTAU108 to my essential list of netbook accessories.
You can currently purchase the eTAU108 in the UK from Amazon UK in white and black colour options for £45.
Note: In the U.S this drive is known as the Lite-On ETAU208, which is exactly the same, but additionally features LightScribe technology. It is available from Amazon for $59.