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  Iomega Predator

Iomega Predator CD-R/W External Drive

Richard Price
5 June 2001

The new Predator USB CD-RW drive from Iomega sure is a trendy piece of work. The funky retro purple plastic design with silver trimming, flip-top lid and psychedelic whirly thing that spins around when a CD is in use should add a touch of style to the dullest office cubicle.

Setting up the unit is a piece of cake. Snap on the USB adapter, install a bit of software, plug it in and it's ready to use. As with most of the Iomega stuff I have seen, there is not much of a printed manual. Comprehensive help is available on-line, or on the CD ROM that comes with it, in the ubiquitous HTML format.

The other thing I like about Predator is the software included in the bundle --- Adaptec's Easy CD Creator version 4. It's a great program even though it has been somewhat Iomegaised and includes an annoying animated character, similar to the Word paperclip, that espouses tips disguised as upgrade options. Still, it works well --- even with my old internal Ricoh CD-RW drive. I have only ever used versions that have come bundled with CD ROMs and can only imagine the wonders of the full version.

There is an audio cable included in the package, but I never bothered. Windows MediaPlayer had no trouble working out what to do with Audio CDs.

I find blank CDs a much safer bet for backing up. The price also makes them an affordable solution for sharing files on what is a very common format. Using the predator drive I backed up 450 MB of mixed data files in about half an hour.

Making audio CDs was not much different. Although it is a 4x 4 x 6 drive. I prefer to copy audio CDs at a slower speed, only because music geeks I know insist the slower write speed of x2, results in better audio quality. In a nutshell, fewer errors mean a better listening experience.

The minimalist Predator unit doesn't have an ON/OFF switch, although a pair of flashing lights let you know if it is powered up --- and you can't miss that hypnotic whirly thing! There is a volume control knob, an Open button and a socket for headphones. My headphones didn't work and I found the flip-top lid more reminiscent of a portable CD player. I kept "clicking" the CD into place but that is not necessary. Even though there is an external power source, the lid also only pops open when the computer is on. The Iomega Predator with USB adapter is stylish, portable and so "Furturama".

For a few hundred dollars more it is available with a FireWire adapter which should enable users to take advantage of a much faster drive speed. With FireWire connectivity the Predator has a rated performance of 8x4x32x24x (8x write, 4x rewrite, 32x read, 24x digital audio extraction). I was not able to test this, but if the press release is to be believed, it should have a lot more byte.

Software bundled with the Predator includes Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4.0, Adaptec DirectCD 3.0, MGI PhotoSuite, BurnProof technology, MusicMatch Jukebox Plus, Iomega Quik Sync 2.

I like the idea of one drive that supports additional interfaces by using detachable and interchangeable adapters. In theory users can switch among any hot-swappable connection type --- USB 1.1, FireWire, and PC Card and USB 2.0 when available. If only Iomega could get rid of that bulky external power supply the Predator could easily be leashed to a laptop for a walk in the park.

Price AU$699 (with FireWire adaptor AU$849)

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