Boa Slim DVD-RW/CD-RW
Gallo, September 2004, send
by: EZQuest, go
to the web site
98SE or higher, 600MHZ processor or faster, 256MB RAM
(w/Firewire & USB ports), $219.00 (USB only)
The EZQuest Boa Slim is everything you ever wanted
in DVD and CD burning technology but were afraid
to ask for in a small, lightweight portable package.
Slim is certainly the right word to describe this
unit. Coming in at just under 1 pound, the Boa is
slightly larger than two regular CD jewel cases stacked
on top of each other. The unit's brushed aluminum
body is sturdy and looks very chic.
unit supports several popular CD and DVD recording
including DVD-R, DVD-RW CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM,
CD-Rom XA Mode 1 & 2, CD-Text, Photo CD, Single
session, Multi Session CD-DA (Audio), and CD-Extra.
The one format it does not support is DVD+RW.
My review unit was capable of connecting to the
computer using a USB 2.0, USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface
or a Firewire interface. I reviewed the unit on a
Dell Dimension 4600 running Windows XP Pro, using
the USB interface. The drive comes with a (thankfully)
small external power supply which is necessary because
the Boa draws too much juice to be powered by the
USB port alone. Once power is applied and the USB
cable connected, the computer should immediately
recognize the drive and make it ready for use. Initially,
I had mixed results getting my computer to recognize
the drive. The situation was unusual because I have
other USB devices on the computer that work just
fine. Ultimately, I had to force the computer's BIOS
to perform a hardware rescan in order to find the
drive. After that, Windows recognized the Boa without
While the drive was in operation, I did not notice
any degradation or interference between most of the
other USB devices and the Boa. However there was
some interference between the Boa and my USB flash
memory stick. I had to unplug the memory stick in
order for the software to properly interact with
Note: We've seen a number of situations in which USB
Flash Drives interfere with other USB devices in a
chain or connected to the same hub.)
I used Nero's CD-DVD speed (a shareware program) to confirm
the Boa's advertised speeds. The drive's stated burn speeds
are DVD-R/DVD-RW: 2x, CD-R: 16x, CD-RW: 8x. The Boa achieved
the advertised burn speeds. The Boa's rated speed for reading
CD-ROMs is 32x. I couldn't achieve a speed of more than
Note: Most CD-ROM drive speed ratings are weighted
in favor of drives'
peak data read rates. Sustained data
read rates for 32x drives are typically in the 17x-20x
range with only expensive top-of-the-line models from Plextor,
Yamaha and Sony achieving anything close to advertised
speeds. Product specs—hah! What can we say?)
The Boa was significantly quieter during operation than
typical internal drives. The unit didn't have any difficulty
reading CD-ROM programs or my various CD-R discs. However,
on a few occasions, the Boa was a bit fussy about initially
recognizing a CD-ROM loaded into the drive. In every case,
ejecting the discs and re-inserting them was enough to
overcome this problem. The Boa is also capable of playing
DVD movies. Aside from an infrequent and very minor pause
in the playback, I thought the unit worked just fine playing
the DVD movies. Note that currently, DVD player software
does not ship with the Boa. I downloaded a shareware player
that worked just fine with the drive.
I also performed several CD and DVD burning tasks. I produced
a Video-CD album of pictures using the bundled Roxio software
and burned it to a standard CD-RW disc. I was then able
to play the Video-CD on my home DVD player. When I tried
the same operation on a CD-R disc, the results were mixed.
The disc would not work on two out of three different home
DVD players I tried. For DVD burning, I chose to produce
a data back-up disc. I burned 1.4GB of data onto a DVD
blank at the stated 4X DVD.
There are only two non-hardware related comments that
I have about the Boa:
Comment #1: Documentation was limited to a 20 page installation
guide. The was no additional information included about
the drive's technical specifications, nor was there additional
information on operating the drive. EZQuest's web site
does provide some additional technical information about
the drive, but it's not a lot.
Comment #2: The unit does not ship with DVD player software.
Roxio's software will only play home grown DVD's. Roxio's
player will not work with the encrypted DVD movies that
come from your local Blockbuster. You'll have to find an
alternative player to watch your favorite movie.
Overall, I thought the Boa offered decent CD/DVD reading
and writing performance with the added bonus of coming
in a small portable package that is eminently suitable
for work with notebook computers.
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