By Michael Lasky
The era of the single-function device is over. Today, it’s all about versatility — including the option of operating without a connection to a PC.
A quartet of new products includes some novel — and unexpected — capabilities for home and office use.
Teaching old DVD drives some new tricks
External USB DVD burners were once the staple of any good computing workstation setup. They were necessary for duplicating optical discs, as portable backup devices, and as players for those ultra-thin notebooks and diminutive netbooks whose size precluded internal optical drives.
But with the rapid growth in the size of image files, videos, and system backups, the value of an external optical drive has been largely usurped by big and fast external hard drives and the unlimited capacity of the Cloud. Nevertheless, optical discs still make reliable, easy-to-store backups of important images and documents.
In the case of Plextor’s U.S. $150 PlexEasy (info page), staying relevant means unchaining itself from the PC and adding some new and useful capabilities. For example, it pushes the optical-drive envelope by directly transferring data to and from a host of mobile devices such as digital cameras, tablets (including the iPad), smart phones, and other devices that connect via USB. The drive even includes a built-in SD slot.