EZQuest Boa Slim DVD-RW/CD-RW

Reviewed by: Michael Gallo, September 2004, send e-mail
Manufactured by: EZQuest, go to the web site
Requires: Windows 98SE or higher, 600MHZ processor or faster, 256MB RAM
MSRP: $319.00 (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.

The unit supports several popular CD and DVD recording formats 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 further problems.

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 the Boa.

(Ed. 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 18.5x.

(Ed. 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.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: whine@kickstartnews.com




© Copyright 2000-2006 kickstartnews.com. All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Forums Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe