There used to be a day when all laptops (and desktops) came pre-configured, from a hardware standpoint, with a CD-ROM player (at the least). You were moving up in the world if you had a DVD player (watching those videos in between projects at work). And, oh, if you had a DVD player / writer (burner), you were all set and the king/queen of your world! Either that or you were the “go to person” for everyone else who didn’t have a burner and wanted something created on DVD for them.

Then, something happened. Part of it was the introduction of the concept of the “Cloud.” I mean, who needs a CD-ROM when you can download it from DropBox whether it was your DropBox or one shared with you from another DropBox owner?

It seemed that the CD and the DVD started to become obsolete. But, then every once in a while, there would be that faint recollection and desire to go back in time and access that drive. Either that or it is just me. lol Then, again, does anyone remember the first time that they recorded/burned their own DVD and how good it felt? What about creating a DVD that actually had menus, like the professionals? Ok, I might be getting a little geeky now.

Loading an audio CD in the VicTec.

Loading an audio CD in the VicTec.

Enter the I-Have-Everything-In-One-Laptop Phase

I had a bad ass (am I allowed to describe it that way)? Anyway, I had the best laptop of the times out there (so I thought). It was the 17” Macbook Pro, fully loaded, with everything you could possibly want or need. It came with what was called a SuperDrive (another word for DVD writer and once you are a DVD writer, that includes all the other aspects of CD and reading/writing). I was in my element. That is, I was in my element, until…

I found this cute little (tiny) MacBook Air. Hey, it fit in my Betty Boop purse! Yes, even for a technical geek, I can be blonde and flakey sometimes. So, my wonderful MacBook Pro went to my hubby, and I started to carry my lightweight laptop everywhere with me. Literally. I figured it was my “writing laptop,” so how much of the extra stuff did I really need? (Funny how perspectives can change.. almost overnight, eh?)

One of the first things that hubby did with his newly acquired laptop from me was to remove the Superdrive and replace it with a drive caddy that allowed him to add another hard drive. Basically… more storage. Hey, I get it. Now he had more space, or more.. anything. It was a caddy, and it offered versatility. But, the DVD-burning days of the laptop were gone.

Ok, why do I share this intimate (not that intimate) story with you and where am I going with it?

VicTec: The ideal Portable CD/DVD Writer/Reader

VicTec: The ideal Portable CD/DVD Writer/Reader

The Aftermath

Think about it. SuperDrive (aka DVD writer/burner) removed from one laptop. It now lives in the same house as the Betty Boop purse-sized “lightweight” Mac laptop that is not exactly “fully loaded,” but works well in that purse and works well with “the Cloud” (as well as Starbucks environments and the triple shot cappuccino). Are we missing something here?

So, what do we do when we want to create a DVD? Sort of stuck, eh? I think we sort of lived without it and decided not to notice. I mean, with the ability to upload videos to YouTube and share via Dropbox, not much of the video editing world changed for us. And, besides, it was quicker to upload to the cloud than to create DVDs anyway, eh?

Still, limiting yourself to only online video sites and the Cloud isn’t where you want to be when part of what you are known for is producing videos. At that point, you are stuck with YouTube and Vimeo (and Facebook streaming, Blab, and others).

Enter VicTec USB 2.0 Portable External Slot CD/DVD-RW Burner Writer with Built-in USB Cable…

For simplicity, we will call it “our VicTec.” I hope the company does not mind, but that is an affectionate way of referring to a device that we have fallen in love with and recommend. TO find out the real “given name,” you need to check out the “more information” on this device for yourself.

And with that entrance of this wonderful device, after having described (in too many words), the NEED for this device, let’s take a look at what it does for the Mac user. By the way, this VicTec Burner/Writer is not only for Mac users. Did you know that? We have a couple of “devices” (loosely put for laptop(s) and tablet(s)) that have the USB 2.0 and capability of hookup up to this VicTec.

Pros and Cons

Pros
Here is the short list, but only short because it performed so well!

  1. Portable: My husband and I are still trying to decide who it belongs to so we decided it belongs to me and use of the company :) Yes, that comes from being the baby of the family, and the psychological ramifications. But, seriously, hubby and I couldn’t even have this discussion if it were not for how wonderfully portable this device is! It is beyond the Betty Boop purse and into the evening bag!
  2. Works Wonderfully: It gets the job done. We tested the reading and writing/burning capabilities with CDs and with DVDs. No issues to report. It does what it is supposed to do.
  3. All-Featured Excellence: I feel like this device deserves a bullet point for each function that it performs, especially since there were no major complaints and it performed as expected (and actually higher). In some cases, it seemed like it took a while for the device to respond (i.e. ejecting the disk), but that can hardly be blamed on the VicTec when there are many other aspects that come into play (like the OS of the laptop; the memory in the laptop; how much of the memory/RAM is in use; if you remembered to actually hit “eject,” etc.). So, again, the VicTec performed up to expectations (and beyond).
VicTec and the Carpenters CD

VicTec and the Carpenters CD

Cons

The thought is that no matter how perfect you are, there is always room for improvement, and there are a couple of places where even our VicTec had room for improvement.

  1. Sometimes our VicTec does not want to take the CD (or DVD). In our case, it was a Carpenters CD. Granted, it was a limited edition CD from Japan, and maybe the Japanese Manufacturers make their CDs different from how we do it, but our little VicTec kept spitting it back out at us. Granted, I understand that Teswell Direct is not from the US, but maybe their devices work better with certain CDs or certain CD manufacturers. Before you think of it as a case of the retro red fuzzy table cloth, as seen in the video (what was that, btw?), let me assure you that it happened on a hard surface, as well. :) But, either way, it was not a show stopper, as far as “cons” are concerned.The solution? Be firm with the button and keep re-inserting, like you see on the video. Don’t be so “authoritative” or overpowering with the device that you break it, but sometimes it just needs a little bit of a firm (or firmer) touch.
  2. The other con is the branding. I can’t tell you how many times I kept referring to it as the DVD thing. Eventually, I obtained the brand name (through the help of a friend ;) ), but seriously, a little more work on branding would go a long way! Especially with a product for which I have very few complaints. Just a thought. That said, I must compliment them on keeping it “green” (something that is very important to those of us from California) and less wasted material in the box, etc. From that standpoint, the company did very well!

Final Thoughts

With a rating of 4.5 and a device that works sooooo well (especially handy for Mac users or those who have a device that is capable of hooking up to another device, via USB 2.0), and a price tag of less than $25.. well, what are you waiting for on this one? Grab it up and start making those DVDs, or watching your favorite DVDS… after all, when was the last time you watched Weekend at Bernie’s?

Deborah Anderson
Deborah wears many hats, from professional sound engineer, to marrying a professional sound engineer and recording a Jazz album that put her and kept her on the RN Jazz charts in Los Angeles, for a year. From that experience, she learned how to make it work with social media marketing. She traded in her position as Chief Technology Officer in the financial industry to help small businesses to realize their success online.
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