Portable Que Drive is good to go, but hooking up is slow

Portable Que Drive is good to go, but hooking up is slow

By Carlos A. Soto

GCN Staff

If you're on the go and need to burn a quick CD-ROM, the Que Drive from QPS Inc. is the perfect size. If you want a fast, reliable CD writer, however, you might want to pass on the Que.

The portable, futuristic-looking external CD writer and rewritable drive connects to the Universal Serial Bus port of a system running Microsoft Windows 98 or Mac OS. QPS says the Que has a write speed of 4X, a read rate of 8X and, for reusable rewrite disks, a 2X spin rate.

The Que CD-R/RW drive is easy to pack for the road, but it performs slowly and skips data intermittently.

But those numbers are misleading. The $300 Que performed slower than many internal CD-R/RW drives.

My attempts to burn CDs had mixed results. Whether data or audio, the Que missed some segments. Audio tracks had skips similar to those on scratched vinyl records.

Data sometimes wrote fine. Other times, the software froze while the drive was spinning. I had to wait until the software unfroze and the drive finally stopped so I could begin the process of burning CDs again. Often the Que Drive itself froze when I pressed the eject button, and I had to reboot to get the disk out.

The three Win98 software applications included with the test unit are from Adaptec Inc. of Milpitas, Calif., and installed without a problem.

Box Score''''''''''''''''

Que Drive

Portable, external CD-R/RW drive

QPS Inc., Yorba Linda, Calif.;

tel. 714-692-5573


Price: $299

+ Light and easy to transport

' Slow and unreliable

Real-life requirements:

Win98 or Mac OS, 32M of RAM, USB port, CD-ROM drive, 100M of free storage

The primary application, Easy CD Creator, was easy to use and straightforward. The second, Adaptec Direct CD, can write files directly to CD from standard office programs such as Microsoft Word and Lotus 1-2-3.

The third application, CD Catalog, frustrated me. CD Catalog executes online purchases of blank CDs and other items. Even though I ran its uninstaller utility, the application remained defiantly present and behaved temperamentally whenever other drives were connected and other applications were running.

That said, the Que weighs only 3 pounds, 6 ounces and measures 10 by 6.5 by 2.5 inches'an ideal size for travel. Its well-designed carrying case stores everything neatly.

Hooking up the Que takes little time, thanks to the USB. But it has only RCA cable ports; you cannot listen to audio CDs without hooking it up to a stereo or buying computer speakers with RCA ports.


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