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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [06.11.02]
Manufacturer: Imation
MSRP: $250


Nero CDSpeed

This is a very nice utility for testing CD drives, and also gives a lot of extra data concerning spin-up, spin-down, and CPU usage.

Spinup/Spindown Time
Spinup Time 5.37 sec
Spindown Time 4.03 sec

Disc Eject Time 4.01 sec
Disc Load Time 3.21 sec
Disc Recognition Time 13.71 sec

It's a rather short graph, but this device uses rather short CDs. Since this is a Constant Linear Velocity (CLV) drive, the RPMs of the drive decrease in order to keep the amount of data flowing from the CD at the same rate. However, it only read at approximately 4x connected to my laptop PC, but the 4x was VERY stable. I also connected it to an Athlon 1.2 GHz through a USB hub and got identical results, so they appear to be platform independent. Note, however, the degree of CPU usage. Between that and the small buffer cache in the drive, it's probably good advice to go back to the old days, and not do any other tasks while your CD is burning. I don't see how Imation could do anything about this, since the USB bus itself is the part that needs so much CPU overhead.

Imation has a good product here. The device itself is as good as it can possibly be, and is probably one of the best digital audio solutions on the market, providing a good balance between capacity and portability. If there are any faults with the device, it's with the bus it uses to attach to the PC; however, Imation had little choice if they wanted to guarantee connectivity with the most PCs possible.

The included software is another fault, and a rather large one at that. The Nero version included is limited to the RipGo itself, and the only other software included is a piece of freeware and a demo. However, the Nero software will work well for those that don't own a CD burner other than the RipGo, and for those that already have a burner, they can probably bypass the included software completely. The RipGo works with RealOne, and Windows Media Player 8, and is also compatible with Roxio's EasyCD Creator5 and it's included SoundStream software. So those who are already digital music or CD burning enthusiasts most likely already have software packages that they use daily, are comfortable with, and contain their music collections. Because the RipGo is a standard USB CD burner, it's compatible with any software that can save music to an MP3 or WAV file, whether through packet-writing, or Nero or EasyCD.

Though price is an object, it's not an insurmountable one, and it may drop with time. The Imation RipGo is a superior and flexible all-in-one solution. Only the weak software bundle keeps us from awarding the I AM HARDCORE award. Right now if you look around, you can find price listings for the RipGo! for anywhere between $175 and nearly $400, so keep an eye out.

  • Plays MP3 and WMA
  • Fairly simple interface
  • Also serves as USB burner and reader
  • Smallest and lightest CD burner on the market
  • Burner function guarantees compatibility with any system

  • Only comes with 1 battery
  • Comparitively weak software bundle
  • Expensive

Final Score: 80%