The Tsing USB 3.0 External DVD-RW Drive was kindly provided to me by KoCo-Go-UK free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The Tsing USB 3.0 External DVD-RW Drive is available in the UK from KoCo-Go-UK Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £17.99 with free P&P for Prime members, it is also available on Ebay.co.uk from a number of different sellers starting from £24.26 with free P&P. At the time of writing the Tsing USB 3.0 External DVD-RW Drive is sadly not available either on Amazon.com or Ebay.com. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The Tsing USB 3.0 External DVD RW Drive is supplied within cardboard retail style packaging that is wrapped in a grey courier style postage pouch. On the front of the box is a product image and on the back there is product information and instructions in both English and Chinese, although sadly there is little in the way of specifications for the actual DVD drive (a reason for which we shall get to shortly).
Inside the box the drive is wrapped in a clear plastic bag held in place on a clear chocolate box style plastic tray. Underneath the drive is a small instruction leaflet also in English and Chinese that sadly contains little more than what is found on the rear of the box.
There are no other accessories found within the box (the cable is hardwired to the caddy in case you are wondering), some may question why there is no emergency ejection tool and the reason is slightly complicated but again this will be answered shortly.
The drive measures 15mm x 147mm x 147mm at its greatest points and weighs 302g (including the cable obviously). As previously noted the USB cable is hardwired to the caddy and is non removable or replaceable and protrudes by 20cm excluding the connector and connector jacket (and yes, the cable is far too short, but such is the price of convenience).
Right this is where things get complicated, the packaging for this product is for an “ECD819-SU3 USB 3.0 Pop-up External DVD-RW Drive Enclosure” made by either Tian Shi Company Limited or Shenzhen E-Sun Electronic Co., Limited and the drive inside the enclosure is NOT something usually supplied with the enclosure.
The drive and the caddy are very much two separate entities and someone has purchased the caddy opened it up, installed the drive and then it has been repackaged which explains the lack of such accessories one would normally expect to find with such a product like an emergency ejection tool and also the lack of any specification information about the drive on both the packaging and instructions.
Now, given that the packaging and manual for the product are only for the enclosure you would hope there were instructions for opening up and installing a drive. Sadly, there are none and if I am honest, I can see no viable means of opening the caddy up. I suspect the white and black sections are secured together with plastic clips but hesitant attempts to prise the sections apart look like doing so might break it.
Now, while I am unable to remove the drive from the caddy to identify the drive, Windows Device Manager never lies and the drive inside is a HL-DT-ST GU90N believed to be of Dell origins.
The claimed speeds of this drive are as follows…
24X CD-ROM / 8X DVD-ROM / 24X CD-R / 24X CD-RW / 8X DVD-R / 8X DVD+R / 8X DVD+RW / 6X DVD-RW / 6X DVD+R9 / 6X DVD-R9 / 5X DVD-RAM
Unfortunately, something else that is evident is the fact that the optical drive inside the caddy is not a new drive. On the underside of the tray there is a metal plate and sliders, and these are notably marked.
Also noted on the underside of the drive tray is a sticker saying “Pass 13-5-16” which is not something I confess to ever having seen on a Dell optical drive before and to me the fact is this drive appears to be a refurb.
The caddy enclosure specifications are as follows…
- Colour: White & Black.
- Material: ABS Plastic.
- Connectivity: Sata I/II input (internal connection) / USB 3.0 output (used to connect drive to computer).
- Suitable for use with: 9.5mm internal or 12.7mm external drives.
- Operating voltage: 5v DC.
- Release date: 22/10/2015.
- Compatibility: Window XP, 8, 8.1, 20003, Vista, 7 as well as Linux and Mac systems. (I have only had opportunity to test with Windows 8.1 and 10 Pro, with which it is plug and play and works fine).
If I am honest, this test is completely pointless as will be the speed testing I will be conducting after this. The reason for this is given the drive inside is very likely a refurb the chances of you receiving a caddy with the same drive as I did is unlikely, not impossible, but unlikely.
Also, given that the drive is likely a refurb how much it has been used or how well it has been refurbished may affect the noise that it generates and even possibly the speed at which it works. Regardless, I will conduct these tests, just be aware that they are likely irrelevant.
To test the noise level of the drive a retail DVD movie was played using the drive and a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1″ tablet with a cheap app was used to test the sound level. The background noise level was 27/28dB and at a distance of 30cm from the drive a sound level of 37/38dB was detected (this is a good result).
It is worth noting that when first inserting a disc, during buffering and when ejecting a disc sound levels are much higher with the highest record sound level being 57dB. During playback, however the highest recorded was 38dB.
The first things to address is the product listings claims around USB 3.0 and USB 3.0 speeds. To me the seller is trying to oversell the product on the basis that the enclosure has a USB 3.0 interface.
Now if you were using the caddy with a hard drive the USB 3.0 interface would make a difference, and a significant one. However, when talking about an optical drive the difference in speeds obtained between a USB 2.0 or 3.0 interface is simply negligible, if any.
The reason is even at maximum speed even a 24x DVD drive barely reaches the upper limits of USB 2.0 transfer speeds. So the fact is, unless you install a Blu-Ray drive in this caddy the USB 3.0 interface will have very little if any benefit compared to if it were USB 2.0.
For the purposes of this test OptiDrive Control 1.70 was used along with a fresh Staples branded 16x DVD-R disc. A test disc was created transferring 4.38GB of data to the disc, the transfer took 10m45s and during this time the slowest transfer speed recorded was 3.44x, the highest was 8.18x. The average CPU usage of an Intel i3 4005u during this test was 26% and the peak was 51%.
Some additional interesting information found about the drive from within the program is that the firmware version of the drive is 1.0 with a date of 26th June 2013. While it’s not a new drive at least it’s not antiquated.
Not a great deal to comment on here, the manufacturer of the caddy / enclosure claims it to be made from ABS plastic. It’s actually made from two separate pieces of plastic with a white brushed effect plastic on the top with a satin finish that varies in thickness between 2.25mm and 1.65mm.
The underside is made from very finely textured black plastic with a thickness that is entirely unknown. Also on the underside there are four 8.6mm diameter non slip pads that are glued on and there is also the hardwired USB 3.0 cable hold in place in a U shaped recessed channel.
Unfortunately, this recess is too short (or the cable is too long if you prefer) and as a result the cable will protrude, or stick out from the recess at some point (most often at the U bend or near the connector). Also the recess for the actual USB connector is also slightly too small resulting in the tip of the connector slightly sticking out.
The noise and speed of the drive has been previously noted, but there is one additional point of note. When trying to close the drive the top of the bezel appears to catch the top of the caddy and closing the drive can sometimes (more often than not) take several attempts.
I suppose now is as good a time as any to make a confession, the fact is I knew exactly what this product was before I agreed to review it. This is the third optical drive that I have reviewed that is supplied in a ECD819-SU3 enclosure (albeit each from a different seller) and each and every one is the same, a new enclosure and an old or refurbished drive.
The last one I reviewed sold by a company called Ammiy had an 8 year old Sony Optiarc AD-7560S that barely managed 4x burn speeds. Reviewing freebies isn’t (at least for those of us who take it seriously) about greed, I neither want nor need this drive, but I knew what it was and I wanted to warn potential buyers what they were in for.
So the caddy is a new product and has a wholesale price of £9.28 (this isn’t representative of a retail price however). The GU90N drive is worth about £35 new and about £10 to £13 used/refurbed (I think it’s fair to say who ever bought and installed the drives in these caddies probably paid a lot less for a bulk mixed batch) which means the asking price for the Tsing USB 3.0 External DVD-RW Drive is about right and as the product is Fulfilled by Amazon you also have an effective 1 year warranty with Amazon as you are buying it from them and not the actual seller.
The problem is (other than the seller not being entirely honest about trying to palm off used goods as new) that you have no assurance as to what drive you will actually receive nor as to its overall quality and condition, it could be a 6 month old cream of the crop drive or an 8 year old antique. As such the question is why would you take the risk when you can buy a brand new drive & enclosure for similar money, such as the LiteOn EBAU108, Samsung External DVD Writer or Transcend Extra Slim Portable DVD Writer.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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