At first glance, the Iomega ZipCD USB is a stylish CD-RW drive, that should end any user’s data-storage drought. Unless you’re a Macintosh user, that is, with Iomega leaving the Mac platform to ride a distinct second-class. Poor software, lacklustre documentation and Mac support plagues what could have been a welcome addition to Iomega’s storage family.
To get burning, you’ll need to install the Iomega software, plug in the drive – ideally directly into the USB port on the Mac – restart, and get ready to create a CD. The ZipCD takes CD-R and CD-RW discs, the main difference being that CD-R is a write-once media – once the disc is full, you can’t erase files and re-burn the disc, unlike CD-RW. The drive also sports a 4x record speed for both CD-R and CD-RW, and 6x playback speed – although when connecting through a USB hub, you’ll need to drop the speed to 2x for reliable recording.
Aside from slow recording speeds, the biggest glitch in Iomega’s ZipCD is the software. While the install CD intro is packed with interactive presentations covering CD burning, all backed with a jolly jazz melody, the actual software is naff – a very light version of Adaptec Toast that offers just crumbs.
This version of Toast doesn’t allow for ISO 9660 (a cross-platform CD format), video CDs, CD-I (CD-Interactive) and the like. If you need to share you files with Windows users, you’re out of luck. Not only that, but the Windows software is way better, with the ability to mount a CD-RW like a hard drive on the desktop, and drop files onto it. Plus, it includes the superior Easy CD Creator.
It doesn’t stop there. I couldn’t, for the life of me, get an audio CD to playback from the ZipCD, although I could mount it. And the technical information – both included with the drive and on Iomega’s Web site – is Windows biased.
There’s lots wrong with the ZipCD, and most of it is through the simple fact of being a Macintosh user. A flimsy CD tray doesn’t help matters, and there are simply better and cheaper CD burners with USB support on the market.