Review: Lite-On iHAS524


Lite-On is pretty well known for their CD/DVD drives, though the technology has not evolved a whole lot in recent years the features added to the drives continue to pile up. The iHAS524 is no exception to that, the list of features on this drive is fairly long including:

  • Super AllWrite - the compatibility standard from Lite-On to offer the ability to read, write and re-write to any disc format on the market.
  • Smart-Burn - automatically adjusts writing strategy & running OPC to provide the best burning quality and avoid Buffer Underrun errors.
  • Smart-X - adjusts CD-DA/VCD/DVD data extraction to a fastest allowable speed according to both data request rate from host and disc quality.
  • ABS -  reduce vibration and noise during recording and reading.
  • LabelTag - fast and convenient way to label discs.

The drive supports DVD write speeds up to 24x and CD write speeds up to 48x assuming the media you are using can support the speed. But the highlight of the drive is the LabelTag technology, it is toted as a simple way to label the data side of your disc.

When creating a CD with LabelTag (only CD-Rs are supported) you are hit with a warning that once you make a disc with LabelTag it can't be copied, you have to save the data to your computer first. After that you are warned that LabelTag is going to close the disc. Lastly you are told that the limitations of the CD dye material any images you inserted will most likely look a bit different. 

Using the drive is no different than any other CD burner, though I was very surprised at how quiet it is. To use LabelTag you need to use the software that came with the drive, Nero 9 Essentials. The software was confusing as it had two different options to burn the CD, Nero Express Essentials and Nero SmartStart Essentials. If you use Nero SmartStart, which is the icon placed on the desktop by the installer, you're not given an option to create the LabelTag. You have to use Nero Express Essentials to get the check box to include a LabelTag on a CD which was a little disappointing, I shouldn't have had to search the the installed applications to find it. 

On the subject of LabelTag, I was pretty disappointed in how it turned out. It is almost impossible to see on the disc without holding the CD at just the right angle. I tried every different direction to get a picture of it, but I couldn't get anything worth posting, the screenshot below is what it would have looked like from the software's point of view and even it is a bit hard to read.  

 LabelTag screenshot 

Overall I thought the drive was great as a CD/DVD burner, it was speedy and quiet and considering it can be had for between $20 and $30 it's not a bad drive -- if you are buying it for the LabelTag though, you will find it doesn't quite live up to the hype. 

Best Price: Digital Living @ $24,81

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