Blues singer Howlin' Wolf once sang that he was built for comfort, not for speed. The same could apply to ILY Enterprise's new SlimDVDUp standalone duplicator, but while the Wolf was bragging about how big he was—six feet tall and more than 300 pounds—the SlimDVDup's comfort comes from how small it is.
The actual dimensions are 6"x7"x1.5", but most of that height applies only to the back of the unit, where ILY has ingeniously packed the controller hardware and LCD display. The controls themselves are minimal—"yes" and "no" and an up-and-down arrow button— but that's all you need to set recording speed for both DVD and CD copying.
Recording speed, unfortunately, is where the SlimDVDup comes up short. At only 4X DVD and 16X CD, it's not going to break any speed records. Nonetheless, the ability to copy a full-length 4.7GB DVD in 15 minutes and a 700MB CD in 5 is respectable enough, given the unit's size, that it shouldn't be a deterrent to anyone who needs to make copies in the field and doesn't want to lug around a 20-pound behemoth.
In our tests, the duplicator achieved those speeds consistently and the disc output was reliable; not a single dud over the course of two dozen DVDs and twice as many CDs.
Like most of its larger peers, the SlimDVDup also offers PC connectivity via USB 2.0 and allows track-at-once recording to make audio CDs from different sources. It also features a 1/8" audio output jack for playback through headphones or powered speakers. That's just gravy, and not very tasty gravy at that. Small as it is, it still takes up more space and weighs more than a personal CD player.
But that's not why you'd buy the SlimDVDup anyway, is it? If anything's going to be a real deterrent to potential pur-chasers, it's the rather hefty $699 list price. The payoff comes not in the recording speed but in the convenience of having a DVD duplicator that you can take almost anywhere.
System requirements for PC-connected use: PC running Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP or Macintosh running OS X 10.1.2 or later; USB 2.0.