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Apple Macbook Air Superdrive - MC684ZM/A
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- It connects to your MacBook Air with a single USB cable that's built into the SuperDrive.
- Play and burn both CDs and DVDs with the MacBook Air SuperDrive.
- Slips easily into your travel bag when you hit the road and takes up little space on your desk or tray table when you're working.
- Dimensions - 5.47 x 5.47 x 0.67 inches; 139 x 139 x 17 mm
- Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
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Compact and convenient, the MacBook Air SuperDrive connects to your MacBook Air computer or Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server with a single USB cable and fits easily into a travel bag. It lets you install software and play and burn both CDs and DVDs, including double-layer DVDs. Weight - 0.71 pounds; 320 grams .
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I purchased this drive because I have a newer model Mac Mini without an optical drive AND I have a Netbook that needed WinXP to be reinstalled. So I figured why not buy that sexy companion drive for the Mac Mini and just use it to install XP on that netbook...
First thing first -- this drive will only work with the newer Mac Mini (2011) without an optical drive and/or the Macbook Air (MBA). It does not work with other Mac's or with PC's. That's what really leaves me scratching my head, I understand the Apple philosophy, but really? Why limit the use to only two devices? I have multiple Macs and I can't even use it with those?
Next -- The connection cable is hardwired into the back of the drive and is really short. Using it with my Mac Mini is not a problem since its position is static and the wire is long enough, but other makers of portable drives use a standard mini USB connector so you can use any length of cable you want. I can see that short cord being an issue with the MBA. Also, if the cord gets any abuse and for some reason quits working, you cannot replace it.
The device seems to be well made, and works quite nicely with the Mac Mini, but it is on the expensive side for a combo or "super drive" and its limitations seem to negate its usefulness. One of the features I like about it for the Mac Mini is the ability to eject the disks with the wireless keyboard, it's a nicety but not essential.
I wound up having to buy an inexpensive combo drive for that XP install anyway -- on top of $80 for this super drive. I have decided to keep the drive just for the Mac Mini to install software and watch DVD movies, it does complement the Mac Mini quite well in aesthetics, but if I had it to do over again I would just buy an inexpensive combo drive from another reputable maker.
If you have the right equipment and simply have to have an Apple product in this category, this is the one - and only one to get. Otherwise there are better inexpensive options out there.
I must admit, that the drive looks nice; it goes perfectly with the MacBook Air or the new Mini Mac, unfortunately, looks are not everything! The only problem I have with this product is that it WILL NOT WORK OUT OF THE BOX; contrary to what Apple's products are designed to do. You may ask why? Simply put, the drive will scratch your discs from day one; and this is the only noticeable thing that happens when the product is taken right out of the box!!!! I have tried several drives and ALL of them scratched my discs, and this happened from day one!
I must stress that the disc scratching is not a problem that develops over time, it's a problem that will commences upon first using the drive. You just need to pay close attention, not just insert and eject the discs and forget about it. You must first inspect the discs prior being inserted into the drive, and then inspect them after you eject them from the drive. You will see a big difference! What went in is not the same thing that came out!
A quick review on the Internet will show that Apples' drives had the same problem as far back as mid 2006. I believe there's a design flaw, which Apple knows of its existence but refuses to acknowledge or correct it.
It's cheaper to leave it as-is, than modify the design to correct the defect. It's all about what's the cheapest course of action. They hope that most people will not notice that their discs are being scratched and if they do, they would think that the drive was damaged in the course of normal use and have apple repair it or buy a new one. If the item is out of warranty, then the choices are: pay for the repair or buy a new one.
They do know about this defect; because when your finally notice that your discs are being scratched and take your drive to be repaired, miraculously, it always gets repaired or replaced with a "good drive". Those "good drives" are probably the ones that were pulled out as defective, that subsequently got repaired in order to have parts to perpetuate the cycle. The drives should work from day one. It's illogical to have a new drive repaired!
Also, according to my research, this defect holds true for all the drives used by Apple; either embedded in any MAC or an external drive, such as the one being reviewed. All Apple's disc drives do suffer the same problem. It is disturbing to buy a Mac Book Pro or an iMac and immediately have it returned or repaired, because it will scratch your cd's/dvd's.
Once more, do not take my word for it. Do the test, it's quite simple; prior inserting your disc inside the drive, inspected the disc, then insert it in the drive, take it out and re-inspect it. Most likely, you will see scratches that look like claw scratches on your discs. They could be found close to the hole on the CD or in the middle. You will notice that it's not the circular scratches that would indicate that the disc was rotating when the scratches occurred. In order to get scratched, they just need to be inserted and ejected; the discs do not need to be accessed.
It is not clear if they get scratched either when inserted or ejected. However, the fact still remains; this drive when pulled out of the box and connected to the computer (or if the drive is embedded to the computer), when discs are inserted and ejected for the first time and subsequently, the discs do get scratched!
A short USB cable or if the cable is attached to the drive or if there is no eject button or that the drive eats the discs and it takes a miracle to get them out; are the least of your problems!
I do not know if Apple realizes that they are killing their own products, but by the looks of this situation they are committing suicide. This defect goes to the core of things. It becomes an issue of trust. How can you trust a product that has defects that has not been solved yet? What are the chances of getting a computer that has a disc drive that actually works as it's suppose to? How many times do you need to return it in order to get one that works correctly? Is the product as good as it should be? Why get a product that it's new and probably needs to be repaired on day one?
I tried three (3) different drives, same result. My discs were ruined and two of the disc drives were immediately exchanged, Finally, I did realize that expecting to get a good drive was an exercise in futility, gave up, returned the third one and got my money back.
I was puzzled what are the chances that three out of three disc drives do have problems? Do they have a problem of quality control or lack of? Or the product has a known defect that they chosed to ignore. In order to get answers, I decided to call Apple's Customer Service. They were very courteous and informed me that they never heard of such thing as a bad disc drive! It was they first time they encountered the issue and thank me for reporting it, and further stated that they will investigate... However, if you do a quick search on the Internet, using "SuperDrive and Scratches", you will get amazing results. Especially, if you read the comments that users write at Apple's site!!! The non-existent defect actually is an existent defect. It appears that they do not or do they read the comments on their own site or choose to ignore them. Unfortunately this goes against brand/product credibility, and makes you wonder how can they maintain their sales??? Ignorance is a blessing!!