Notes of my purchase experience with ASUS slim DVD-RW reader SDRW-08D2S-U

How do you feel when you purchase a tech product from a respected brand and it feels sketchy and you figure out, after receiving the desired piece of hardware that it doesn’t fit at all.

What got me even more disappointed is the fact I went through product reviews, read tech specs, shopped around for other products and decided to give a chance.

Before getting in the depth of the topic; I’d like to apologize for the tone of this message. My “gage of good will” (ref: Steve Krug ) is very low and I hope this gets somewhere so it can become an incentive to improve the site and product support medias.

NOTE I have (some) theoretical knowledge about User-Interaction design due to my numerous conversations on the topic with relatives and professional contacts who are in the field of software ergonomics. Its in the spirit to remove pain-points that i’m outlining them. Since I spent some time writing this essay, i decided to also share it on my site.

0. The product

img My original expectation wasn’t very big. I wanted a lightweight, small DVD recorder for my backups. You know, to store files you do not need often. I also wanted to encode what I’m burning on disc so if I ever have to let go of the disc, i can be reassured that the data is not accessible without cracking it.

So, what I was expecting:

  • Small
  • USB2 powered (only one cable)
  • Lightweight

My purchase was then a ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U

And supporting encryption got me close the deal. Sadly, ASUS didn’t do anything for Mac OS users.

The following are problems separated by scenarios I went through while getting acquainted with my new purchase.

1. Product registration

During product registration, it FORCED me to fill ALL fields, including my date of birth. If I do not want to give my underwear size besides my full name and region of the world I am at.

NOTE: After going to account, I could add what I wanted to disclose.

2. Searching for drivers

It says supports Mac OS right? After whipping the CD in my CD-Drive-less MacBook Pro I expected to see some (hopefully bloatware free) software to burn CDs and enjoy the CD crypto offering (more on this later). I found nothing.

I know Mac OS and the underlying BSD architecture has us no need to install any drivers. But since the package said it supported and provided software, I thought I could see if I install them. But found none.

After this, i went the asus.com. Its nice looking, marketing flash Pizzazzz. But not useful.

Its only after 10 minutes searching the site, only finding how to compare another product to buy and cannot find appropriate way to navigate to product, downloads/drivers. I got only promotional navigation. This makes the human who purchased something frustrated.

The funny thing is that I had to use a search engine that is NOT from asus.com (in useful results, again). Found plenty of other places to buy and then I found that page where I made this comment by using the comment form at the bottom.

The fact that the page had no images made me think of two things; one more detail that makes it look sketchy, and that maybe the page has outdated information and therefore would not apply to my case.

3. Disc Encryption

Now that I spent some more time explaining all this, I am very disappointed by the product because it sells crypto, but I guess only under Windows. My last resort will be to create MacOS native encoded DMG files, then burn them. No thanks to ASUS. :(

5. Y-shaped USB

Really?

That’s a first time. I understand the electrical needs and the fact that many laptop USB outlets doesn’t always feed with enough voltage/amps. I was surprised.

I saw NO reviews about this.

6. Reading the manual

img I saw NO reviews about this. The interesting part is that, unlike most people, I actually read the manual and it was a pain to figure out which boxes was in my own language.

It was basically me skipping each boxes, in case it was in either french or english. Just to realize after flipping the full “map” around that I just needed to plug the cable.

Good manuals doesn’t require long text. Have a look at how IKEA deals with multi-lingual instructions.

4. Conclusion

Needless to say that i’m disappointed by the purchase. But in the end, I have a not too big/clumsy, device that I can use to read and burn DVDs.

I really hope that ASUS gears toward improving their software products.

Image credits:
* IKEA instructions, by Mike Sacks
* Product picture is promotional material from ASUS website.