Computers / Hands-on Review

Aleratec Blu-ray Duplicators and Other Alluring New Products


DVD burners have been the standard optical drives found in most new computers for years now. Blu-ray burners have been around for a while too, but only recently have they begun to displace DVD burners. Blu-ray drives are now quite affordable and they’re backward compatible with DVDs and CDs. And Blu-ray discs can hold 25GB per layer—more than five times the capacity of DVDs. Dual-layer Blu-ray discs can hold 50GB! Even Blu-ray duplicators are now quite affordable. Here's a look at some of Aleratec’s latest duplicators.

The drives used in Aleratec’s Blu-ray duplicators can write to single- and dual-layer BD-R media at 12x and 8x, respectively. And they can write to re-writeable single- and dual-layer BD-RE media at 2x speed. They can write to single- and dual-layer DVD±R media at 16x and 8x, respectively. And they can write to DVD-RAM discs at 12x, DVD+RW at 8x and DVD-RW at 6x. They can also write to CD-R at 48x and CD-RW at 24x. No matter what type of optical discs you want to use, Aleratec’s Blu-ray duplicators can handle them. The drives also feature LightScribe technology, which lets you burn professional-looking labels onto the top surface of LightScribe-printable blank media. LightScribe labels look a lot more professional than labels written by hand using a permanent marker.

All of the Blu-ray duplicators come with Aleratec's Disc Publishing Suite, a software bundle that makes it easy to burn and copy discs containing music, photos, videos, data and mixed media. The software also lets you use the LightScribe technology to burn labels on special LightScribe-printable blank media.

To top everything off, all of the Aleratec Blu-ray duplicators feature a USB 3.0 interface, which enables faster throughput and lets you burn more discs in less time. USB 3.0 is backward-compatible with USB 2.0 so you can connect these Blu-ray duplicators to just about any computer. But you’ll get the best performance possible through a USB 3.0 interface. The duplicators are compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Now that we’ve covered the features contained in all of the Aleratec Blu-ray duplicators, all that’s left to discuss is the differences between each model. So, here we go.

Aleratec Blu-ray Duplicators

The Aleratec 1:4 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Tower Publisher HLS Duplicator contains four Blu-ray burners and can burn up to four discs at once from content stored on the computer.

The Aleratec 1:3 Blu-ray/DVD/CD LightScribe Duplicator SA contains three Blu-ray burners, one read-only Blu-ray drive and a removable 1TB hard drive. It can burn up to three discs at once from content stored on the computer. Or you can copy files and disc images to the duplicator’s hard drive and then burn up to three discs at once without needing to be connected to a computer. You can leave frequently used disc images on the hard drive and access them quickly whenever you need them. The separate read-only Blu-ray drive lets you make disc-to-disc copies on the fly.

The Aleratec 1:7 Blu-ray/DVD/CD Tower LightScribe Publisher SLS contains seven Blu-ray/LightScribe burners, one read-only Blu-ray drive and a removable 1TB hard drive. This unit can burn up to seven discs at once, make disc-to-disc copies on the fly and make discs directly from the hard drive without needing a connection to a computer.

The Aleratec 1:15 Blu-ray/DVD/CD Tower Publisher SLS Duplicator contains 15 Blu-ray burners, one read-only Blu-ray drive and a removable 1TB hard drive. This unit can burn up to 15 discs at once, make disc-to-disc copies on the fly and make discs directly from the hard drive without needing a connection to a computer.

Aleratec 1:10 Thumb Drive Duplicator

Aleratec makes many different devices designed to make copies of stuff, as long as it’s not sheets of paper. USB thumb drives have become so inexpensive that people now distribute software, images and even video on them. The Aleratec 1:10 USB Copy Cruiser Mini Thumb Drive Duplicator makes it a snap to duplicate the contents of one thumb drive onto as many as 10 additional thumb drives.

The thumb drive duplicator contains one slot for a master drive and 10 slots for cloning, and it connects to a computer via USB. Aleratec's USB Duplication Software Suite then guides you through the process of cloning thumb drives in a streamlined way. You can choose to format, copy, or format and copy the contents of a master drive onto all of the blank drives at once. You can select the number of copies you want to make, and the device will confirm the integrity of the copies once the cloning is completed.

Aleratec 1:5 HDD Copy Cruiser

When you’re putting together a new computer, or reformatting an old one, installing all the software and drivers and tweaking the system to perfection can take hours. Fortunately, when you’re building multiple identical systems, you only have to do all that work once. That is, if you have a hard-drive duplicator.

The Aleratec 1:5 HDD Copy Cruiser IDE/SATA Hard Disk Duplicator can create five clones of a master hard drive simultaneously. It performs a sector-by-sector copy from a single master disk to as many as five additional disks. The drives don’t have to be new, and any existing data can be erased during the process. It doesn’t matter what brand the drives are, the operating system or what’s on them, as the partition and boot sector information is copied right along with the data. The device is also compatible with IDE and SATA hard drives, and any combination of IDE and SATA drives can be handled simultaneously.

The HDD Copy Cruiser has slots that accommodate 3.5-inch IDE drives and 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch SATA I and II hard drives. The slots will support 2.5-inch IDE drives using an optional adapter. The unit works as a stand-alone device, so you don’t have to connect it to a computer.

Not only can the HDD Copy Cruiser make copies of hard drives, it can also securely wipe all the data from up to six hard disk drives at once. You can choose a quick one-pass wipe, a three-pass wipe with verification or a thorough seven-pass wipe as recommended by the Department of Defense. Any combination of IDE and SATA drives can be sanitized at once. The HDD Copy Cruiser also offers Secure Erase, a technique that’s accepted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is up to 60% faster than a one-pass overwrite and up to 90% faster than a 7-pass overwrite. Any IT department or computer factory should invest in one of these units if they haven’t done so already.

Aleratec High-Speed Flexible USB Hub

USB hubs are usually just small box-like appliances with one input and multiple outputs. That design requires that you find a place for the box and then run USB cables to each peripheral you want to connect. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone made a USB hub that was more like a splitter cable with no box? Well, it is nice, because Aleratec makes exactly that. The Aleratec High-Speed Flexible USB 2.0 4-Port Hub with Splitter Cable expands a single USB port to 4.

The main cable connects to your computer's USB port and four separate cables extend from it. The end of each cable features a USB 2.0 port, allowing you to bring the port close to where it needs to be. The plug-and-play USB hub is ideal for connecting peripherals such as a mouse, DVD-ROM drive or portable hard drive.

Aleratec Shredder Lubricant Sheets

Last but not the least of Aleratec’s new products is a pack of 12 sheets of Aleratec Shredder Lubricant Sheets. The sheets are made from sugar cane pulp, vegetable oil and recycled paper. All you have to do is feed one through your shredder every so often, and the blades will be kept in a splendid state of lubricity, while maintaining optimal shred-ability and preventing paper jams. If you’ve ever had to unjam a paper shredder you know that you don’t want to go there ever again. If your shredder isn’t the shredder it once was, consider investing in these sheets of lubricated paper.