Editor's Choice: Kenwood UCR-21
Although Kenwood's highly touted 72X unit failed our CD-RW compatibility test, that was about the only weakness we could find. On the other hand, it trounced the competition in the disc and file copy tests as well as the DAE tests, and kept up admirably in the heavily access time-weighted CD-ROM Winmark despite clocking in over 33ms slower than the 48X Toshiba, our current access time leader. For those who may shy away from the Kenwood's relatively high sticker price (or the CD-RW issues), Creative's 52X unit does deserve an honorable mention. Very speedy in its own right, the CD5230E gives up quite a bit to the Kenwood in DAE speed and noise levels, but nearly makes up for it in CD-RW compatibility and read performance. While the Kenwood has the better "traditional" CD-ROM performance, Creative gets the nod as the more well-rounded performer. A final mention should go to the Delta unit for its bang-for-buck prominence. Barely-acceptable DAE and CD-RW performance kept it out of contention, but for those whose needs do not lie there, the Delta is a steal at only forty bucks.
See also: SCSI CD-ROM Roundup