Product Review: HP 7200i CD Writer

In short: Buy another brand.

This model isn't made anymore, which is a good thing. My experience with it was so frustrating that I'm not going to buy a Hewlett-Packard CD writer again.

The problems began with installation. It took several hours of effort to find an IDE cable, connector, and master/slave configuration that worked. When I later tried moving it to a new system, I gave up in disgust.

After the hardware and software installation was done, I had to spend a fair amount of time deleting automatically installed software I didn't want. Use of the CD writer was easy, and it worked just fine for just about a year. Then it went sour.

In short, the CD writer stopped writing. I didn't realize what was going on, since the error message it gave wasn't related to writing. Several hours after I began trying to write a CD, I gave up. After literally hours on the phone with HP's tech support, including jumping through some hoops out of pure desperation on tech support's part, they decided to replace the unit. It didn't matter a whole lot to me, since my system died the next morning. I still haven't installed the replacement.

I wouldn't be so down on this unit if this had happened to me alone. Yet the exact same story occurred to two of my friends: They bought an HP 7200i. It worked for just about a year. It died.

Did I mention that the warranty lasts exactly one year? HP couldn't have planned it better if they tried. Of the three people I know with this drive, all experienced failure just as the warranty ended. I got lucky; mine was still covered. The others weren't so fortunate, and now have expensive door stops.

Maybe it's chance. Could be. But I don't trust a drive that fails after a year. And now I don't trust HP's CD writers.

Postscript. In case you're wondering, the replacement drive HP sent wouldn't install in my new computer. I gave the darn thing away, and am happily using a different brand of CD writer. My goal now is to forget the darn thing ever existed. Considering that HP has already had a class action suit filed against it for the shoddy quality of an earlier series of CD writers, I bet I'm not alone.

Thanks to those who sent advice, but I don't need it. The HP drive is history.

Last updated 6 August 2000
All contents ©1999-2002 Mark L. Irons