Microboards Technology Gemini test and review

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Microboards Technology Gemini

Although not cheap, the Gemini's claimed ability to produce 99 DVD copies unattended could appeal to a lot of professional videographers

Despite being priced at over £1,800, Microboards' Gemini automated DVD duplicator looks like it might be an interesting proposition. The attraction isn't speed - it only has two DVD burners and each is rated at just 4x - but the fact that it's said to produce up to 99 disc copies unattended, and doesn't need to be connected to a computer.
In appearance, the Gemini could be taken for a cross between a mini-tower PC and an espresso machine. Thankfully, it creates less of a din than it's steam-driven likeness, though it does make rather more noise than a typical PC. As is the norm, it can copy only General Use DVDs (maximum capacity 4.7GByte) so can't handle copy-protected discs. Apart from the eject buttons on the DVD drives, there are just two controls on the machine - power on/off and a single button for controlling operations, which is accompanied by two indicator LEDs (one green and one yellow). There's only one cable to connect - a standard kettle power lead.
A single press of the control button starts copying, but the button can activate two other modes - copy-test (by pressing it five times) and firmware upgrade (by holding it down for five seconds). The power button is black, like the case of the machine, and hidden somewhat by its positioning near the base. An all-too-brief (two-page) manual is provided in printed form and as a PDF file on CD that also contains an old version of Adobe Acrobat reader (V4.05).

Given that the Gemini has a price-tag close to £2,000 and is able to handle 100 discs at a time, it's unforgivable that the disc-catching mechanism fails so miserably. We're certain that the maker could easily solve the problem, but are unsure when it will do so. Until that's known, we'd advise readers to steer well clear - unless willing to cobble together a 100-disc catcher of their own devising.

Yianni Kyriacou

Read the full review in September 2004's Computer Video magazine.


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