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The Tech Guy Is Amazed

Water Resistant Media Put To The Test

OK fans, the Tech Guy is pretty excited! OK, not as excited as the 1989 or 2003 National League playoffs, but still pretty excited. What I am talking about today is that rare occasion where my expectations are not only met, but also actually exceeded. I had the opportunity to test new water resistant inkjet printable CD and DVD media. Having such high expectations often leads to disappointment, but once in a blue moon there comes a product that raises the bar.

We covered the press release of these new types of media in a previous article, but now we are going to go over the specific details of my exhaustive testing, including the "two-week coaster test". So I put these discs to the test, for you my loyal readers. The questions I asked when I first heard about water resistant inkjet printable media: Will it really work? Will it need special printers or inks? Will each disc cost more than my lunch? How does the quality compare to the Dye-Sublimation alternatives?

Okay, so on to the testing. I printed on WaterShield and AquaGuard media with an Epson R340, Primera Bravo II, and Bravo SE. All three printers are inkjet printers. The Epson R340 is 6 color, the Bravo II is 4 color, and the Bravo SE is 3 color with process black. I compared the water resistant discs to our best selling line of inkjet printable CD and inkjet printable DVD media and right out of the printer you notice the difference. The WaterShield media looks much better because of its glossy finish. The AquaGuard discs have a satin look that is comparable to standard inkjet printable discs. I gave all the discs 4 hours to dry/cure. Then came the all-inclusive testing; first the sweaty thumb test. I slid a damp thumb over the standard disc, which creates a mess that can only be described as frustrating. Then the AquaGuard (have a matte finish), Holy plastic discs Batman, no smudging or smearing! Then the WaterShield, and again no smudging or smearing! Next was the running water test. Each disc was placed under a faucet of running water for a period of 5 minutes, first cold water then hot. Still these discs stood their ground. I was sure that the hot water test would prove their undoing, but again I was proven wrong. So okay, no more mister nice Tech Guy, I decided to pull out the big guns. I put the discs into near boiling water long enough for it to cool to room temperature, and all the while they were sloshed back and forth. Guess what, I can't freakin' believe my eyes, NO CHANGE! That's it, I am a believer. The results were great regardless of the printer used. These discs all lived up to the billing as water resistant, dare I say waterproof? I could only think of one more test, one I have dubbed the "two-week coaster test". I took each disc and used them as a coaster for my standard large frosty cold iced tea I always have on my desk. Each day various cups and glasses sweat condensation all over these discs. Wet, dry, wet, dry, plastic cups, paper cups, even cold aluminum cans. Like a cheap rental car I abused these discs day in and day out. Then I gave up, and became a believer.

In the final analysis I have some observations. The discs that I put through the boiling test did fade a bit and the WaterShield seemed to turn a little bluish, whereas the AquaGuard has very little if any color change. I could see some small bleeding, and I mean small, I had to use a loop to locate it, but in the effort to be honest and complete I do have to admit it is there. Now with all the abuse these discs took, holding them responsible for any defects is like trying to figure out which thumb hurts less when you hit it with a hammer. Nobody is going to go to that extreme in normal use and if they do they should still be happy with the results. It is my opinion that the WaterShield discs offer a glossy, photo-like sheen that makes my personal choice even though they faded a shade blue when boiled. The AquaGuard does however have a nice silk-like smooth feel. This is like choosing between a convertible 64 Mustang, or a convertible 66 Corvette, either one is going to turn some heads.

I would have to say that the water resistant performed outstandingly, even if I end up in Grammar Jail for using the word "outstandingly". Thermal Disc Printers, you are on notice. Inkjet CD and DVD disc printers have 2 new heroes and thy names are WaterShield and AquaGuard. Like a comic book crime fighting duo these discs fight the evils of smudging and smearing, and look to take a bite out of their more expensive, yet equally waterproof rivals, Dye-Sublimation Thermal Re-Transfer and Disc Laminator.