Samsung SH-S182M/RSMN review

£18
Price when reviewed

Like most quoted ratings, 18x refers to the top burning speed of a drive, hence the slightly lower scores in the table below. But the theory goes that a higher top speed should yield a higher average write speed.

We tested using the fastest-rated media that Verbatim had to offer and used Nero SmartSuite’s Test Drive tool to obtain an average speed. Test Drive is a real-world benchmark that writes data to a disc, so it’s ideal. As well as all-out speed, we consider the contents of the box – for example, optional fascias and authoring software – when giving final scores. Plus, we’ve factored in whether a drive is available in different colours.

With the rules thus set, the Asus DRW-1612BL was always going to perform badly. It isn’t especially fast, with DVDR tests in the low 11x range and DVDR DL (dual-layer) tests just shy of 4x. DVDRW tests were again middling. The bundle of extras is interesting, if odd: you get two LightScribe CDs, Nero OEM Suite 2 (with Nero Express 6) and a CD wallet, but no replacement fascias. If your case isn’t beige, you’d better look elsewhere.

You might be tempted by the Samsung SH-S182M/RSMN, which has black, silver and beige faceplates. It also has Nero OEM Suite 2 in the box and a parallel cable. But it’s the drive itself that’s the problem. It’s feebly slow at DVD-R DL and is average at almost everything else bar DVD+Rs: it’s a drive that dictates the media you should use, which we dislike. The Samsung and the Asus drives are the only two in the test to feature LightScribe.

The LG GSA-H22N we reviewed is an OEM drive, meaning you don’t get any frills, such as manuals or media. What you do get is a drive that’s very fast at burning DVDRs and adequately fast with other discs. We weighted the speed tests more towards the dual-format and double-layer discs, but if you’ll be burning only DVDRs this is a better choice than the Lite-On. However, it will look out of place in black cases, as it’s only available in beige and silver.

The Pioneer DVR-111 storms through DVDR DLs at over 7x. It’s no slouch with DVDRWs either, while DVDR performance is adequate. As an OEM drive, it’s cheap, but there’s no Nero Essentials 7, and there are only beige and silver versions.

Which brings us to “the fastest DVD drive in the world”, to quote Lite-On marketing, which proved not to be so. However, the Lite-On Super AllWrite LH-20A1P is fast at DVDRs and fairly speedy at DVDRWs – it just can’t match the Pioneer for DVDR DL speed. What makes it a winner is the beige, silver and black fascias, plus Nero Essentials 7 (including Nero Express 7). At only £21, it’s a steal.

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