LG GGW-H20L review
Blu-ray writers have been available for over a year now, but when we looked at them in issue 146 even the cheapest cost a stratospheric £407. Today, prices have plummeted, and an ever-expanding range of high-definition movies makes Blu-ray an increasingly attractive option.
The LG GGW-H20L manages to bridge the HD divide, offering both Blu-ray-writing and HD DVD-playback for just £165. It also outdoes its competitors in several ways. First, it can write to dual-layer BD-R discs. With current 2x media, it took an hour to half-fill a 50GB disc, but the drive is capable of 4x writing, so expect that to halve once high-speed discs are available. For single-layer BD-R discs, LG claims a 6x write speed, and we were able to fill a 25GB disc in 21mins 19secs. Writing to DVD was quicker than with Pioneer’s drives, the drive filling a DVD+R in just under six minutes and a DVD+RW in just over seven minutes. Writing to dual-layer discs took an unremarkable 27 minutes, though.
Of course, if you’re not building an HD-capable PC and aren’t planning to author your own HD discs, there’s little reason to choose any of these three drives. A dedicated DVD writer will write discs much faster for less than £20.
If you want to make cheap, fast data backups, DVD is still the format to beat. With even the cheapest write-once Blu-ray discs working out at around 45p a gigabyte, Blu-ray has a long way to go before it becomes a viable medium for anything other than HD video authoring.
If you’re building a media-centre PC or fancy watching HD movies on your TFT, however, LG’s GGW-H20L brings HD DVD and Blu-ray playback into the realms of affordability.