LG GSA-4165B review
The LG is the only drive this month to support the increasingly rare DVD-RAM format, and for this reason alone it will appeal to many consumers and businesses. DVD-RAM uses hard disk-like recording methods to store data and is extremely robust, allowing discs to be written and overwritten up to 100,000 times, as opposed to the 1,000 of the other formats.
It hasn’t really taken off in the mainstream market and discs are still expensive compared with other media of the same 4.7GB capacity, but it’s very useful if you do a lot of archiving and require a long lifespan for your data. Error correction is superior to standard rewritable discs as well. One downside is that the discs burn slowly, demonstrated by our 2x test result (which translates to about 50 minutes per disc), even though it claims to support 5x recording.
In other areas, the LG is solid without being spectacular. CD times were a highlight, with three minutes, 13 seconds in the CD-RW test topping the class, and it did pretty well with our recordable DVDs. It slipped up in our rewritable tests and managed only a disappointing 2.4x when burning dual-layer, despite its claim of 4x. Like many of the drives, it favoured one brand of media over another, this time Memorex being the only successfully completed dual-layer disc.
No accessories are provided, but the bundled software is surprisingly generous given the price. Nero Express handles your burning, CyberLink PowerProducer Gold is a good editing suite and PowerDVD will play your films; so long as you don’t need backup or any other utilities, you’ll be fine. The drive is also shorter than the standard length, so it won’t take up too much space in your case.
Looking to the future, both dual-layer formats are supported and DVD+RW burning will eventually rise to 8x. Its DVD+R dual-layer speed of 4x may be left behind, but it’s adequate for now and is less of an issue, as you’re likely to buy this drive primarily for the DVD-RAM feature over anything else.
It performs pretty well, is the only drive to be truly multiformat and can be yours for an incredible £31 including VAT. At this price, it’s easy to overlook its weak areas and focus on the positives. Only the superior speeds of the Lite-On and Plextor stop it from grabbing an award this month.