Sony DRX-800UL review
For those who like to put their peripherals on display, the Sony is head and beautifully curved shoulders above the rest on the catwalk. With its silver finish and front door, it wouldn’t embarrass itself next to your hi-fi, and this alone may be enough to convince the fashion-conscious to shell out the relatively high price.
But under that sleek shell you’ll find a fantastic machine that more than stands up to the challenge of its internal rivals. Its single-layer DVD performance is bettered only by our award-winning Samsung and Lite-On drives, so it’s in distinguished company. Clearly at its strongest when burning rewritables, it topped the table with a DVD+RW time of just under 14 minutes and burned the DVD-RW at over 6x, which places it among the elite there too.
In both DVD+R and -R tests, it kept pace with the leaders without ever really excelling. However, it was consistent, unlike several drives that favoured one format over the other. CD-R posed no problem, but it handled rewritable CDs with less enthusiasm, this being its only real weak point. Its dual-layer performance was good, with a time of almost 27 minutes putting it safely among the pack chasing the Plextor.
It can be connected to a PC or notebook via USB 2 or FireWire (dubbed i.Link by Sony), and the stand allows it to be used vertically, which really emphasises the rounded styling. Like the Samsung, it has an off switch, allowing you to power it down when not in use.
The Sony can gloat over many of its rivals, as it comes bundled with the full Nero Burning ROM software, which allows you to bypass the simplified Express interface to tweak more advanced settings. VisionExpress and Media Player complete the Nero suite. With an eye to the future, both dual-layer formats are supported at 4x and it will be capable of burning DVD+RW discs at 8x when they become available.
It was an extremely close fight between the Samsung and Sony this month. The Samsung was faster overall, but not by a huge amount, and both are very good-looking units, with the Sony arguably having the slight edge. It missed out on an award only by the narrowest of margins, so if you like your peripherals smooth and sleek this is a great alternative to the Samsung.