TDK dual-layer DVD drive DVW-A160416DL £700

30th Jun 2005 | 23:00

TDK dual-layer DVD drive DVW-A160416DL

With TDK's latest drive you might burn your fingers as well

TDK has joined the dual-layer party with the DVW-A160416DL , its first dual-layer drive. Yet we've seen this drive somewhere before: TDK has used NEC technology for this drive. Now, you might think that because NEC has its own dual-layer products, TDK would have been competitive with that drive on price.

It would also have included a plethora of extras just to make absolutely sure that it won hearts over and above its same-tech competitor. But no, it isn't and it hasn't. There's no cable. There's no audio cable. Instead, you get an 'emergency eject pin'. They might as well have included a paper clip. Oh, hang on - it's the same thing. You do get mounting screws though, so we suppose that's something of a giveaway...

So, after such blatant mediocrity, it's a relief that in terms of performance, 4x dual-layer speed is excellent. Well, what we mean is, it's still not fast enough, but it's as good as anything else you'll find out there.

That's a pretty good summary of this drive. It's excellent in terms of its speeds. 16x for DVD R and DVD-R is thoroughly decent, too. The 48x speed for CD-R may not be pushing the boundary of the speeds available, but it's a solid performance for a multiformat drive. It won't be too long before we start seeing better dual-layer write speeds, either. At the moment 4x is just not quite fast enough, even if the laser is effectively burning two discs with a phenomenal amount of data.

The supplied software comes in the predictable form of various tools under the Nero umbrella: NeroExpress 6, NeroVision Express 2, Nero BackItUp, Nero Recode and Nero ShowTime. This is quite an impressive suite.

Yet despite the obvious lure of the software and the emergency eject pin, the price is too high: it's £20 more than most dual-layer options. Yes, we know that we mentioned the cost earlier, but we feel the need to run it past you again.

TDK just hasn't got the pricing right on this drive. Yes, it gives great performance, but there are cheaper options available. Not least several with very similar specifications. Take time to shop around. Dan Grabham

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