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Sony DRX 710ULT Dual Layer DVD Burner

Sony adds Macintosh looks, capability to new external burner By John Virata

Sony Electronics has been updating its DVD burners every six to eight months. The lastest offering from the consumer electronics giant is the DRX-710UL-T, a dual layer external drive that enables you to burn up to 8.5GB of data, or four hours of MPEG-2 video on a single dual layer (DL) DVD disc.

According to Sony, the device is capable of burning DVDs at up to 16X speed with 16X DVD+R media, and up to 2.4X speed using the DVD+R DL dual layer DVD media. While the speed updates are always welcome, the story with this drive is compatibility. Sony has mixed things up a bit by addressing Macintosh users, giving Mac users the capability to burn up to 8.5GB of data on DL media.

Yes the new DRX-710UL-T from Sony offers support for the Macintosh via Roxio's Toast 6 Lite for Macintosh. Within the scope of this review, we'll burn some discs on the DRX-710UL-T.

The Drive

The DRX-710UL-T matches well with the Power Mac G5
If there are two companies in this industry that have any sense of style, it is Sony and Apple. Both pay high regard to the design, form, and function of their products. In the case of the

Sony has made no exceptions. The external drive is a cool gray, almost gunmetal gray to match that of the Power Mac G5. It sits upright (on a clear stand) or horizontal (with the help of four clear rubber feet), and the whole device has a clear lacquer finished look to it. The rear of the unit houses the power switch, USB 2 port, and a pair of i.Link (FireWire) ports; a 4 pin and a six pin. There is no doubt that the designers of this drive had Apple's Power Mac G5 in mind when designing the DRX-710UL-T, and it shows. The DRX-710UL-T looks right at home sitting next to a POwer Mac G5.

On a Power Mac dual G5 test system, using Verbatim's new 16X DVD+R media and connected via USB 2.0, the DRX-710UL-T burned 4.2GB of data (images, video, and audio files) in approximately 10 minutes and 34 seconds. This was achieved via Roxio's Toast 6 Lite, which ships with the DRX-710UL-T. When burning 8GB of data using Verbatim's new 8.5GB DL DVD media , the drive clocked a time of 43 minutes and 33 seconds. These numbers are about on par with Sony's internal unit, which was reviewed here last fall by DMN's Charlie White.

Verbatim's DVD+R DL media costs around $25 in three packs.

A feature that sets most DVD burners apart are the software suites, and Sony has provided decent suites to go along with its new external DVD drive. The DRX-710UL-T ships with two suites of software. Windows users get Nero Burning ROM 6 SE, INCD 4 DVD packet writing software, Nero Vision Express 2 DVD video and Video CD authoring software, Nero  BackitUp back up software, and Nero Showtime DVD playback software. Macintosh users get to work with Toast 6 Lite DVD and CD recording software, one of the most popular media recording software on the Macintosh platform. Toast 6 Lite enables you to burn to a variety of CD and DVD discs. It is a good application to get started with DVD burning. It also offers an upgrade path to Toast 6 Titanium, which adds such features as support for more video formats including Super Video CD and Enhanced Audio CD, higher quality video encoding capabilities, more videos and slideshows per disc, automatic video transfer from camcorder to disc, and ToastAnywhere recorder sharing, giving other users on the network access to a DVD burner.

First Impressions

Sony's DRX-710UL-T is a well built DVD burner that will look right at home next to any Power Mac G5. It offers a lot of functionality for its $220 price. What makes this drive special is not only its capability to burn 8GB of data using dual layer discs, but the fact that it is an external device that also supports Windows 2000 and Windows XP platforms right out of the box, enabling you to move it from a PC to a Macintosh with ease. While external devices tend to be a bit more expensive than their internal counterparts, the fact the you can move the device to and from any computer (Mac or Windows) that supports USB 2.0 or FireWire (i.LINK), easily makes up for the extra costs. If you are a DVD author who continuously hits that 4.7GB limitation, which causes you to further cut your video projects, the DRX-710UL-T, with the right dual layer media and supporting DVD authoring application, will give you almost twice as much space in which to finish your projects. The only real drawback right now is the cost of the 8.5GB DVD DL media. Currently the prices are around $25- $30 for a three pack of discs, but expect the prices to drop as manufacturers sell more dual layer DVD recorders and media manufacturers ship more blank media. Costs aside, there really is no reason to be cutting your projects because of a 4.7GB media limitation.  For more information, visit

Sony DRX-710UL-T
Write Speed: 16X DVD +R, 4X DVD +RW, 8X DVD -R, 4X DVD -RW, 48X CD-R, 24X CD-RW and Double Layer 2.4X DVD +R 
Read Speed: 48X CD-ROM/CD-R, 16X DVD -ROM
Random Access Time: 140 ms (CD-ROM), 135 ms (DVD-ROM)
Data Transfer Rate: 22.1 MB/s max. (16X DVD-ROM), CD 7.2MB/s (48X speed)
Buffer Capacity: 2MB
Interface: USB 2.0/i.LINK
Drive Type: External Combination DVD -R/-RW, DVD +RW/+R/+R DL, CD-R/RW  

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:Sony DRX-710UL-T review, DRX-710UL-T, DVD recorder, external DVD recorder, DVD burners

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