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Sony DRX-810UL DVD Burner

Great burner until the blue laser models arrive By Charlie White

While we all wait for the final appearance of blue laser-based media such as HD DVD and Blu-ray, DVD burners keep getting better, faster and cheaper. Sony has upped the ante of its offerings with a new dual-layer burner that the company claims is able to crank out a dual layer DVD+R disc with over 8 GB of data in around 15 minutes. We tested that claim, reviewing Sonys new model DRX-810UL ($125 street) external DVD burner.

It looks like dual-layer DVD burning is finally getting within the realm of practicality. So, for another six months or so, well be right smack dab in the middle of the heyday of dual-layered DVD burning. Thats because dual-layer burners, particularly internal models, now cost well under $100, and at the same time dual-layer +R disks can be had for as little as $3 apiece or even less. This means you can put over 8 GB of data on a disk, and do it quickly for relatively little money.

Its in this context that Sony introduces its new DRX-810UL DVD Burner, a handsome product that is capable of burning all the usual suspects, and I might as well spell them out for you here 8x DVD+R dual-layer (DL), 4x DVD-R DL, 16X DVD+R, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 48X CD-R and 32X CD-RW.

This new model is designed to be used either on its side or up on end, and includes a clear plastic stand that allows it to stand in its vertical position, delivering a disk in a tray that can be used either vertically or horizontally. The player also offers either 1394 or USB 2.0 connectivity, and also includes a wall wart with which to plug it in.

By the way, when will all external disk manufacturers finally take advantage of the ability of USB 2.0 and 1394 to deliver power? Anyway, when I set up this Sony external burner, I placed it on a prominent location on our test bench and admired its insouciant good looks. Nice design, Sony.

The product also includes a disk full of Nero software, which will allows you to burn, author and back are up a variety of data. Some of the versions are full-featured, but most are somehow limited, luring you into buying more Nero products, and although I wish the full versions were included, even the SE version of Nero Burning still works very well.

This external drives claim to fame is its touted ability to burn DVD+R DL discs at 8X. Sony also asserts that the burner can create DVD-R DL discs at 4X and in Sonys promotional materials the company says the burner can lay down 8.5 GB of data in ?about 15 minutes. We set out to see if this burner could actually do such a thing. 

After loading just a few megabytes short of the maximum allowed for a dual-layer DVD burned by Nero, around 8.1 GB, the dual-layer burner sprung into action, beginning its burn with a sound akin to a muffled vacuum cleaner. Im not saying its too loud, is just a little bit noisier than you would like to have sitting right next to your ear. Nero optimistically predicted it would take only 13 minutes to burn all this data onto the dual-layer DVD +R disk. After a spirited seven minutes worth of burning, it sounded like the operation was completed, but looking at the render thermometer there was still another 45% yet to be laid onto disk. The Sony burner quietly crept through the rest of the burn, finally finishing its task in 21 minutes 40 seconds. Thats quick, but its a far cry from the 15 minutes claimed by Sony.

Here's the result of the burn of 8.1 GB of data onto a DVD+R DL disc using Nero. After it finished its burn it took another few seconds to release the disk. Even though it took quite a bit longer than the 15 minutes claimed by Sony, that's still a pretty quick burn of over 8 GB of data.

Dont get me wrong?I think its a great convenience to be able to lay down over 8 GB of data onto a single DVD in a little more than 20 minutes. This DVD burner does yeoman-like work, and with the cost of blank DVDs plummeting, this represents a great value in data storage circa late 2005. Of course, if youre reading this article in late 2006, youll laugh at that last sentence, but for now, until more advanced data storage equipment is available and finally becomes practical, this is about as good as it gets. For now, its highly recommended. 9.5 of 10 stars.

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Related Keywords:DVD burner, better, faster, cheaper, dual-layer burner, dual layer DVD+R disc, Sony DRX-810UL, external DVD burner


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