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Sony DRX-820UL-T Review

By Don Lee
The Sony DRX-820UL-T is a sleek, silver external DVD drive for Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows computer systems. The package comes complete with everything youre going to need for both platforms to manage your data. You can make backup copies of all your important data,

The package contains the Sony DRX-820UL-T DVD drive, one FireWire cable, one USB cable, one AC adaptor, Roxio Toast 6 Lite (for Macintosh), Nero 6 suite (for Windows) and the base to hold the drive. Here is what I discovered about the Sony DRX-820UL-T external DVD drive.

Once you take the drive out of the box, just place it in the clear plastic base. Make sure the Sony label on the door of the drive appears right side up to ensure the drives proper installation. There are rubber contacts on the side of the drive. Make sure a couple of those contacts fit into the base to ensure a tight fit and to prevent the drive from slipping out of the base. The base also has four rubber feet that keep it from moving. If you dont want to use the base, you can simply place the drive on the side where the rubber contacts appear.

Once you have it set up, just plug the AC adaptor into the back of the drive and press the power button. You can tell its powered by a green light that appears temporarily on the front of the drive. Now plug the USB cable into the back of the drive and the other end into your computers USB port. I used my silverdoor dual 1GHz G4 Power Mac running Mac OS X 10.4.6 for testing purposes.

After I loaded my first DVD, the drive immediately prompted me to select a drive region code before it could be used. You must select from the eight DVD regions although it says that you can change the region five additional times. Since Im in the U.S., I selected region one. The drive confirmed my selection and the drive began to play the DVD I inserted. I noticed that the drive tray is a design similar to one you would find on an internal disc drive. With the DRX-820UL-T drive on its side, you just put the disc in and the side of the tray will hold it in place. 


The burning speed is very good for DVD and CD processing whether using the FireWire or the USB cable. I was able to make 7 DVDs using Toast 6 Lite and 3 DVDs and a couple of CDs with no problems. I would suggest using the FireWire cable over the USB cable if you have the proper connector as it will provide a better read/write speed.

The Sony DRX-820UL-T supports the following formats:
CD: CD-DA, CD-ROM (XA), CD Extra, Video CD, Photo CD, CD Text, multi-session

The Final Word

The Sony DRX-820UL-T is a very solid DVD drive that can handle most of the popular disc media formats today. The drive does not recognize Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats though. The external drives design is very sleek and it fit into my desktop arrangement nicely. My dual 1GHz silverdoor Apple Power Mac and my silver door Sony DRX-820UL-T.

I was a bit skeptical when I discovered that the drive was coming with Roxio Toast 6 Lite since the full version of Toast 7 is currently available for Mac. This turned out to be a good, sufficient choice for Mac disc recording. Toast 6 Lite performed wonderfully in burning CDs as well as DVDs. The 2MB memory buffer helps to keep your discs from becoming drink coasters. Five test burns using Toast 6 Lite came through and played fine on my players.

The Nero burning suite that serves the Windows platform also worked fine on my media players as well. The Nero software suite comes with Burning ROM 6-SE (DVD and CD recording), InCD 4 (DVD+-RW, DVD-RAM, CD-RW packet writing), Nero Vision Express 3 (DVD video and Video CD authoring and editing), Nero BackItUp (Backup your drive contents to disc media), Nero Showtime 2 (DVD video playback).

Instead of the ejecting door and having the snap the disc into the drive tray, I would have liked to see a slot-loading design instead. Maybe Im just a little spoiled by the recent Macs inclusion of the slot-loading drives in their computers but I like the elegance of the slot design over the drive trays.

The inclusion of the FireWire and USB cables in the package is a great addition for those want to take full advantage of the best available connections. The drive has a 4 and 6 pin FireWire connector on the back of the drive.

Overall, the package does come complete with everything youre going to need to get started and the price for the DRX-820UL-T is very affordable, especially for an external drive. Plus, it looks pretty cool with the mirror door, silver casing and smooth lines in the design. The Sony DRX-820UL-T external DVD drive earns a 4 out of 5 star recommendation.

System Requirements

Apple Macintosh
Power Mac G3 or later
Mac OS X 10.2 or later
200MB disk space (more needed for video projects)
One available FireWire / USB 2.0 port

Microsoft Windows
Pentium III 800MHz or faster
Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Home or Pro
1GB disk space
One available FireWire / USB 2.0 port

You can learn more about the DRX-820UL-T external DVD drive by visiting the Sony website at

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Related Keywords:Sony, DRX-820UL-T, dual layer, external DVD drive, Apple Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, dvd burner, dual layer dvd burner


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