Double-Layer DVD: Philips, LaCie, Asus and LG

Philips DVDRW885K

"Double Capacity Series" is emblazoned both on the box and on the drive itself. The label identifies the DVDRW885K right off as a double-layer model. In contrast to the other three models tested here, the Philips drive is not a multi-mode device - i.e. "minus" recordables are not supported. A sticker on the packing indicates that this support will be delivered by September through a firmware update.

This is a drawback if the burner is intended for a wide variety of tasks. As in the past, a drive, a player or a converter may support only one of the two formats - even if the frequency of these compatibility problems have noticeably reduced in the last few months.

The DVDRW885K managed to write a DVD+R at 8x in a possibly record time of 8:16 minutes, comfortably leaving its competitors in the dust. The ultra-broad LED in the center of the drive is interesting. It is the status indicator seen on all optical drives: a blue light means reading, red means writing activity. There are also LEDs that help distinguish CDs from DVDs.

Philips bundles Version 6.3 of the Nero suite, a feature common to the majority of burners.