Red-Hot Stuff: 11 DVD Burners Reviewed

HP DVD300e

Firmware: 1.25

HP sent us two DVD burners to test, the DVD300e as an external variation and the DVD300i as an installed version. More about this in the next section - first, let's turn to the external model.

The 300e has both a FireWire and a USB 2.0 interface and thus can be connected to practically any more or less modern system. However, whichever interface is not being used is covered by a plastic cover, so it won't even occur to you to use both interfaces at the same time.

The HP burners are not multimode devices. Rather, they are completely based on DVD+R/+RW and support 4x write speed with +Rs and 2.4x with +RWs.

Extracting the DVD movie Cast Away (DVD-9) took 33 minutes, an average length of time; the same for Pink Panther. On 5th Element, however, the HP burner out and out failed: After countless read errors, it failed to capture the rather heavily scratched DVD; DVD Decrypter kept stopping.

There were problems even with the movie we burned ourselves onto a DVD-RW - the disc wasn't even detected. Although no objection can be made to the plus standard, the lacking read compatibility with a minus medium unnecessarily restricts the flexibility of the user.

The write speed for CDs is in the normal range at 16x. However, LG, Sony, NU and above all Gigabyte handle this better. Still, about five minutes for 646 MB is a satisfactory result.

In just over 10 minutes, our test SVCD was completely read with Nero 6, which can be considered a common speed. Music data was extracted somewhat faster at seven minutes. However, that does not obscure the fact that many competitors are much more nimble in this respect.

In our practice tests as well, the DVD 300e did not stand out - 20 to 25 seconds pass before newly inserted CDs or DVDs are accessed with Explorer. Although the competition did not exactly cover itself with glory in this respect either, it can still at least read the DVD-R discs from Verbatim.

The disc test in nine DVD players singled out two devices that managed only very jerkily to play back the movie just burned using Nero. If DVD Decrypter was used instead, the burned disc could not be played in any of the nine DVD players. Interestingly enough, this was not a problem with the DVD300i.

  • Very informative review. Tedious reading and loading it though...It would have been nice to see a chart or graph at the end of the article with all the drives together. This loading page after page after page sucks big time. too much other crap. Otherwise, I did find what I was looking for. Thanks Tom's Hardware!