For some users – those who don't want to open up their machines, for example, or anyone who needs to use one writer with several PCs – an external DVD drive is a better option than an internal model. But there's always going to be a speed sacrifice.

It's therefore not a surprise that, in many areas, the LG's pace can't match the best internal drives. While the two other drives here come with 18-speed DVD-R/+R capabilities, the GSA-E10L has to make do with 16-speed. Oddly, however, the DVD+R DL facilities stretch to 10-speed – an improvement on the H22N.

You get 12-speed DVD-RAM and, as an extra bonus, LightScribe. This allows you to print images to specially coated media. LightScribe is still slow (a reasonably high-resolution image requires 25 to 30 minutes) and lacks colour, but it's a handy feature to have for those special occasions.

LG GSA-E10L: Specs

  • 16x/16x/16x/6x/10x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • drive buffer 2MB
  • average access time (DVD) 175ms
  • 1-year warranty
  • 16x/16x/16x/6x/10x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • drive buffer 2MB
  • average access time (DVD) 175ms
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

Cramming in a comprehensive set of features and some excellent speeds, the LG GSA-E10L is easily the best external DVD writer we've seen. In fact, its performance puts that of many internal models to shame, and the 10-speed DVD+R DL makes it one of the best drives for creating 8.5GB discs. It's extremely well-priced for an external drive, making it a superb buy for those who don't want an internal model.

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