Lite-On’s internal Blu-ray drive has an excellent specification, able to write to single-layer BD-Rs at 12-speed and dual-layer media at eight-speed. Dual-layer discs hold twice as much data, but accept it at a slower rate. The fastest media we could find was rated at four-speed – it should take around 46 mins to entirely fill this disc.

We experienced a few issues with the iHBS212 during testing. It was unable to erase the content of a recordable Blu-ray disc written by another drive, and an update to Nero led it to recognise the Lite-On as a CD writer. We place the blame for this with the software rather than the drive itself, but had to resort to Imgburn for completing our performance tests.

Using four-speed media, it recorded 21GB of data in 30 mins 2 secs, making it the second-slowest on test. Our six-speed testing clocked the drive at 21 mins 58 secs.

This drive not only costs more than the LG BH10LS38, it’s noisier too. But its 12-speed write performance could make the Lite-On the better drive once compatible media becomes available.

Verdict: Since most Blu-ray writers are limited by the speed rating of available media, it doesn’t make sense to pay
extra for a 12- rather than 10-speed drive.


Review from 13/05/11

By Robin Morris

Those who remember the heady days when DVD writers were in the ascendancy may recall a time of constant flux. Every month seemed to bring an ever-faster model that instantly rendered the former champions as distinctly old-hat.

It’s fair to say that the Blu-ray writer market has evolved at a rather more glacial rate. Twelve-speed models are finally beginning to hit the shops though.

But even these 12-speed drives aren’t getting close to their full potential. The problem is the usual one, of blank media – we now have six-speed BD-R discs available, but that’s still only half the speed of the fastest drives.

This drive did burn our 22GB of test data in under 15 minutes – but only just.

The time of 14 minutes and 52 seconds was barely faster than the 15 minutes and 4 seconds registered by the LG BH10LS30, even though that drive was specified with a 10-speed hardware maximum, and using four-speed media to test it.

Neither is the Lite-On particularly fast at rewriteable Blu-ray – we’ve still never seen a drive that can push the BD-RE media beyond two-speed. Nonetheless, the Lite-On is the fastest drive we’ve seen yet in real-world terms, so it deserve recognition for that.

We looked at the Lite-On iHBS212. This is the fully boxed retail version, and comes with complete packaging and software. However, as is usually the case with optical drives, the product you’re more likely to be able to find is the OEM version – entitled the iHBS112. This comes without any packaging, although you should be able to find an OEM version that comes with the relevant software.

The specifications and look of the two drives are very close to identical, although the retail iHBS212 does have the added extra of LightScribe. This pleasing but limited labelling technology has never really been developed to its full. But for anyone who might want to apply non-colour images directly to their media, the iHBS212 may offer value for around an extra £10 for the drive, and with slightly more expensive blanks.

The bundled software consists of the usual CyberLink Blu-ray Suite. CyberLink appears to have got the BD software corner sewn up, with a nice selection of applications – from the authoring package, PowerProducer, to the PowerDVD playback program and the Power2Go burning software.

We found Blu-ray film playback to be very good on this drive. The 8MB buffer size on the Lite-On is ample, and the support for a range of different drive formats even stretches to 12-speed DVD-RAM.

Verdict: The Lite-On iHBS212 may not be a huge step forwards in terms of raw speed, but it’s still the fastest Blu-ray drive we’ve seen yet. Given that it ticks the boxes in every other area, and will cost a fairly modest £90 for the retail pack with LightScribe (£80 for the simpler OEM version), that makes this Lite-On the best internal BD drive currently available.

Lite-On iHBS212: Specs

  • Internal SATA Blu-ray writer
  • LightScribe technology
  • 8MB buffer
  • max BD write speeds: 12x BD-R, 8x BD-R DL
  • 2x BD-RE, 8x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD±R DL
  • 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+RW. 12x DVD-RAM, 16x DVD-ROM
  • max CD speeds 48x CD-R, 24x CD-RW, 48x CD-ROM)
  • CyberLink Blu-Ray Disc Suite
  • 230 x 199 x 95mm
  • 649g
  • 2-year warranty
  • Internal SATA Blu-ray writer
  • LightScribe technology
  • 8MB buffer
  • max BD write speeds: 12x BD-R, 8x BD-R DL
  • 2x BD-RE, 8x BD-ROM
  • max DVD speeds: 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD±R DL
  • 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+RW. 12x DVD-RAM, 16x DVD-ROM
  • max CD speeds 48x CD-R, 24x CD-RW, 48x CD-ROM)
  • CyberLink Blu-Ray Disc Suite
  • 230 x 199 x 95mm
  • 649g
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

Since most Blu-ray writers are limited by the speed rating of available media, it doesn’t make sense to pay extra for a 12- rather than 10-speed drive.

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