At first glance, the DVR-111 doesn't merit much of a fanfare. Its specifications are only a slight improvement on those of the DVR-110 – and that drive didn't fare particularly well in our tests.

While the DVR-110 had plenty of pace, we weren't impressed by its reluctance to burn to some brands of disc. We're pleased to say that the DVR-111 doesn't suffer from similar issues. Consequently, this DVD drive is in a completely different class to its predecessor.

It doesn't hurt that the Pioneer is competitively priced. It's the best-value drive we've seen. Just £27 will buy you the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) version, comprising only the drive itself.

If you're replacing an existing drive, the lack of cables is unlikely to be a problem, and you should be able to snap up a copy of Ahead Nero for a few quid.

As we said, the DVR-111's specs are almost identical to those of the DVR-110. This is no bad thing, because the 110 was already the best-qualified drive we've tested, with the exception of the Plextor models. The 8.5GB DL (double-layer) facilities are particularly good, with even DVD-R DL given impressive eight-speed support. The DVR-111's -RW/+RW figures are strong and five-speed DVD-RAM is included – a nice addition for those who value convenience above top performance. However, there's no LightScribe support.

In terms of performance, this drive really shines. The Plextor models are still the true speed demons, but considering the price, the Pioneer's pace was blistering. It's on a par with the best drives in our Top 10 chart.

Pioneer DVR-111: Specs

  • 16x/16x/16x/8x/8x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM), 480x/40x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • 2MB drive buffer
  • average access time (DVD) 130ms
  • no software or cables supplied
  • 1-year warranty
  • 16x/16x/16x/8x/8x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM), 480x/40x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • 2MB drive buffer
  • average access time (DVD) 130ms
  • no software or cables supplied
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

This product matches the DVR-110's strengths, but puts paid to its faults. Performance is excellent, specifications are competitive and the price tag is lean. This drive is perfect for anyone looking to jump to the top of the pile.

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