Half a year ago, we were promised that we'd have a veritable army of Blu-ray drives to choose from by now. As it turns out, however, the Plextor PX-B900A is only the second one we've seen.

The device writes to most flavours of CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc. It's rated at dual-speed for single-layer 25GB media using the write-once BD-R and rewritable BD-RE formats, and can also write to double-layer 50GB media. It's currently quite difficult to obtain the discs for this facility, but it's nice to have the option for the future.

We're pleased to see CD support – early Blu-ray drives have done without – and it was also thoughtful of the company to include DVD-RAM. The Plextor's overall specifications are excellent. At the time of writing, UK availability was limited to a few outlets, but this state of affairs should improve soon.

Our quoted price is for the OEM/bulk version, which doesn't come with any software. The retail pack is also available – and worth mentioning. It comes with the InterVideo/Ulead software collection, one of the best bundles we've seen. This covers movie playback, video editing, HD (high-definition) content burning and packet writing.

In tests the Plextor's burning times were on a par with the Pioneer BDR-101A. For example, 22GB could be copied to BD-R in 44.5 minutes.

Plextor PX-B900A: Specs

  • 2x/2x/2x (BD-ROM/-R/-RE) 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 32x/24x/16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 25GB SL/50GB DL
  • drive buffer 8MB (BD)/2MB (DVD)
  • 2-year warranty
  • 2x/2x/2x (BD-ROM/-R/-RE) 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 32x/24x/16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 25GB SL/50GB DL
  • drive buffer 8MB (BD)/2MB (DVD)
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

If you're eager to get a Blu-ray Disc burner, this is an excellent model. The technology is still enormously expensive, but this is the best overall package we've seen yet.

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