Convenience is generally the key to any external Blu-ray writer. Doubly so in the case of the Plextor PX-LB950UE, since it includes a choice of two interfaces.

Like the Lite-On eHBU212, it comes with a USB 3.0 connection, but in addition to that, it also has an eSATA option.

SATA is the interface of choice for internal hard drives, although its external eSATA version can be found on many new Windows PCs. USB 3.0 is the fastest option, with a headline speed of around 5Gbps as opposed to the 3Gbps of this version of eSATA.

For once, the practice bore out the theory in our tests, even though the inteface type is far from being the bottleneck in these opticial drives.

Our 22GB of test files copied to six-speed BD-R media in 15 minutes and 42 seconds on USB 3.0; while eSATA required 16 minutes and 56 seconds. In addition, eSATA is more cumbersome to use, lacking the consistently slick level of plug-and-play you get from USB 3.0.

So, for many a user, USB 3.0 will prove the best option. The Lite-On is a fractionally faster drive still. In USB 3.0 mode it completed the burn in 15 seconds less time with the same files compared to this Plextor PX-LB950UE: a trifling 1.6% shorter burning time.
 
The Plextor PX-LB950UE is a handsome drive, with its eye-catching Blu-ray logo quickly grabbing the attention.  It proved quiet in operation and like the Lite-On, it requires an external power supply.

The specifications of the Plextor PX-LB950UE are all but identical to those of the Lite-On eHBU212, and the individual software titles in the CyberLink Blu-ray Suite even have the same version numbers as on the Lite-On. Both the Plextor and Lite-On showed smooth Blu-ray film playback.

Plextor PX-LB950UE: Specs

  • External Blu-ray writer
  • USB 3.0, eSATA interfaces
  • 8MB buffer
  • LightScribe
  • Blu-ray speeds: 12x BD-R, 8x BD-R DL, 2x BD-RE, 8x BD-ROM
  • DVD speeds: 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD±R DL, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+RW, 12x DVD-RAM, 16x DVD-ROM
  • CD speeds: 48x CD-R, 24x CD-RW, 48x CD-ROM
  • CyberLink Blu-Ray Disc Suite (PowerDVD 9 BD, PowerProducer 5, PowerDirector 7, Power2Go 6, PowerBackup 2, LabelPrint 2, Instant Burn 5)
  • 163 x 52 x 225mm
  • 2-year warranty
  • External Blu-ray writer
  • USB 3.0, eSATA interfaces
  • 8MB buffer
  • LightScribe
  • Blu-ray speeds: 12x BD-R, 8x BD-R DL, 2x BD-RE, 8x BD-ROM
  • DVD speeds: 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD±R DL, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+RW, 12x DVD-RAM, 16x DVD-ROM
  • CD speeds: 48x CD-R, 24x CD-RW, 48x CD-ROM
  • CyberLink Blu-Ray Disc Suite (PowerDVD 9 BD, PowerProducer 5, PowerDirector 7, Power2Go 6, PowerBackup 2, LabelPrint 2, Instant Burn 5)
  • 163 x 52 x 225mm
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Plextor is a relatively convenient package that offers slightly more flexibility than the Lite-On eHBU212, but in our test didn’t quite match the latter’s speed. At the time of going to press, the Plextor was the only one of the two on sale, and its availability and convenience make it a decent choice.

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