After several months of relative calm, the release of a pair of sizzlingly fast DVD writers by Plextor appears to have stirred the rest of the industry into action. Following hot on the heels of the outstanding LG GSA-H10N comes another cracker from Samsung.

The drive's 16-speed DVD-R/+R writing facilities are par for the course, as are its six-speed/eight-speed DVD-RW and +RW. The Samsung also offers 12-speed DVD-RAM and, while this format can't compete with the others for speed, it scores well for usability.

The Samsung has rejected the LG's top-line 10-speed DVD+R DL (dual-layer) capabilities in favour of the more moderate but reliable eight-speed version. The -R DL format has been boosted to the same level, giving the Samsung the edge for those who prefer this format. We found the +R DL facilities to be only a few seconds slower than the distinctly zippy LG. Although the drives are closely matched, the Samsung isn't quite as fast as the LG. Neither does it have features such as LightScribe.

Samsung SH-S182D: Specs

  • 16x/16x/16x/8x/8x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • drive buffer 2MB
  • average access time (DVD) 130ms
  • retail pack
  • 1-year warranty
  • 16x/16x/16x/8x/8x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) 48x/48x/32x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • EIDE interface
  • max DVD storage capacity 8.5GB
  • drive buffer 2MB
  • average access time (DVD) 130ms
  • retail pack
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung's biggest problem is its price. Not quite as fast as the stunning LG, it's considerably more expensive. However, should supplies of the LG run out, this is a decent drive.

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