PC Advisor's in-depth review shows that, fast and priced well, the Samsung SH-S203 is an amazing DVD writer.

Slowly but surely we're crawling towards the ultimate DVD writer. Having seen the LG GSA-H55N set a new standard with its ultra-fast 20-speed –R/+R technology, this month sees the Samsung SH-S203 not only match that, but go a step further with its fantastic double-layer facilities – offering excellent 12-speed -R DL/+R DL capabilities.

That the Samsung SH-S203 can hit these impressive speeds is really down to the Sata (serial ATA) interface. Faster than traditional EIDE, Sata interfaces have been appearing in the majority of new PCs for a couple of years now. Indeed, the chances are your PC's hard drive already uses Sata – look for a thin red cable rather than a wide grey one.

DVD writer manufacturers have been slow to latch on to Sata, but Samsung has been flying the flag for months now. And the Samsung SH-S203 shows exactly why more and more companies ought to be building their drives around this faster interface.

The Samsung SH-S203 now offers the highest real-world write speeds of any drive. This is especially noticeable when you use the 12-speed double-layer writing – the highest speeds we've seen yet – although the Samsung is at least as fast as any of its competitors in any of the other formats.

Samsung SH-S203: Specs

  • Sata
  • 48x/48x/40x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • 16x/20x/20x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • average access time 130ms
  • Ahead Nero
  • 1-year warranty
  • Sata
  • 48x/48x/40x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • 16x/20x/20x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • average access time 130ms
  • Ahead Nero
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung SH-S203 lacks the excellent security features of the LG GSA-H55N , but if all you want is a fast and well-priced DVD writer, you should consider this fantastic deal. You should even get a copy of Ahead Nero thrown in for the £19 price tag. And given how devastating this drive is, that's amazing.

Find the best price