We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Storage Devices Reviews
15,611 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Liteon SHW-16H5S

£34 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Lite-On

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

LightScribe is potentially the best thing to hit DVD writing technology since, well, DVD writing technology itself. Buy a specially coated disc and burn the data onto it, then turn it over and let it etch a label onto the other side.

LightScribe is potentially the best thing to hit DVD writing technology since, well, DVD writing technology itself.

Creating a new DVD is all very well, but how are we supposed to keep track of what's on each disc? We can scrawl a description on the surface, but that's hardly the most attractive of solutions. And labelling with an inkjet or laser printer is cumbersome.

So the LightScribe technology featured in this Liteon drive is just the thing we need. Buy a specially coated disc and burn the data onto it, then turn it over and let it etch a label onto the other side.

However, we should point out that the technology is at quite an early stage. You can't do colour yet, and printing an image onto a disc can take quite some time – transferring a complicated image at the highest quality setting took close to half an hour. But even so, we rather like LightScribe.

Just printing a quick inventory of the disc's contents is simple enough and only takes a few minutes, and it's nice to have the more advanced features just in case you find yourself with a spare half-hour. Photos look surprisingly good given the colour limitations, so it would be quite possible to produce some professional results.

Best of all, buy this drive and you'll get a rather good optical drive thrown in at the same time. The SHW-16H5S is well-priced, and its turn of speed is highly desirable. It proved itself capable of copying 3GB of data in under five minutes on both DVD-R and +R formats, while the six minutes and 28 seconds needed to copy to rewriteable media is one of the best performances we've seen yet.

Admittedly, the 4x DVD-R DL is slightly under-par, but you do still have a very good 8x DVD+R DL mode. And given the inclusion of LightScribe, we think that sacrificing one of the two good dual-layer modes is a fair deal.

Liteon SHW-16H5S Expert Verdict »
48x/48x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) 16x/16x/16x/4x/8x/6x/8x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) drive
EIDE interface
8.5GB max DVD storage capacity
2MB drive buffer
160ms average access time (DVD)
software bundle
1-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

LightScribe has a long way to go but, even at this early stage, we can see some users loving it. As a standard DVD writer, the Liteon works extremely well, with the poor DVD-R DL capabilities the only downer. Make sure you get the version with the software (you'll need the LightScribe add-ons) – and you'll find this an excellent drive for the money.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • NEC ND-4551A

    NEC ND-4551A

    LightScribe technology allows you to 'print' pictures and text on the surface of a disc. But this isn't the only labelling show in town. NEC is backing the rival LabelFlash, which makes an appearance in the ND-4551A.

  • BenQ DW1655

    BenQ DW1655

    In the past we've associated BenQ with good-value products designed to sell quickly, rather than to produce top performance. The DW1655 suggests the manufacturer now has loftier aims.

  • Plextor PX-760A

    Plextor PX-760A

    The DVD industry is awash with gossip about Blu-ray and HD-DVD, but Plextor hasn't allowed itself to be distracted from improving on the existing model.

  • Pioneer DVR-112

    Pioneer DVR-112

    Those who watch the DVD writers market will have seen DVD-R/+R speeds moving gradually upwards. But wouldn't we be better focusing on the 8.5GB double-layer DVD-R DL and +R DL formats, where the eight-speed performance of typical drives leaves a great deal to be desired? Pioneer has the perfect answer to those torn by such a dilemma, for the DVR-112 gives you the best of both worlds.

  • LaCie d2 DVD±RW with LightScribe review

    LaCie d2 DVD±RW with LightScribe

    A disc burner such as LaCie's d2 DVD±RW with LightScribe can burn some single-layer DVD±R discs at 20x - a huge boost over the 8-speed or quad-speed of many native, internal drives.


IDG UK Sites

iPhone 6 release date, price, specs and new features: Invite confirms 9 September launch

IDG UK Sites

Nostalgia time: Top 10 best selling mobile phones in history

IDG UK Sites

How Ford designs next-generation cars at its Melbourne Design Centre

IDG UK Sites

iPhone 6 release date, rumours, video, UK price & images: iPhone launch event confirmed for 9...