Blu-ray Disc drives that can create BD media remain thin on the ground. The Buffalo BR-816SU2, and now this internal Sony BWU-300S, are the only burnable Blu-ray drives to have been released in the UK since early 2009.
Almost as disappointing is the lack of progress in the format's specifications. Like the Buffalo and Pioneer BDR-203BK, the Sony BWU-300S lists support for eight-speed BD-R. But media that can support this speed is still nigh impossible to buy. Indeed, even six-speed media continues to prove elusive to most consumers. We tested the drive with Sony's own six-speed and quad-speed Verbatim BD-R media.
Overall, the Sony BWU-300S's BD-R six-speed performance is decent, but it doesn't quite match the Pioneer, completing the tests in just under 5 minutes and 40 seconds (around 13 seconds behind the Pioneer). On quad-speed media, it required just over 22 minutes to record 22GB, putting it marginally behind the Pioneer and Buffalo drives. In a similar vein, two-speed BD-RE allowed us to write the same 22GB of data to rewriteable media in just over 44 minutes, which places it squarely in the middle of other drives we've previously assessed.
As with all BD-R drives, the Sony BWU-300S has a solid set of DVD-R speeds, although as ever it's lower than from a standalone DVD writer. While some of those drives are reaching 22- or 24-speed for DVD-R, the Sony makes do with a rather ordinary 16-speed. The six- and eight-speed ±RW capabilities are very much in line with dedicated drives though.
The Sony BWU-300S is a little short on additional features. There's no playback for HD DVD, for instance, nor is there anything like LightScribe, for etching graphics to specialist DVD media.
A software bundle consists of CyberLink's tried and tested Blu-ray apps. The bundle includes PowerDVD 8, PowerProducer 5 (for creating movies), PowerDirector 7 (video editing) and PowerBackup. These are mostly brand new versions, and so give the Sony BWU-300S an edge over some of the older bundles offered with competing drives.
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