Black on the outside, Blu on the inside
When Pioneer first released the writeable DVD-R drives I bought the third generation DVR-103. It was expensive at £150, but it was fantastic
. Since then I've also owned a 105S and 120S slot loading drives (I still use the 120S), but these are simply DVD-ROM drives. Again though, the quality of both was excellent and they stood the test of time.
In fact, while many people consider brand not to be a huge feature in optical drives, I find myself strongly disagreeing because when you're investing in more than a nominal £30, it has to last the course.
To date, I've only had a better experience with a Plextor DVD-R SATA drive, simply because I've accidentally ripped the entire tray out with my leg walking past my case, to find it simply pops back in again! Fortunately for Pioneer, we didn't plan a reproducibility experiment.
As is the case for many optical drives, the Pioneer feels pretty much identical to everything else on the market in its black plastic and plain metal box. The Asus BC-1205 PT on the other hand does have a slightly funkier brushed look
plastic facia and shiney plastic drive bay door. For those with boring beige cases, there's a matching facia option
for you too.
The door mechanism is nothing too special either although while it's quieter than the cheapest drives, in comparison to some Plextor drives which use a rubber band rather than gears, it's certainly not as elegant and smooth. Essentially, it does the job pretty well without feeling cheap.
Like a few Blu-ray drives we've seen, this too features a SATA interface so you can finally get rid of those annoyingly fat IDE cables, however you'll need to make sure you have a compatible motherboard chipset. Don't worry though, as long as your PC is not older
than two years and has an up-to-date BIOS, you'll be fine.