Of the three drives based on the Pioneer A07 mechanism, the Pioneer-branded drive is the most expensive. Pioneer has also opted for a different software bundle, which includes the complete Ulead suite, including the DVD MovieFactory 3 authoring package, Video Studio 7 video editing, a DVD player and Burn.Now disc burning tool. Pioneer also includes a copy of NovaBackup 7.1 for backing up data from your hard drive to the optical disc.
The bottom line is that you get a different software bundle and slightly elevated performance. The black bezel of the unit we tested was certainly more attractive but not particularly exceptional. With a $160 price tag, you end up paying a $20 premium for the Pioneer name.
You also get a bit more performance than the Asus and Memorex drives. Although the Pioneer drive was running the same 1.12 firmware, we noticed better DVD read performance and slightly improved burn performance. Still, the only real difference was the higher outer track transfer rate. The drive still only sports a 2MB buffer.
|Pros||Reliable Pioneer mechanism; good write performance; Ulead Software Bundle; slightly faster transfer rate than other Pioneer-based drives|
|Cons||Slow DAE access; Most expensive Pioneer-based unit|
|Summary||Its pricey, but looks good, moves data a little faster, and comes with a different bundle than the other drives based on this hardware.|