As the originator of DVD-R technology, Pioneer has been that formats staunchest proponent. But in a nod to the competition, the new Pioneer DVR-A06 adds support for the rival DVD+R and DVD+RW formats.
In most other ways, the DVR-A06 is similar to its DVR-A05 predecessor. Both boast robust construction, 4X DVD-R and 2X DVD-RW recording, and a consistent ability to produce discs that work reliably in every DVD player in our lab. The A06 ships with a generous software bundle that includes Ahead Softwares Nero Express 5.5 and Nero Toolkit, the SAI WriteDVD! drive letter access and packet-writing software, and special editions of Ulead DVD Player, MovieFactory, PictureShow, and VideoStudio.
When tested on our 2.5-GHz P4 test-bed (using Nero 6 Burning ROM), the DVR-A06 easily equaled the A05s blazing speed with DVD-R and -RW media, and generally outpaced the competing Sony DRU-500A multiformat burner. Most impressive, the A06 took only 4 minutes 21 seconds to rip our 4.28GB test DVD, compared with the A05s 6:20 and the Sony units 10:30 time.
Our early production unit worked well enough with its bundled software but wasnt as hospitable to some of the applications in our test suite. Neither 321 Studios DVD XCopy disc backup application nor Aheads InCD 4 packet-writing software could record DVD+RW media inserted into the drive. (The companies are working on fixes as we go to press). Worse, the A06s setup routine forces you to load all of its bundled applications—a source of conflict if youve already installed and prefer a competing disk-mastering or packet-writing application.
Another disappointment is the drives lack of support for 4X DVD+RW recording, which is offered by Sonys recently announced four-format DRU-510A. So if DVD+RW is your preferred medium, the Sony unit is a better choice. But if your tasks demand a multiformat drive, the A06 ought to do a good job at a competitive price.