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The first and most obvious point we can make from this test session is that you should always update the firmware of your optical drives. Does that sound trivial? Yes, but you have just seen that a new firmware version can dramatically improve the operational characteristics of the device. Those users who don’t need a better performance of their drives will probably be interested to view the changes implemented by the manufacturer in practice. Those who update the firmware “automatically” or do not update at all will see once again that this is a highly important matter.

Now, a few remarks about the particular drives. The new combo model from Samsung can be viewed as a rightful heir to the SM-352N. The latter seems to be going to leave the market soon. The substitute was rather a success, although the developers didn’t remove all the problems of the previous model. Considering the traditionally appealing pricing of Samsung’s optical devices, I can recommend this model for an economical customer.

The AOpen COM5232/AAH is clearly a well-made model. Without certain minor flaws, which will hopefully be corrected soon, we would have a nice combo drive. Here’s a list of all the pros and cons of each model:

AOpen COM5232/AAH


  • Excellent burning of CD-RW discs;
  • Good error correction mechanism;
  • Excellent processing of DVDs;
  • Can read data from the housekeeping areas of the disc;
  • High read speed;
  • Cute design.


  • Quality of CD-R burning is not very high;
  • Rather high jitter;
  • No support of DVD+R dual-layer discs.

Samsung SM-352N


  • Burns CD-Rs of good quality at the maximum speed;
  • Good with DVDs;
  • Can reduce the speed when playing video and audio;
  • Good error correction mechanism;
  • Low jitter.


  • At a reduced speed, the quality of burned CD-R discs degenerates;
  • Not very good with CD-RWs, especially with 32x discs;
  • Cannot read Lead-In and Lead-Out zones;
  • No support of DVD+R DL media;
  • Minor errors when working with single-layer molded DVD-ROM discs.

Samsung TS-H492A


  • Produces high-quality CD-Rs at the maximum speed;
  • Good error correction mechanism;
  • Low jitter.


  • At a reduced speed, the quality of burned CD-Rs degenerates;
  • Unstable reading;
  • Cannot read Lead-In and Lead-Out zones;
  • Doesn’t support DVD+R DL media;
  • The drive is unsure at reading DVD+RW media;
  • Minor errors at reading single-layer molded DVD-ROM discs.
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