It’s always difficult to choose the best product from several similar ones, like in the present case. Yet we will try to give you the pros and cons of each tested drive in this conclusion.
The Toshiba SD-M2012 has got good results in all the trials, including the advanced audio extraction test. One thing, however, spoils that overall positive impression from this product – we mean its ability to process C2 errors. The drive reported this ability to Nero Info Tool, but couldn’t prove it in practical tests. It means that you may get poor results with long-used audio discs of low quality.
The Plextor PX-130A is very fast in all the tests, but has some drawbacks, too. Particularly, it has a big offset and problems with low-quality discs, and its accuracy of finding C2 errors is rather low, too. It means that this drive doesn’t suit for making precise copies of audio compact-discs. Next, the drive could not read our DVD-R disc. Another problem with the Plextor we met during our tests was its “vanishing” from the system from time to time. That is, the computer would stop to “see” the drive after we had inserted a disc, and we had to reboot the system for the drive to reappear. We don’t want to put all blame on the drive alone since the cause of the problem may be in incompatibility with the particular mainboard, but we don’t think an optical drive with that lot of problems and at the high price peculiar to all products from Plextor may be an appealing purchase.
The ASUS DVD-E616P3 was overall fast and worked well with C2 errors, promising high quality with bad media. This drive, however, is not perfect, either. It has a big offset and was very slow at extracting audio tracks in EAC (the latter thing may be due to its careful processing of C2 errors, though). It also could not read our DVD-R and DVD+R DL discs.
The Sony DDU1622 has a small offset and works well with bad media, but it couldn’t read our DVD+R DL disc and processed the DVD-ROM at a considerably lower speed than the other participating drives. It was also the only drive to have errors when extracting audio tracks in Nero CD DAE.
The Sony DDU1615 may also have its skeleton in the cupboard, but we couldn’t find it. So, this optical drive was overall the best in our tests, reveling no obvious weaknesses or problems. Considering its reasonable price, we recommend this drive for purchase.
You should be aware that our opinion about these devices is based only on the results of our own tests and it is very probable that some or most problems mentioned in this review can and will be solved in future firmware updates.