Despite the lack of new media, the ND-3520A still managed to turn in an overall time for all the tests of three hours, 35 minutes and 37 seconds, shaving over three minutes off the time achieved by the ND-3500A. This difference was due mainly to the fact that I got my hands on 16x DVD-R media – the resulting test times were very impressive with every DVD-R test coming in under six minutes.
Like its predecessor, the ND-3520A will happily write to 2.4x DVD+R DL media at 4x, so you’ll only be waiting around 25 minutes when burning 8GB of data. Strangely, when I was at a +RW Alliance press briefing at CES last month, I was informed that there is no 4x DVD+R DL standard and that the media rating will be jumping directly from 2.4x to 8x. The picture below taken on the Verbatim stand at CES seems to confirm this.
There are no drives available yet that support 8x DVD+R Dual Layer burning, although Toshiba has a unit that’s rated at 5x and the company suggests that it will burn at 5x to 2.4x media – we’ll have a review of the Toshiba drive on TrustedReviews soon.
What’s amazing about NEC DVD writers is that despite the fact that they are always a step ahead of the competition when it comes to features and performance, the price is still kept unbelievably low. I spotted the bare drive available for around £43 online, but then managed to track down the retail box for only £48.43. Considering that this is the fastest drive around, and supports pretty much all the current and future media, the price is amazing.
It’s a little disappointing that I couldn’t test the ND-3520A to its full potential, but the media is traditionally a few months behind the hardware. No doubt there will be other drives hitting the market with similar specs to the ND-3520A soon, and I’ll try to gather up the major players into a group test when the proper media is available.
As things stand, NEC has raised the bar once again when it comes to DVD writing. The ND-3520A is a drive with awesome specifications and it’s well ahead of the game when it comes to media speeds supported. Put simply, if you’re thinking of buying a DVD writer, buy this one.
Once again NEC has created a superb DVD writer that’s ahead of the competition and the media manufacturers. But even more impressive than the specifications and potential performance is the amazing price. The NEC ND-3500A is no longer the best DVD writer around, but the ND-3520A is.