Most of the test results that the PX-716A turned in are on a par with the competition, but it did manage to be fairly consistent across the board, although the CD-RW times were particularly quick.
The drive itself looks pretty much identical to the previous Plextor drives I’ve looked at in the past. The draw has a glossy black plastic strip along the bottom to give the drive a bit more character than your average DVD writer. Other than that, there’s a single eject button, an indicator light and a manual eject hole. If you don’t like the way the drive looks, you can always change the fascia – Plextor supplies a black fascia in the box so that the PX-716A will slip comfortably into a black case.
There’s the usual array of Plextor goodies in the box – besides the black fascia, you also get an IDE cable, a paper manual, a CD manual and a comprehensive software suite. As well as the excellent PlexTools, you also get Nero Express 6 SE, Nero Media Player, Pinnacle Instand CD/DVD 8.3 LE. Instant Cinema. Instant Audio. Instant Copy and Instant Backup. Plextor also lists a whole raft of software from CyberLink, Sonic, Ulead and some more stuff from Nero – however, don’t be fooled since these are all 30 day trial versions and not the full packages.
So, the Plextor PX-716A is a fast DVD writer, with a good but overly embellished software bundle and a strong heritage – but how much are you expected to pay for performance and quality? Well bizarrely, I actually found the full retail box selling for less than the bare drive on dabs.com, with a price of £74.92 compared with £75.28. But when you consider that dabs.com is selling the Asus DRW-1608P for only £46.94 and you can get the Toshiba SDR-5372 (albeit a bare drive) for only £36.42 from eBuyer.com, the Plextor starts to look very overpriced.
Ultimately, the PX-716A does smack of high quality and its performance credentials are unquestionable, but not only are its competitors snapping at its heels when it comes to performance, they’re also offering significantly better value.
Once again Plextor has produced the fastest DVD writer out there, but with the competition close behind, it’s hard to justify the high asking price.