But despite the undeniably impressive performance shown by the TS-H552, I have to say that I am a little disappointed that the specifications are as conservative as they are. Most new drives are offering support for faster DVD+RW and DVD-RW writing, as the NEC ND-3540A showed. While both the NEC and Plextor PX-716A could also write to DVD-R Dual Layer media as well.
I had hoped that a new firmware flash would upgrade the TS-H552, but after downloading the latest firmware and installing it, the specifications stayed resolutely the same as before. This is a bit of a shame, especially since 6x DVD-RW and 6x DVD-R DL media is now available.
Samsung sent over the full retail version of the drive which shipped with an IDE cable, an audio cable, mounting screws, a quick setup guide, and a copy of Pinnacle Instand CD/DVD 8. Not a bad bundle, but I would rather have a copy of Nero in the box than the Pinnacle suite.
The drive itself looks fairly standard, finished in good old PC beige. There’s a single eject button, an indicator light and a manual eject hole. The fascia sports logos for DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and CD-RW Ultra Speed +. I’ve never seen the Ultra Speed + logo before, but there’s no denying that this drive can burn CD media quickly, so whatever it does, it works.
When looking at the price, you have to remember that this is the retail box, so £42.29 isn’t too bad. Of course if you want just the bare drive, you should be able to pick it up for around the £30 mark, making the TS-H552 a pretty attractive proposition for anyone on a tight budget. But even taking this low price into account, for about £3 more you could have the NEC ND-3540A and get faster performance and better media support.
The Samsung WriteMaster TS-H552 is an undeniably fast drive, but its specs are the limiting factor. So, despite the solid and consistent performance, the lack of support for the latest media takes the shine of what could have been a great product.