Iâ€™ve always been impressed LG DVD writers in the past. Traditionally LGâ€™s models have offered greater functionality than the competition without costing more. One major advantage that LG drives have had over other models is the ability to write to DVD-RAM media as well as DVD+ and DVD- discs. However, this time around the LG drive isnâ€™t the only one that can pull off that particular trick, since the NEC ND-4550A is also DVD-RAM compatible. So, the big question is whether LG still has enough in its arsenal to impress.
The GSA-4166B definitely looks different from previous units â€“ gone is the stylish grey band on the fascia that swept under the round eject button. The new drive looks very generic with a small eject button, nondescript indicator light and a manual eject hole. I know that aesthetics arenâ€™t paramount when buying an optical drive, but itâ€™s a shame that LG has given up its bit of individuality.
When it comes to compatibility LG is still top of the tree. Despite the fact that the NED ND-4550A supports DVD-RAM discs, LG has still managed to stay ahead of the competition by adding LightScribe support to the GSA-4166B. In case you donâ€™t know what LightScribe is, itâ€™s a method of disc labelling. Special LightScribe compatible discs can be flipped over in the drive, then an image can be burned onto the surface of the disc. This saves you having to write on your discs, or use sticky labels which can come off and get stuck inside slot loading players.
One criticism that has been levelled at LightScribe technology is the length of time that it takes to burn the image onto the disc. However, when Benny was at an LG event a few months back he was told that the LG LightScribe drive would be able to perform this feat in around five minutes! There was a fair bit of scepticism in response to that statement, and now that Iâ€™ve got my hands on the drive I can confirm that the scepticism was justified. In reality the GSA-4166B took a more realistic 21 minutes 18 seconds to burn an image onto a LightScribe disc â€“ that said, the LG is still significantly faster than the HP dvd640i that I tested back in July.