The BenQ DW1670 is the only retail box product in this little roundup, so its recommended retail price (it doesnâ€™t seem to be available on the street yet) of Â£37.58 makes it considerably more expensive than the other two drives on test. So the question you have to ask yourself is whether you need the bundled software and mounting screws or not.
If this roundup was going to be decided on looks alone, the BenQ would win hands down. The front fascia of this drive has a translucent blue strip running across its width, straight through the middle. Thereâ€™s a large, square eject button, a manual eject hole and an indicator light integrated into the blue strip. You even get both black and cream fasciaâ€™s in the box to make sure that the DW1670 matches your machine. All very stylish indeed â€“ well as stylish as a DVD writer can be.
The official specs are quite interesting since BenQ states that the DW1670 will write DVD+R DL media at 8x and DVD-R DL at only 4x. This is interesting since the BenQ turned in faster write times than the Sony when using DVD-R DL media, even though the Sony is rated at 8x. The rest of the specs include 16x DVD-R & DVD+R writing, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 5x DVD-RAM, 40x CD-R and 24x CD-RW.
But how do those specs equate to performance? Well if youâ€™re looking to burn a lot of dual layer discs, things are looking pretty rosy. Using DVD+R DL media, the DW1670 turned in times of 10 minutes 16 seconds for the 7.9GB large files burn and 10 minutes 41 seconds for the 8.1GB of mixed digital images. The Pioneer may have beaten the BenQ by a couple of minutes in the first of these tests, but the BenQ is much faster in the second one.
DVD-RW was a bit of a mixed bag. While all the write tests were suitably fast, at and around the 10 minute mark, the DW1670 took over 15 minutes to format a disc. DVD-RAM performance was the best on test, but the rest of the numbers were pretty average across the board.
In the box youâ€™ll find the drive, the second face plate, mounting screws and Nero OEM suite to get you going straight away. The lack of an IDE cable is somewhat annoying when youâ€™re paying a premium for a retail box, but BenQ isnâ€™t the only company to do this.
Thereâ€™s no doubt that the DW1670 is a good drive, and it really is great to see some design effort going into a device like this. Unfortunately, the Pioneer is faster and considerably cheaper, and the retail bundle offered by BenQ just isnâ€™t compelling enough to justify the extra cost. Of course when this drive hits a few online retailers you may find it for less than the price quoted here, but it will still be a step behind the Pioneer in the performance stakes.
The DW1670 is a fine DVD writer with solid performance and a stylish design. Unfortunately for BenQ, the Pioneer DVR-111 offers better performance at a lower price.