HP DVD-Writer DVD100i drive review: HP DVD-Writer DVD100i drive

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Burns DVD movies or data on rewritable media; faster than competing DVD-R drives; also writes to CD-R and CD-RW.

The Bad DVD+RW media is not as compatible with older drives and players as DVD-R; drive won't support upcoming (and more compatible) DVD+R media.

The Bottom Line The DVD100i is an excellent, speedy drive for backup or for authoring DVD movies that will work in newer players. However, it can't match a DVD-R drive for compatibility with older drives and players.

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If speed were the only measure, Hewlett Packard's DVD-Writer DVD100i would have a clear lead among the emerging DVD-storage technologies: DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW. This jack-of-all-trades DVD+RW HP drive handily outperforms its rivals, such as QPS's DVD burner (DVD-RAM/R) and Pioneer's DVR-A03 (a.k.a. Apple's or LaCie's SuperDrive). It also functions as a 12X/10X/32X CD-R/RW drive and an 8X DVD-ROM. If speed were the only measure, Hewlett Packard's DVD-Writer DVD100i would have a clear lead among the emerging DVD-storage technologies: DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW. This jack-of-all-trades DVD+RW HP drive handily outperforms its rivals, such as QPS's DVD burner (DVD-RAM/R) and Pioneer's DVR-A03 (a.k.a. Apple's or LaCie's SuperDrive). It also functions as a 12X/10X/32X CD-R/RW drive and an 8X DVD-ROM.

At $599 retail, the DVD100i debuts at a far lower price point than the $999 Pioneer DVR-A03 did last spring. However, thanks to a series of price drops, the DVR-A03 is now available for about $450 on the street, compared to $525 for the DVD100i. Thus, the DVD100i is both costlier and less compatible than its DVD-R competition. However, as we already mentioned, its performance trounces that of its rivals. Based on specs, the HP DVD100i writes to its native DVD+RW discs at a whopping 3.32MB per second (2.4X) compared to the QPS 's 1.38MB per second. CNET Labs' tests showed that for backing up data or writing movie files, the DVD100i was nearly twice as fast as the Que DVD burner; HP's product was also slightly faster when reading data from DVD. And it should easily outpace the slower DVR-A03 (a mere 8X/4X/32X drive) at CD-related tasks.

The DVD100i's out-of-box experience seems better suited to savvier users than novices. The multilingual installation guide is barely enough to get you started, but there's a setup video on the software CD, and the software installation itself is painless. An IDE cord, a drive-to-sound-card cable, and a single DVD+RW disc also come with the drive. Additional DVD+RW media is available for a reasonable $10 to $16 a pop.

Through a mirror darkly
The trouble with DVD+RW is compatibility. The media has low reflectivity; thus, it's not nearly as compatible with legacy DVD-ROM drives and DVD movie players as the high-reflectivity DVD-R media supported by the SuperDrive and DVD-RAM/R drives. This makes sharing data or movies with friends via DVD+RW potentially problematic. The DVD+RW developers group will be introducing a high-reflectivity DVD+R media that should be readable by more drives and players. However, the DVD100i won't be able to write to DVD+R without a firmware upgrade, which HP doesn't plan on providing. At least the company doesn't try to whitewash the compatibility issue--it lists all the current drives and players that can read DVD+RW media on its Web site.

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Where to Buy

HP DVD-Writer DVD100i drive

Part Number: C9619AABA

MSRP: $444.43

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Write Speed 12x (CD) / 4x (DVD)
  • Rewrite Speed 10x (CD) / 2x (DVD)
  • Weight 2 lbs
  • Type DVD+RW
  • Read Speed 32x (CD) / 8x (DVD)