Philips DVDRW228 DVD+RW review: Philips DVDRW228 DVD+RW

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MSRP: $479.99
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Includes good multimedia software bundle; easy to set up; offers buffer underrun protection; generally fast performance.

The Bad Lacks backup software.

The Bottom Line With its easy setup, fast write speeds, and good software package, the DVDRW228 is a good buy for movie mavens.

8.0 Overall

The DVDRW228 is Philips's second-generation DVD+RW drive. Like its predecessor, it reads and writes CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD+RW media. However, the new model also adds support for DVD+R write-once discs so that you can prevent important data from being overwritten. Philips rounds out the package with a multimedia-rich software bundle, making the DVDRW228 a must-have for digital movie lovers. The DVDRW228 is Philips's second-generation DVD+RW drive. Like its predecessor, it reads and writes CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD+RW media. However, the new model also adds support for DVD+R write-once discs so that you can prevent important data from being overwritten. Philips rounds out the package with a multimedia-rich software bundle, making the DVDRW228 a must-have for digital movie lovers.

Interactive install
Because the printed documentation included with the $449 DVDRW228 is astonishingly brief, the prospect of installation looks a little intimidating. But if you pop the included CD into a functioning optical drive on your computer before connecting the DVD+RW drive, everything becomes clear. The CD leads you through the entire process and includes a video describing how to connect the drive, so even novices should feel comfortable with the process. More printed material would be nice, but the CD contains a detailed manual and additional materials that should be sufficient for most users. The Philips drive is compatible with Windows 98, NT 4.0, 2000, Me, and XP.

The DVDRW228's software bundle is geared more toward multimedia tasks than data processing. It includes Sonic Solution's MyDVD 3.5, a simple DVD-authoring program, as well as Ahead Software's easy Nero Burning ROM 5.5, which is good for both DVD- and CD-writing tasks. You also get Pinnacle Systems' Pinnacle Studio software, a sophisticated movie-editing program, and CyberLink PowerDVD decoder software for watching DVD movies on your computer. The one hole in the software package is its lack of a backup utility; you can use Nero to create data discs, but it doesn't compare to a full-fledged backup application.

Burn, baby, burn
In CNET Labs' tests, the Philips DVDRW228 completed its tasks rapidly. It was faster at writing DVD+RW media than other drives we've tested but slowed a bit when reading separate files. This means the drive is better suited to applications that read large chunks of data sequentially, rather than dealing with several files at once, which is often required in data operations. To help make sure you get successful recordings every time, the drive uses Seamless Link technology, which protects against buffer underruns. It also uses Thermo Balance Writing, which adjusts the writing process to match the characteristics of your CD-R or CD-RW media.

The Philips DVDRW228 reads all common CD formats and can also write to inexpensive CD-Rs and CD-RWs. If you need more capacity than CDs offer, you can use 4.7GB DVD+RWs to archive large chunks of a multigigabyte hard drive. And because DVD+RW media is rewritable, you can easily write over the old data for subsequent backups.

Philips backs the DVDRW228 with a standard one-year exchange warranty. Toll-free tech support is available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. You can also chat live with Philips or send e-mail via the company's Web site. Unfortunately, the Web site is practically devoid of any information about the DVDRW228 as of press time.

Overall, the Philips DVDRW228 is a significant improvement over the previous model. If you want to work with digital photography, either still or motion, the DVDRW228 provides an excellent way to manage and distribute your files on discs that can be read in almost any DVD player.

Data write tests
Time, in minutes, to perform tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Write a 383MB file to rewritable media
Write 500MB directory to rewritable media
Philips DVDRW228 (DVD+RW)
1.98
2.85
Sony DRU120A (DVD+RW drive)
2.02
3.28
HP DVD-Writer DVD200i (DVD+RW drive)
2.00
5.82

Movie write tests
Movie files vary in size due to different compression rates, so write speed is measured in MB per second (longer bars indicate better performance)

HP DVD-Writer DVD200i (DVD+RW drive)
2.96
Philips DVDRW228 (DVD+RW)
2.48
Sony DRU120A (DVD+RW drive)
2.34

Read tests
Time, in minutes, to perform tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Copy the 383MB file from rewritable media to hard drive
Copy 500MB directory from rewritable media to hard drive
HP DVD-Writer DVD200i (DVD+RW drive)
1.04
2.21
Sony DRU120A (DVD+RW drive)
.77
2.48
Philips DVDRW228 (DVD+RW)
.76
2.59

The Philips DVDRW228 outpaced the Sony DRU120A and HP DVD-Writer DVD200i on most tests, but it fell behind on one of the read tests and during the movie-write benchmark.

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