With a street price of just $99 (as of October 2004), the Toshiba SD-R5272 is a multiformat, single-layer DVD burner that won't break anybody's bank. It's not a performance champ, but neither is it the slowpoke its low price would suggest. In short, this is a well-rounded, average-speed drive. It's easy to install, thanks to solid documentation, and it comes with superb software. Toshiba's Web site could do a little better in the support department, but we wouldn't let that stop us from snapping up this bargain-priced burner.
Like most ATAPI/EIDE drives, the SD-R5272 is a snap to install. Toshiba supplies both a quick-start guide and a more complete instruction manual, but the former should be sufficient for most users--even those who don't regularly visit the inside of their PCs. It clearly illustrates the various master/slave jumper settings and explains in plain English how to set them. We particularly liked the Media Recommendations section, an at-a-glance guide to recommended speeds for the types of blank discs the drive supports (everything from CD-R to DVD+RW).
The only software to install is the included Ahead Nero OEM Suite, which is identical to Web site, fetch the patches, and install them yourself. Otherwise, it's an excellent tool for authoring CDs and DVDs, making backups, creating slide shows, and even copying dual-layer DVDs to single-layer media.save for the lack of a printed manual. It's the original 6.0 version, which is known to be highly buggy, so you'll want to download the latest patches. Unfortunately, Nero can't do this automatically--you have to visit the company's
Like any good burner, the SD-R5272 handles the big four DVD formats: DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW. It burns write-once media at 8X, rewritable media at 4X, and CD-RW media at a surprisingly slow 10X. That's probably not a deal breaker for most users, save those who regularly make backups using rewritable CDs, but it's worth noting that most other drives muster at least 16X for CD-RW.
The drive's design is as basic as it gets, with an off-white bezel (a black-bezel version is also available) and a single LED. Toshiba supplies just one piece of blank media: an 8X DVD+R disc.