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LG BE06 External Blu-ray Rewriter review: LG BE06 External Blu-ray Rewriter

LG's external Blu-ray writer is huge, but does the job. We're still not in the age of Blu-ray though, and we wonder if we ever will be.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
3 min read

Design

LG's external Blu-ray writer is, in a word, huge. It's an internal 5.25-inch drive jammed in a fairly attractive shiny plastic case; however, the case itself is another 70mm deeper than this, making the writer an ungainly 260mm long. The reason for the extra length is the inclusion of a SATA to USB logic board, as the drive hooks up over USB 2.0. This means it has a maximum theoretical throughput of 480Mbps, or 60MBps — this isn't a hindrance though, as 6x Blu-ray write equates to 27MBps at its peak speed.

8.0

LG BE06 External Blu-ray Rewriter

The Good

Comprehensive format support. Writes up to 6x on Blu-ray. Reasonably priced.

The Bad

The device is large. USB 2.0 interface. 6x Blu-ray media not available. Requires a power brick.

The Bottom Line

LG's BE06 is a good drive for a reasonable price — we'd imagine the market for external Blu-ray writers is quite small, but if you have the need, check this one out.

A capacitive eject button rather than a physical one is featured on the front, but nonetheless is still represented by a raised silver section. An emergency eject hole is featured on the white fascia, while below this is a blue light that flashes when the drive is in use.

On the rear there's a power jack for the included power brick, and a USB connector for hooking up to the PC. Given the unit's size, it's interesting LG has opted to use an external power brick rather than just putting it inside the case itself, which would aid portability.

A white stand to hold the drive vertically was included in the box, as was a TDK BD-RE 2x, a manual and Cyberlink's BD & HD-DVD Solution software, featuring PowerDVD, PowerProducer, Power2Go, Instant Burn, Power Backup and BD Advisor.

Features

While it has support for reading the now defunct HD-DVD format, the jewel in this drive's crown is the Blu-ray write support — supporting up to 6x write speed for single layer discs, and 4.8x speed for dual-layer. Of course, finding media that supports 6x speeds is next to impossible, so most will have to settle with 4x. BD-RE is still stuck at 2x for both writing speed and media, as it has been for quite some time. The drive also supports DVD+-R writing at 16x, DVD+-R DL at 4x, DVD-RW at 6x, DVD+RW at 8x and CD-R writing at 40x.

Performance

Loading up ImgBurn and setting it to Discovery Mode, the LG burned the supplied TDK 25GB BD-RE 2x disc in 40 minutes and 25 seconds.

The biggest problem with the LG isn't the drive itself — it's the availability and cost of media. Blu-ray media price has come down a lot since the last time we looked at a Blu-ray burner, with the price for single layer, 25GB discs on Staticice coming in at around AU$15 for decent media, rated at 2x write. Unfortunately 4x writeable media is still too expensive for most with a hefty AU$20 price tag, once you remove the cheap, poor quality discs from the equation.

Blu-ray writer adoption itself also has a huge enemy — the humble hard drive. For AU$90 you can pick up a 500GB hard drive, backup to it at a much faster rate, disconnect it and put it on the shelf. A 4x Blu-ray disc costs $0.80 per gigabyte. A 500GB hard drive is around $0.18 per gigabyte. It's a tough hill it has to climb.

LG's BE06 is a good drive for a reasonable price — and can be found for up to AU$100 cheaper than the RRP. We'd imagine the market for external Blu-ray writers is quite small, but if you have the need, check this one out.