Most helpful positive review
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Decent product with some missing features
on May 23, 2012
LightScribe technology lets you burn labels right into LightScribe-capable discs
quiet for slower operations
appears to be decent quality
handles all modern formats up to (not including) blu-ray
decent Windows software included
fast CD ripping
NO software included for Mac users
No obvious warranty beyond an Amazon 30-day return policy
According to LG Web site, product is discontinued
WHAT MODEL IS IT?
You'll notice that this Amazon product fails to list the model number anywhere. About the only thing you know when you order it is that it is a LG Super Speed USB 24X DVD blah blah blah. I guessed, correctly as it turns out, that it was the model GE24LU20. It may be that the difference is that this is the OEM version meaning, I guess, that this comes in a plain white box with a sticker with the model number, whereas the one Amazon lists with the model number may have a proper box. Same seller, same price, and who cares about the box anyway, since I'm just going to recycle it at the end of 30 days?
You might like to know that this drive is listed as discontinued on LG's Web site. I bought it knowing that, because the alternative was slower, flimsier, "slim" external drives. It may be that we are stuck in the gap before external blu-ray burners, or at least blu-ray player / dvd writers are out.
USING THE WEIRD POWER SUPPLY
I was genuinely puzzled by the power supply. Turns out this power supply has a cap you have to remove, then snap on a separate part in its place that adapts it to your local mains. There are no instructions to help you figure this out; you have to know to look for the part that fits your outlet. Once found, it is reasonably straightforward.
ATTENTION MAC USERS
The product says "compatible with Windows or Mac systems". Other reviewers say that the hardware works fine on Mac, but NOTE: THE SOFTWARE IS ALL FOR WINDOWS, NO MAC SOFTWARE on the included software disc. [UPDATE: according to a comment below, "Mac has its own software for anything you plug into it." I can't say whether that is true or not.]
Here's what's on the included software disc:
Power Tools (see below)
Norton Internet Security (60 days)
LG isn't doing a great job of supporting this drive, because they do not provide any of this software online for download, not even the manual. So make a backup of your software disk if you think any of it is useful to you.
The disc manual is a bit of a joke. It is in TIF format (and in several languages). I let the AutoRun program open it, and it started Photoshop, which is only capable of showing one page. I suppose it is probably some TIF format that has multiple pages, but I don't have a viewer for it, and I don't think there is one on the disc.
The unspecified "Power Tools" are by Cyberlink, which is a bad sign, based on my previous experience with their blue ray software. The programs are for Windows. They appear to be compatible with Windows 7; Mac users get nothing. Here's what we get:
Cyberlink LabelPrint 2.5 - "Create and print a variety of labels for your discs including cover pages, disc labels, and inlay sheets." It looks like this is what you have to use to use the LightScribe technology (burning labels directly onto LightScribe discs), because there is no printer driver to print to LightScribe.
LG Burning Tool (a.k.a Cyberlink Power2Go) - "Create discs by burning photo, music, and data files quickly and easily."
PowerBackup 2.5 - "Protect your valuable data by archiving files to your PC or a disc. Restore your data quickly and easily." Don't think I'll be using this; I have my own ways of backing up.
YouCam 2.0 - "A creative little program that provides you with some fun and interesting effects and add-ons for your webcam." Wonder what this has to do with a DVD burner though? They didn't include the webcam in the box.
LG F/W Update - "Download / update the latest drive firmware." If there is any.
USBFast - "in order to improve the writing performance with USB connection, please install USBFast program." I really hope I don't need to use this, because it sounds like a hack. USB is what it is, and should be fast enough for a DVD writer if it has adequate buffer memory. So far I have not used it and not had problems.
WARRANTY? WHAT WARRANTY?
It isn't at all clear that this product has any warranty at all. Check what DBROTH (the seller says) on their return and exchanges page: "The following items are not allowed for return/exchange under any circumstances if opened: [snip] Warranties" I suspect the best you can get is a 30-day return through Amazon.
WHAT YOU GET
The burner itself, which seems to be of decent quality. The power supply, 12 volts, 3 amps, which seems reasonably beefy for a unit like this. A USB cable of reasonable quality, though if your drive gets flakey, that would be the first thing I would try replacing. The software disc, and the printed instructions. All of this comes in a generic white box with a sticker with the model number on it.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
Once I figured out the trick with the power supply, I plugged it in, plugged in the USB, and it was pretty much plug and play with my Windows 7 laptop. Windows 7 installed whatever drivers were needed, and I was able to install the software on the included disk.
I made an ISO file, right clicked on it, and Cyberlink Power2Go (a.k.a. LG Burning Tool) was an available burner, so I tried it, it worked just fine. It correctly detected the 4x DVD+R disc in the drive. At 4x, the drive was nearly silent. All the discs I have made so far work just fine, and that without the USB speedup program running. However, I do not have the full range of discs that it supports. However, I WILL update this review as I try other discs.
An audio CD I made some time ago, which was a full 80 minutes long, ripped at the beginning at 50-10x (every drive starts slow), and reached top speeds of 41x, the fastest of any drive I have seen.
When you weigh the price against what you do and do not get, I would give this about 3 and 1/2 stars. The biggest concern to me is no meaningful warranty. A big concern to Mac folks is no software support. If I was a Mac user and had to buy my own burner software, especially if I could not find LightScribe support, I'd give it 3 stars.
As a Win7 user, I'll be optimistic and assume it will last for a few years, and round it up to four stars, meaning "I like it". Generally I find that computer hardware that is treated well and was not bought too cheaply from an unknown vendor does tend to last a few years, other reviews here not withstanding.
I always update reviews when something changes - something fails, or I discover something good that I didn't notice at first. If you don't see a prominent UPDATE, that means it is still working for me.
UPDATE 1/2/2013: This unit is still working flawlessly for me.