LG Electronics – 4120B review

all-format DVD writer, including DVD-RAM
Photo of LG Electronics – 4120B

In the world of DVD writers the state of the art is making rapid advances, and you’ll find LG right at the cutting edge with its GSA-4120B.

Last year the big question was whether a DVD writer supported either the DVD-R/-RW format or DVD+R/+RW, but this year every drive that we are interested in is dual format, supporting both Plus and Minus media.

In 2004 there have been the inevitable speed rises through 4x and 8x writing, and now dual layer / double layer (+R9) is rapidly becoming mainstream too, as you’ll recall from our review of the Sony DRU-700A.

Writing speeds are moving on from 8x to 12x and the next generation of drives are due out very soon with a writing speed of 16x on DVD+R media, which is phenomenal. Extra speed is welcome as it reduces the writing time for a DVD, however there is one standard that very few drives support, which is DVD-RAM.

DVD-RAM is an optical technology but it has more in common with a hard drive than a DVD-RW, as DVD-RAM allows the writing software to split up the files that you are using to make the most efficient use of the space on your DVD-RAM media. This is handy as DVD-RAM is expensive, costing about £20 for each 4.7GB disc. However it is almost infinitely reusable. The best way to think of DVD-RAM is as a removable hard drive, rather than as a DVD.

The LG GSA-4120B presented us with a few problems as we were unable to source blank media to test its 12x DVD+R rating, although the 8x DVD-R rating was trouble-free. Both +RW and -RW have a 4x speed rating but once again media is thin on the ground. The 2.4x dual layer speed is standard to all of the new dual layer drives, and then there’s the 5x DVD-RAM rating.

We have never even heard of DVD-RAM media that is rated higher than 3x so there is no way that we could test at maximum speed, but in many ways that doesn’t matter. Our tests and comparisons with other DVD writers suggest that the LG is slightly slower than its ratings would suggest, but it is still very fast even compared to drives from a few months ago.

Of course the real strength of the GSA-4120B is its support for every current DVD format under the sun, so how much would you expect to pay for such an impressive drive? We were amazed to find that the LG is one of the cheapest DVD writers on the market, and for your money you also get a full software package of Nero Express 6, InCD, PowerProducer Gold and Cyberlink PowerDVD.

Company: LG Electronics

Contact: 0870 607 5544

Although the LG GSA-4120B isn't quite as fast as its speed ratings suggest, it still does a fine job and its support for Plus, Minus, Dual Layer and DVD-RAM standards means it is a winner in any competition. Its price tag is absurdly low making the LG amazing value for money and highly recommended.