Lite-On eNAU608 external DVD writer review

External DVD Rewriter
Photo of Lite-On eNAU608 external DVD writer
£30 (£25 ex VAT) from www.buy.com

Adding a DVD rewriter to a PC that doesn’t have one, whether it’s a netbook, laptop or older desktop, is no longer an expensive business. This little drive from Lite-On has an RRP of £51, but we were able to find it for around £30.

It’s a small, glossy black device with a single mini-USB socket at the back to connect the supplied two-headed lead. The second large head is in case you need to connect to two USBs on your PC. In our tests, a single connection worked fine and supplied all the power needed by the device.

The drive is notebook-style, slimline and with a pop-open tray, and is rated at 8x for DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-R and 6x for DVD-RW. Under test, this equates to around 11 minutes to record a full 4.7GB of data, and under 10 minutes to read it back. DVD-RW took 15 minutes to write. These are fair speeds for this type of drive.

Skins and tags
There are two features that distinguish the eNAU608 from a lot of external DVD drives at similar prices: skins and LabelTag. The drive has a removable, transparent top, under which you can slip any of eight patterned cards to personalise it. You can make your own, too, with a sheet of A4 glossy photo paper and an inkjet printer. Gimmick? Certainly, but quite a fun one.

LabelTag could be more useful. It’s a way of labelling a CD or DVD simultaneously with recording data or music on it. It uses the same laser that burns the binary pits in the disc surface to etch text or simple graphics onto the outside edge of the recorded side of it. The advantage is that it doesn’t require special discs to do this; the disadvantage is that it reduces the amount of data the disc can hold. Even a very small text band takes around 500MB off the capacity a DVD, for example.

So where does it say?
Very little documentation is provided for LabelTag, but when you check the box in the supplied copy of Nero 9 Essentials, an extra dialogue pops up, so you can type the text you want to record and select font and size, and so on. The drive supports LightScribe, too, so if you prefer to write your labels on the top side of your discs, that’s also an option.

Test results
Write 4.7GB (min:sec)
DVD+R 11:44
DVD-R 10:53
DVD-RW 15:07

Read 4.7GB (min:sec)
DVD+R 9:46
DVD-R 9:46
DVD-RW 9:51

Company: Lite-On

Contact: 0031 40 250 8000 (Holland)

Positives
  • Case covers to personalise drive and LabelTag to label any disc.
Negative
  • Very little documentation provided.

Verdict

This is a neat little external drive that adds the ability to read and write most forms of DVD to just about any machine. The two extras are case covers and LabelTag - worth having at the price, as is the standard-but-competent Nero.