NEC – ND-2500A review

fast dual-format DVD writer
Photo of NEC – ND-2500A
£130 for retail package, £99 for OEM drive

There are certain phrases that demand attention and ‘world’s fastest’ is definitely one of them. Although we are now fully used to dual-format DVD writers, NEC has managed to create a milestone with the ND-2500A, which is the first DVD-R/+R drive capable of writing to both formats at 8x speed. It also writes to DVD+RW media at 4x while DVD-RW is limited to 2x. In addition it is a competent 32x/16x/40x CD-RW drive.

These are impressive numbers and it’s not as though NEC is charging much of a premium for the speed rating. NEC tells us it will ship the retail drive with version 6.0.0.28 SE of Nero, but we tested with a more recent version – 6.3.02 – that we happened to have about our person. Nero recognised the drive as a 6x drive, rather than an 8x drive, however we would expect that glitch to be sorted out with one of the regular software updates that Nero issues quite frequently.

The rest of the software package is comprehensive and includes InCD 4.0.12 S, Showbiz, Nerovision Express 2, My DVD 4.5.2, Cineplayer, Nero Showtime, Nero Recorder, Nero Backitup and NeroDigital (MPEG 4).

Although the ND-2500A looks as dull as the vast majority of optical drives on the market, it has all the features that you need. On the back are digital and analogue CD outputs, while on the front there’s a rotary volume control and a headphone jack. NEC hasn’t even tried to tart up the tray or bezel with a piece of cosmetic trim, but instead is relying on the specification of the ND-2500A to sell the drive.

Our testing suggests that this is a wise policy as the new 8x speed rating delivers the goods. We started by burning 4GB of mixed files to +R media using the previous generation ND-1300A running at 4x speed. That took 13mins 16secs, but when we switched over to the ND-2500A the same test took 10minutes 13seconds, which is over three minutes faster.

When you consider that there is more speed waiting to be unlocked just as soon as Nero correctly identifies the speed of the drive, it is clear that NEC has come up with a stunning new DVD writer.

Company: NEC

Contact: 020 8752 3665


Verdict
Put the new ND-2500A next to its forerunner, the ND-1300A, and you'll find it hard to tell the two drives apart, but once the new 8x dual format drive is up and running in your PC you'll be impressed by the increase in speed. It even offers good value for money.