Pioneer – DVR-A06 review

dual-format DVD writer
Photo of Pioneer – DVR-A06
£125

Pioneer has updated its DVR-A05 DVD writer and given it the catchy model name of DVR-A06. You can’t say that those marketing blokes miss a trick, can you? You may also come across the DVR-106 model, which is the OEM version.

The DVR-A06 is faster than the previous version, with write speeds of 4x for DVD-R and 2x for DVD-RW, which means that the drive matches most other DVD writers in terms of speed. Mind you, there is the notable exception of the Plextor PX-708A, which has an 8x DVD+R rating.

The other update between the last model and this is that the DVR-A06 is multi-format and can write to ‘plus’ format media as well as the ‘minus’ format. Here the speeds are slightly faster than the minus ratings with a DVD+R speed of 4x and DVD+RW 2.4x.

The difference between 2x and 2.4x may sound trivial, but DVD drives transfer data far faster than CD for the same nominal rating, so a 2x DVD is equivalent to a 23x CD and a 2.4x DVD is comparable with a 28x CD drive.

The DVD+R part of the drive is slightly faster than the DVD-R part, but there’s an additional factor to consider too. The ‘plus’ format is inherently faster than the ‘minus’ format as the drive only has to format media immediately before it is used, while ‘minus’ drives format the entire DVD first. That usually means that a ‘plus’ format drive springs into life as soon as you hit the Burn button.

However the Pioneer isn’t as responsive as we would have expected. We have to lay the blame at the door of the Pinnacle Instant CD/DVD software. Most drives are shipped with Nero and some come with B’s software, so it is quite unusual to see Pinnacle software in the box.

There’s nothing wrong with the software, you understand, and it is as easy to use as any package that we have seen. It is also comprehensively documented with a 246-page manual in PDF form on the CD, but we feel that another brand of software could accelerate the burning process.

There is more software in the package, with a copy of WinDVD 4 for movie playback as well as Pinnacle Studio 8 SE for movie editing. Pioneer has certainly supplied all the tools that you need to get the most from the DVR-A06, as well as one high-speed DVD-R disc and one high-speed DVD-RW disc. The media bears an ominous label, warning you not to use it in older DVD drives as they may be damaged by such use.

In addition to the high-speed, multi-format DVD abilities of this drive, you also get competent 16/10/32x CD-RW and a 12x DVD-ROM performance, and of course the drive supports Buffer Under-Run protection to ensure (in theory) that every disc you burn is perfect.

Company: Pioneer

Contact: 01753 789789


Verdict
Pioneer has produced a very competent multi-format drive in the DVR-A06. It has a decent specification and all the usual aesthetic beauty of a breeze-block. We're not convinced about the software, as the drive is slightly slower than we would expect, but it's a decent package that is fair value at the price.