Plextor's new 16X writer compares favorably to the other 16X burner we've tested: Yamaha's CRW2100. While both face spindown issues in certain tests, the PX-W1610TA backs its spotty read performance up with the best DAE speed and quality we've seen from a CD-RW. In addition, the Plextor maintains a 4% advantage in write speeds and 20% lead in rewrite speeds while providing vastly superior packet-writing performance and much quieter operation.
The real challenge comes from TEAC's CD-W512E, a 12X writer. Despite its 32X reads, the TEAC is arguably the quicker unit due to its 87 ms access times. Indeed, to us it feels more responsive when reading from a variety of pressed discs. However, the TEAC simply cannot keep up the pace in DAE and burning.
So it comes down to individual priorities - if one is shopping for a well-balanced, inexpensive unit to serve as one's main reader and writer, the TEAC offers an excellent alternative to the latest 16X burners. However, for those who already own a quick reader and are looking for the quickest write, rewrite and DAE performance, Plextor's PX-W1610TA is currently the drive to beat.