On the whole, the LTD163 paints one of the most complete DVD-ROM pictures we've yet seen.
In summary, its strengths include:
- DVD playback software included with retail package
- Audio track advance button in addition to eject button
- Low pricing
- CD and CD-R transfer rates outperform all competitors
- Excellent performance in file and disc copy tests
- Quickest DAE ever measured from a single-beam reader
- Fastest DVD transfer rates
- Drive is extremely quiet when playing DVD-Videos
The drive's weak areas are:
- Often reduces spindle speeds when reading from some pressed CDs, especially in conjunction with random accesses
- IDE cable not included in retail package
- Documentation is sparse
- DAE quality falters slightly with more scratched CDs
- CD-DA playback error correction only average
- Transfer rates slower than competition with CD-RW media
Overall, we are very impressed with Lite-On's latest DVD-ROM drive. It shatters DVD-ROM barriers in transfer rates and DAE speed while providing quiet operation during movie playback. On the other hand, the drive could use some work with DAE quality with more banged up discs, and perhaps in a related matter, improve its playback error correction with audio CDs. Perhaps these minor infractions may be eliminated with firmware tweaks.
In the end, the drive easily impresses us enough to supplant the Pioneer DVD-116 for a coveted Leaderboard spot.