Ricoh's MP7200A proves it's possible to bring tangible improvements to burner performance beyond 16X CLV speeds. In summary, its strengths include:
- Fastest writing speeds yet tested.
- Zone-CLV means <20X write speeds are minimized to the first 13% of a CD-R blank.
- 12X and 16X-rated media works fine at 20X.
- Fastest overall read speeds yet see in application-level tests.
- Audio extraction speed and quality equals the best tested in a burner.
- Competitive rewrite and packet-writing performance.
- Unobtrusive noise and heat levels.
- Excellent pricing/value.
- Availability is extremely limited in the U.S.
- Duplicating data CDs at 20X with Nero's CD Copy occasionally causes JustLink activations. These are reduced, but not always eliminated by maximizing Nero's RAM buffer and disc cache.
- JustSpeed appears to be too conservative with some media.
- CD-DA error correction is only average.
Even minor criticisms of the drive are apt be rectified: the problem with CD Copy can likely be fixed with an upgrade from Ahead or a firmware update from Ricoh; the manufacturer will continually issue updated firmware revisions. Popularity of the drive may induce other U.S. vendors to start importing the drive. Not to mention companies like Aopen, known to base their drives on Ricoh technology, will likely make variations of this drive more commonplace in the States.
Overall, the MP7200A delivers the best combination of performance and value in a burner and give it an easy recommendation.