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Lite-On LTN526S - Conclusion

  September 20, 2001 Author: Tim Zakharov  


Lite-On comes through with a solid CD-ROM offering.

In summary, its strengths include:

  • Audio advance button in addition to tray eject button
  • Excellent performance in file and disc copy tests
  • Above average DAE speed and quality
  • Excellent error correction during CD-DA playback

The drive's weak areas are:

  • Pricing a bit higher than the competition
  • Sparse retail accoutrements
  • Lower-than-expected performance in the Winmark tests
  • Accurate streaming not detected by CDSpeed99
  • Read performance with CD-RW media is slower than the competition
The LTN526S is a Leaderboard contender. Compared directly to the current Leaderboard champ, the two drives trade strengths and weaknesses.

Afreey's CD-2056E takes the majority of the low-level categories as well as the CD-ROM Winmark test. It also maintains an advantage in audio extraction tests. Unfortunately, CD-CHECK tests commenced after the Afreey was returned to the manufacturer, so we cannot compare CD-DA playback error correction (where the LTN526S excels).

Lite-On's drive overtakes the CD-2056E in CD-RW transfer rate and access times, and in the disc copy test, while remaining competitive in most of the other categories.

The Safe Buy Award

Simply put, this designation means we'd purchase this product without regret. Sure, there may be a slightly better, slightly faster, and/or slightly less-expensive model from a competitor, but you can't go wrong with this particular unit. This award is applicable, of course, to all units at the top of their class, but also applies to units that, though not quite best-of-class, provide a strong showing nonetheless. In the end, the CD-2056E retains its Leaderboard spot; however, the earns LTN526S an honorable mention and Safe Buy.


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