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.
In the end, the CD-2056E retains its Leaderboard spot; however, the earns LTN526S an honorable mention and Safe Buy.