The iHES208 is a good example of what we've come to expect from Lite-On. While affordably priced, it offers a long list of features as well as some of the fastest reading and writing speeds available on a BD combo drive. As impressive as all this is, it's hard to ignore the fact that the iHES208 still has a few rough spots that need to be worked out.
Using the bundled software, the iHES208 played all of the Blu-ray movies I had on hand, including those protected by BD+ and with BD-Live enabled features. The drive also performed fairly well in our transfer rate tests, reading single layer BD-ROM's at 8x and BD-R and BD-R DL media at 6x. My only real disappointment came when reading dual layer BD-ROM's, as the iHES208's read speed was limited to only 4x.
With a maximum DVD±R writing speed of 16x, the iHES208 is no match for the current crop of DVD writers. Nevertheless, it was faster than most of the Blu-ray drives I've tested, taking less than 6 minutes to burn an entire 4.7GB DVD. The drive also had no problems holding its own when writing to other types of media. However, the writing quality could have been better with some DVD±R DL discs. Nevertheless, the iHES208 was fairly quick when reading DVD's. In our tests, it was able to read single layer DVD-ROM's and DVD±R discs at 16x and other recordable media at 12x.
Reading CD's wasn't a problem for the iHES208 either. In our tests, the drive read pressed and CD-R media at speeds as high as 48x and CD-RW discs at 39x. On top of that, it was able to rip audio CD's at an impressive 47x. Unfortunately, when it came to writing CD's, the iHES208's performance was hit and miss. While the drive turned in some impressive times when writing to CD-R discs, its Z-CLV writing method put it at a slight disadvantage in our rewriting tests. The iHES208's writing quality also could have been better as there were a few cases where the error rates were fairly high.
When it comes to features, the iHES208 definitely delivers. Along with old favorites like SMART-BURN and SMART-X, it supports a number of Lite-On's more advanced technologies including SmartWrite and OverSpeed. The drive also has a good number of writing and rewriting speeds to choose from and has the ability to set the book type of DVD+R/RW and DVD+R DL media. Last but not least, the iHES208 features HP's LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling system. An alternative to markers and stick-on labels, LightScribe lets you burn graphics and text onto the tops of specially coated discs.
In the end, it usually comes down to price. For what it offers, Lite-On's BD combo drive is surprisingly affordable. The retail version of the iHES208 can be purchased for less than $115 through the vendors listed on Pricegrabber.
8x Blu-ray Combo
- Reads single layer BD-ROM's at 8x
- Reads BD-R and BD-RE media at 6x
- Writes to DVD-R and DVD+R media at 16x
- Writes to DVD+RW media at 8x
- Writes to DVD-RW media at 6x
- Reads and writes DVD-RAM media at 12x
- Reads single layer DVD-ROM's at 16x
- Reads DVD±R media at 16x
- Reads DVD±RW and DVD±R DL media at 12x
- Features 48x CD-R and 24x CD-RW writing speeds
- Good DVD±R writing quality
- Low seek times
- Supports SMART-BURN, SMART-X, SmartWrite and OverSpeed technologies
- Includes software from CyberLink
- Supports 99 minute CD-R media
- Serial ATA interface
- Supports LightScribe technology
- Includes both black and silver bezels
- Can do write quality testing with BD media
- Supports bitsetting for DVD+R/RW and DVD+R DL media
- Affordably priced
- Reads dual layer BD-ROM's and BD-R DL media at only 4x
- Questionable writing quality with some CD-R and DVD±R DL media
- Slower than other drives when writing to CD-RW and DVD-RW media
- Only a 2MB buffer