What's in the box?:

  • Plextor PX-LB950UE Blu-ray Disc Writer
  • CyberLink BD Suite Software Disc
  • PlexUtilities Software Disc
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • USB 3.0 Cable
  • eSATA Cable
  • AC Power Adapter
  • Drive Stand
  • Dust Cloth
  • Warranty Information

Physical Features:

The drive Plextor sent us for this review was manufactured in March of 2011 and had firmware 1.01. This is the newest firmware currently available for the PX-LB950UE.

From the front, the PX-LB950UE looks nothing like its internal counterpart, the PX-LB950SA. Plextor's new external Blu-ray Disc writer sports a more sophisticated look thanks in part to its glossy plastic and chrome highlights. The PX-LB950UE also has its share of logos. Along with the large "Plextor" and "PX-LB950UE" logos, you can one showing support for HP's LightScribe technology.

While it's hard to see, there is a small LED below the PX-LB950UE's tray. Off by default, this LED lights up green whenever the drive is reading or writing.

The PX-LB950UE shares the same basic enclosure design as Plextor's other external drives. Relatively compact for an external Blu-ray Disc writer, it measures 163 x 51.5 x 224.7 mm (6.42 x 2.03 x 8.85 in) and weighs in at 1.1 kg (2.43 lbs). Like the front bezel, the enclosure is made out of glossy black plastic. While this looks nice, finger prints and smudges have a tendency to stand out.

In case you missed the fact that PX-LB950UE is capable of reading and writing to Blu-ray media, there is an extra large Blu-ray Disc logo on top of the drive. On the bottom, the drive has four small rubber feet to keep it from sliding around when placed on a flat surface. The PX-LB950UE can also be positioned vertically using the included drive stand.

The rear of Plextor's new external drive has its share of connectors. Starting from the left, you can see its USB 3.0 and eSATA ports, power connector and on/off switch.

Technical Specs:

Most of the specs below have been taken from Plextor's website and the manual that came with the drive.

  Plextor PX-LB950UE 12x Blu-ray Disc Writer
BD-R Write Speeds 12x (CAV)
10x, 8x, 6x (P-CAV)
4x, 2x (CLV)
BD-R DL Write Speeds 8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2x (CLV)
BD-R LTH Write Speeds 6x (P-CAV)
4x, 2x (CLV)
BD-RE Write Speeds 2x (CLV)
DVD+R Write Speeds 16x, 12x (CAV)
8x (P-CAV)
6x (CLV)
DVD+RW Write Speeds 8x (Z-CLV)
6x, 4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD-R Write Speeds 16x, 12x (CAV)
8x (P-CAV)
6x, 4x (CLV)
DVD-RW Write Speeds 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2x (CLV)
DVD+R DL Write Speeds 8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 2.4x (CLV)
DVD-R DL Write Speeds 8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x (CLV)
DVD-RAM Write Speeds 12x, 5x (P-CAV)
3x, 2x (CLV)
CD Write Speeds 48x (CAV)
40x, 32x, 24x (P-CAV)
16x (CLV)
CD Rewrite Speeds 24x (Z-CLV)
16x, 10x, 4x (CLV)
BD Read Speeds 8x Max (BD-ROM Single Layer)
8x Max (BD-ROM Dual Layer)
8x Max (BD-R/RE)
8x Max (BD-R DL)
6x Max (BD-RE DL)
6x Max (BD-R LTH)
DVD Read Speeds 16x Max (DVD-ROM Single Layer)
12x Max (DVD-ROM Dual Layer)
16x Max (DVD±R)
12x Max (DVD±R DL)
12x Max (DVD±RW)
12x Max (DVD-RAM)
CD Read Speeds 48x Max (CD-ROM/CD-R)
40x Max (CD-RW)
DAE Speeds 48x Max
Buffer Size 8 MB
Access Times
250 ms (BD)
160 ms (DVD)
160 ms (CD)
CD Formats CD-DA
Video CD
Photo CD
CD Text
BD Formats BD-ROM
BD Recording Modes Sequential Recording (BD-R)
Random Recording (BD-RE)
DVD Recording Modes Disc At Once
Incremental Recording
Restricted Overwrite (DVD-RW)
Random Write (DVD+RW/DVD-RAM)
Layer Jump (DVD-R DL)
CD Recording Modes Disc At Once
Session At Once
Track At Once
Fixed and Variable Packet Writing


The PX-LB950UE is the first Blu-ray Disc writer from Plextor to feature support for LightScribe technology. Developed by HP, LightScribe lets you burn durable, silk screen quality labels directly onto your CD's and DVD's using the same drive that burned the data. According to HP, it's as simple as burning the data, flipping the disc, and then burning the label.

Of course you can't do this with just any drive, media or software. While LightScribe capable drives use the same laser when burning both the data and label, they have to be able to accurately control the laser's focus and position as well as the spindle speed. They also must be able to recognize LightScribe media. These special discs have a thin dye coating on the label side that absorbs laser light. This triggers a chemical reaction that produces a color change, allowing the user to print text, artwork or graphics.

Even if you have a LightScribe capable drive and media, you will need software that supports it. Most major software companies have pledged support for the technology. However, at the time of this review, the list of compatible software is still relatively short. For the PX-LB950UE, Plextor turned to CyberLink. Using the bundled LabelPrint software you can create and burn LightScribe disc labels.

Once you've created your LightScribe label, you're ready to print it. Before you can do this though, you will need to choose the contrast. Keep in mind this option not only changes the level of detail, it also affects the amount of time it takes to print the label. The higher the quality, the longer the process will take.

More Features:

By looking at the picture below, you can see that Plextor's new Blu-ray Disc writer is identified as a "PLEXTOR BD-R PX-LB950UE."

Nero also shows that the PX-LB950UE has a maximum CD writing speed of 48x and a 8192KB buffer. This buffer is also backed up by Plextor's BURN-Proof buffer underrun protection. According to Nero, the PX-LB950UE can also write CD-Text and overburn. When testing the drive's capacity, it had no problems overburning up to 99 minutes with our CompUSA media. 

Using Alex Noe's Weak Sector Utility we were able to determine that the PX-LB950UE is a "two sheep" burner and is capable of backing titles protected by SafeDisc 2.90. Like most drives, it did not pass the "three sheep" test.

Here is a screen shot from Erik Deppe's Opti Drive Control. Among other things, this program queries the drive to see what its reading and writing capabilities are. Opti Drive Control had no problems detecting the PX-LB950UE's reading and writing speeds and supported disc types.

Opti Drive Control also shows that the PX-LB950UE is an RPC-2 DVD drive. This means that the drive's region is stored in the firmware. The region can be changed five times and after that it cannot be changed anymore. While there isn't an RPC-1 firmware available for the drive, there is a utility available that can make the drive region free.

While Opti Drive Control gives us a quick glance at the PX-LB950UE's features, DVDINFOpro provides a little more information on some of the drive's reading and writing capabilities. By looking at the screenshot above you can see that Plextor's new drive can read and write to most BD and DVD formats.

The PX-LB950UE also supports a feature called "bitsetting." Using CD Speed, PlexUtilities or Lite-On's BookType Utility, you can set the book type for DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD+R DL media. By doing so, your recorded discs will identify themselves as "DVD-ROM." This feature comes in handy if you have an older DVD player that has problems playing recordable media.