There really isn’t a lot of testing that can be done with a product like this, so I simply decided to watch a movie, and note my experiences with it.
The movie I ran with was Batman: Dark Knight, a very fancy movie to watch in full 1080p HD. I had to load up the bundled copy of PowerDVD10 to get it to work correctly; Blu Ray supporting PowerDVD9 was no good apparently.
Once 10 was in, booted the film up. Of course this being a blu-ray it took a little while to load up, but thanks to the 12x spin speed of this Liteon drive, it wasn’t too bad. 10-15 seconds tops. Also, it was whisper quiet, which is always nice as there’s nothing worse than a whizzing away optical drive as a sound bed underneath your movie’s soundtrack and dialogue; Xbox 360 owners know what I’m talking about.
This is actually all handled by Liteon’s Smart-X technology which apparently adjusts the spin speed based on what you’re doing. Data transfer and burning? You get the full 12x. However if you’re watching a movie, this ODD powers down to a more respectable speed (the first gen Blu-Rays were 2x, so I assume around that sort of speed) which helps keep the noise output down.
There’s also the ability to lightscribe with this reader/writer, but unfortunately not having any burnable blu-rays to hand I was unable to test this feature.
DVD playback is equally as good, spinning up instantly and not requiring a load time like Blu Ray, but it was similarly quiet during playback which I was pleased to see.
The Liteon iHES212 12x Blu Ray reader/writer will run you around £60. It’s not a massive ammount considering just the standard player alone would cost you over £30.