“ HP DVD556S - Disk drive - DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM - 8x/8x/5x - Hi-Speed USB - external - LightScribe 1.2 „
I bought this initially as a secondary drive, mainly for Lightscribe labelling. I was pleasantly surprised at how flexible it was, and how many other ways the small portable DVD drive has come in useful since I purchased it.
Physically, it is small and very light. The rubber feet underneath prevent it slipping when it runs, and reduce vibration to a minimum. The only status indicator is the green LED on top, which lights up when the drive is on, or flashes when it is receiving too little power. This is actually all you need. The drive tray is controlled by a button press on the front.
As well as playing and burning CDs and DVDs, it also has Lightscribe labelling capability. Lightscribe is a system that lets you burn labels onto specially-made CDs and DVDs using the drive laser, as a form of wasteless labelling. Although the images are in greyscale, it can produce photographic images on the disc's surface in very high quality, and this drive produces excellent results.
I use this mainly as a burner and Lightscribe labeller. At 8x for burning data it is not particularly fast, but I haven't had any problems with discs failing. The speed is fine for CDs, or even DVDs if you aren't burning a lot. The fact it is portable enough to use where you may not otherwise have a burner available is a real bonus.
The Lightscribe labelling quality is excellent, sharp, and the drive supports the darker burn option that some Lightscribe software offers. After burning several discs (after an hour or so of continous burning) the drive can get quite hot, so it is as well to make sure it is in a cool area if you are working in bulk. However, even so there is no appreciable drop off in burn quality. Since Lightscribe labels are burned at a fixed speed, the drive's 8x speed isn't a drawback for label burning.
As a player, it is light, portable, and easy to use. It works well with most laptops I've encountered and can be easily swapped. The drive is plug and play, and was very easy to set up. Simply connect it via USB and let the computer find it. (One problem I did have on initial set up was that my Lightscribe software did not recognise it, but this was quickly solved by going to the Lightscribe site and following instructions.)
The power supply is the only drawback. The drive has a single USB connection, but the cable splits to two connections for the computer end. This is because one USB slot may not supply the power it needs (particularly for lightscribe work) so you connect the second USB plug to another port to give it extra power. However, the power USB does not have to be plugged into the same computer, so any USB power supply can be used. Alternatively if you use a USB hub with an independant power supply, this can be sufficient to remove the second cable lead.
If you are using it with a laptop to burn discs, it can quickly deplete the laptop's battery without a secondary power supply. There is no power button - if it is plugged in to a power supply, it is on - so if you are using an independant power source make sure to shut it down when you are finished.
As a secondary DVD drive for a computer, or even a stand-alone drive for a netbook or laptop, this is very good quality, particularly for its price.
HP's multi-format drive offers high speeds and double-layer recording, and it's LightScribe version 1.2 ready for high-contrast LightScribe labeling. It lets users easily preserve, edit and share up to 8.5 GB of video, photos, and multimedia presentations on one double-layer disc - and quickly store, back up and transport files on DVDs and CDs.
The dvd556s, with its sleek, compact, and USB powered design, gives the user a state of the art optical storage solution on the go. LED power indicator detects USB power sufficiency, and provides signals to the user whether a second USB connection will be needed for DVD write operations.
|Product Description:||HP DVD556S - DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM drive - Hi-Speed USB|
|Device Type:||DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM drive|
|Optical Storage:||DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM|
|Read Speed:||24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)|
|Write Speed:||24x (CD) / 8x (DVD±R) / 6x (DVD±R DL)|
|CD / DVD Rewrite Speed:||24x (CD) / 6x (DVD-RW) / 8x (DVD+RW) / 5x (DVD-RAM)|
|Disc Labeling Technology:||LightScribe Media Version 1.2 Coating Technology|
|OS Required:||Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4, Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Microsoft Windows Vista|