* Prices may differ from that shown
Reviewing a blank recordable DVD (or any other removable storage media for that matter) is a difficult thing to do - mainly because it initially seems like there isn't that much to write about short of saying "it works" or "it doesn't work". However, there are a plethora of other issues to consider, although whether it makes for a gripping read or not is questionable! Anyway, In the following write-up I'm going to be taking a look at Verbatim's 8.5gb DVD-R 4x discs, and assessing their overall quality.
In terms of their recent history, Verbatim have been making recordable DVDs for a while now, and whilst they aren't necessarily classed as the leading brand, their products normally represent solid quality. I usually don't buy Verbatim's discs because the price is a little higher than other brands (more on that later), instead opting for the cheaper DVD's of this world. The company was founded towards the end of the 60's, and is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemicals. As well as DVDs and CDs, Verbatim also manufacture SD cards, and good old fashioned cassette tapes - not exactly the most exciting company then eh?
COMPATIBILITY ISSUES? - DVD mysteries of the universe unraveled
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When it comes to choosing your recordable DVDs, it's important to purchase the format which is compatible with your particular machine. In fact, there are so many different types of DVD on the market these days (DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-ROM) that it can be difficult to know exactly which ones to buy. These particular Verbatim DVD's fall into the ' -R' category, meaning that they can only have data written on them once, unlike the 'RW' (Re-Writable) discs, that can be erased and subsequently re-used. Now we've established that, it's important to note that the minus (-) part of the disc's name means that they are only compatible with DVD Drives which accept (-) rather than (+) media. Although it's undoubtedly a generalization, DVD minus discs are generally Apple Mac and DVD Recorder (connected to your TV) friendly. Yes, it's all a bit overcomplicated, and a single DVD compatibility format would be a lot more sensible - but then technology is generally an overly complex thing.
BIG, BIGGER, and the BIGGEST - the tale of a high capacity disk
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What is unusual about these Verbatim discs is their unusually high capacity. The default recordable DVD size is usually between four and five gigabytes (around six times the capacity of a recordable CD), whereas these bad-boys are a whopping 8.5gb. This increased size has been made possible due to the fact that... (and here's the technical bit)...Verbatim have created a "new substrate layer that sits in between each recording layer - this allows the laser beam to record on both layers. Once the first layer has been recorded, the laser re-focused to record on the second layer" - Verbatim's words not mine! I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) that the largest multi-layered disc at present is a 9.4gb one made by Panasonic, so the Verbatim ones are following close behind. Normally, multi-layered DVD fit into the +R, or +RW category, and it's a bit more unusual to see a (-) multi-layered media. Similarly, the larger capacity DVDs of the past were actually double sided (like an old-skool LP), and essentially you had to flip over the disk to store more data. For this reason it's great to have such a large storage capacity on one side. One thing that needs to be pointed out is the fact that your DVD player needs to be able to read dual layer discs in order for these discs to work. To be honest, most modern players are these days, and it shouldn't be an issue.
Larger capacity DVD's are great for those working in the field of digital media, due to the fact that they can store normally masses of data-hungry digital video. These discs are similarly good for backing up an iTunes music library, and previously I had to back mine up over multiple DVD's (it literally took ages and ages). If you're wondering about the actual capacity of the disk in terms of a real world example, well it's equivalent to four hours of DVD quality TV, or sixteen hours of VHS quality TV. In terms of their ruggedness, Verbatim disks are usually quite hard-wearing, and generally survive a few light scratches. To be honest, I'm not going to do a designated scratch test in this review (due to the price of the discs) - but if they are anything like the other discs that the company produces they'll be pretty tough.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY - cheap or expensive?
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Of course, larger capacity discs usually equate to a larger price tag, and this is certainly the case with these shiny spinners - the five pack of Verbatim 8.5gb DVD-Rs currently cost £13.38 from amazon.co.uk, which is a high price to pay for five bits of round plastic. The discs can also be purchased from eBay, but at present, the price is very similar to that of Amazon. I actually haven't seen these particular discs in shops, only online - It's probably a good job to be honest, as I would expect them to be even more pricey! Compare the inflated price of the Verbatims to normal (regular 4.8gb) DVDs, and the difference is startling. For the same price, you can purchase a one hundred (Yes, ONE HUNDRED) Memorex DVD-Rs, and although they aren't multi-layered, they actually have a faster write-speed - more on speediness in the following paragraph...
HOW FAST CAN YOU SPIN - the ol' speed test
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All DVDs have a 'write-speed' that dictates how fast data can be written onto them, and in the case of these particular Verbatim branded discs it's 4x. Unfortunately, just because the disc' write-speed is 4x, it doesn't mean that's the actual speed you will achieve (technology is never as simple as it should be). This is because it also depends on the write-speed of your DVD drive. My computer's drive is particularly snail-paced, and as a result I'm limited to a 2x disc burning experience - believe me, it takes hours and hours to write a single disc full of data. Oh, and I can't use these discs at all on my other computer, as the DVD drive is broken :(
In terms of the product's packaging, the discs come in standard 'Jewel' DVD cases rather than on a spindle as some do. Personally, I would prefer them to be packaged without cases, as I use paper CD envelopes to store my DVDs. The surface of the discs (not the side that stores the data on obviously) can be written on using a permanent marker, and I have found them to dry quickly and not have any smudging issues - no-one want a smudgy DVD - right? There are even lines printed of the writable side of the disc, just in case you want to impress someone with your non-wonky scrawlings - As you do...
A DV-DO, or a DV-DON'T? - Final Word
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So, going back to my of the opening paragraph, and the most important DVD related question of all - do they actually work? Well, it's actually a case of 'yes and no'. Yes, they write data quickly and efficiently, but not all of the disks in the pack of five worked... four did, one didn't. Now, when you're literally paying pennies for DVD's, the odd DVD not working isn't really an issue - but when you've paid over £13 it's a different matter. Thankfully, Verbatim offer a 'limited lifetime warranty', so if you find any issues with your discs then you should be able to get your money back. All in all then, it's a *generally* positive impression of these DVDs - apart, that is, from the disc that decided it didn't want to work. The discs are great for those who demand a higher capacity product, and need that extra space on their storage media. Just make sure that your PC or recordable DVD player is (-R) friendly, and you shouldn't have any issues. Personally, I'm glad these massive (-R) 8.4gb discs exist (my Macbook doesn't like high capacity discs which fit into the (+R) category), although I probably won't buy them again due to the price. I think that three stars is probably a fair rating - with one star lost for the sheer cost, and one star dropped for the disc that didn't work. Finally, if your not entirely happy with the product, you can always use them as makeshift frisbees, drinks coasters, or dangly shiny decorations to hang from your trees and scare away rogue badgers.
GENERAL INFORMATION - A quick check of the facts
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Type: Storage media: DVD-R DL (yup, should be pretty much compatible with all modern devices)
Media Included Quantity: Five (well, four really if you minus the one which didn't work!)
Maximum Write Speed: 4x (Not on my computer though with it's slow drive!)
Color: Matte silver (mmm... sleek. Although i'm not actually bothered what colour my DVD's are)
Native Capacity: 8.5 GB (that's plenty huge - over ten CD's, and around twice as big as a normal DVD)
Features: Advanced AZO recording dye (erm... not sure what this means, but it's probably an uber-important new technology)
Package Type: Jewel case (bling, well actually not so bling).
Service and Support: Limited lifetime warranty (they'll refund my broken one then...? - probably not...).
'VERBATIM' - meaning: 'corresponding word for word.'
Established - 1969 US base Colorado
Part of the Mitsubishi Technology Group
My first experience with 'Verbatim'
When I had my induction at a London based firm dealing with corporate advertising; during the mid 90's; the name 'Verbatim' was on everyone's lips; being chief 'tea-maker' and 'keen to impress,' on my first morning, I had a real fear of getting the beverage specification orders muddled up. I felt I was thrown to the lions, because I knew if there were any hot drinks spilt on laps or incorrect data processes that malfunctioned by putting one extra sugar lump in 'dickie bowed' 'Roger's dainty 8.45 am morning tea-cup, including saucer.' Not only would it probably break the porcelain heirloom, though hasten a guess, I'll be toast; even before meeting 'Verbatim.' Who was waiting in my make-shift corner, next to my 'screaming like a banshee,' Apple Mac 'processor,' apparently; all these names, demands, people waiting for me, and I'd only just found where the shiny kitchen resides.
After having been presented with an A4 sheet full of the font 'Times New Roman, size 14,' explaining the beverage procedure of each employee, highlighted in 'bold' and 'boxed.' There were seven, no eight beverages to prepare, 'dickie bowed Roger' was in 'italic,' no sign of 'Verbatim,' yet I kept hearing his or her name, whatever sex, he or she certainly was; 'Verbatim' was an active member of the workforce, and I assumed already had coffee. Obviously just nipped out of my designated area after realizing I was held-up for a couple of minutes and having a swift 'one to one' in the project manager's office.
While the plush kettle was silently boiling, my mind flittered to the origins of the name 'Verbatim,' certainly sounded foreign, maybe a surname, or Indian; perhaps an extended nickname for a guy called 'Tim' who writes slogans. These sure were early days for a 'tea-laddy, who made tea making an art form, fit for a 'dickie bowed Roger;' who resembled 'Michael Douglas,' from the 'film 'Wall Street.' Over indulged in 'Aramis,' whose organizer looked like a telephone directory, stuffed with 'call cards, stating 'Exotic Egyptian For One Hour'; (these were before the days before extensive storage facilities)
Meeting 'Verbatim,' that was lazily sprawled out on my desk, as if on holiday, next to a five foot scanner, that shuddered at the idea of work, every time I asked for assistance; was an eye-opener. He or she was three inch square, wrapped up with a Teflon coating. Yea, it was a floppy drive; that stored a staggering 3MB of data. Low and behold I quickly took note this company used brand names as if they're human beings, doing a job. It was a crazy world welcome to 'brand awareness' and an insight for what was to come with 'Verbatim's storage packages.' Needless to say we became good buddies; except for one day, when I emailed out a collection of attachment files that urgently required attention and I crashed the internal server for a whole day, by submitting 3MB via cyberspace. I learned quickly the powers of 'Verbatim.' The thousand pound server couldn't yet take the pace; the analogy reminded me of reading 'Augustus Gloop' in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' jamming up the chocolate arteries.
'Digimodernism' and the portable 'disc - oh - tech'
I knew then that 'Verbatim' would be destined to 'greater storage facility matters.' I flirted with rival brands such as 'Memorex,' and discovered that the feel of their storage products didn't quite matched up with my earlier memories I had of 'Verbatim,' I guess that first touch and feel, stays with you forever; just like the first kiss, excluding any contact with metal wiring. - My earliest uses of the brand has a lot to do with why I use this product today in creating storage back-ups and file managing digital data. Watching the 'digital revolution' taking form, to which we are now in the era of 'digimodernism;' (digital data living in our cultures and lifestyles) - The Verbatim brand and products have evolved with the concept of the 'digimodernism.' Check-out (Alan Kirby's book, 'blog' via Google) - the emergence of 'digi-technologies' and the portable devices that packs huge amounts of digitalized data within one portable disc, it is a lifestyle, we've all been subjected to. It hasn't just honed into the business sector anymore, as it did in the late 90's. The ideology is part of ALL storage systems across the 'Developed World;' the devices seem to be getting more portable, their facilities growing on a daily basis.
'Stayin Alive, exclusive, Travolta, helped realise innovation process of the sphere disc.'
The Asian portable device market has been fortunate to expand the 'data chip,' to levels that in the UK and Europe we can only dream of. Ecologically, the European continent is not amass with the available natural 'raw materials' and technologies to take 'digimodernism,' beyond a certain point. The Western World has reached that point; hence, why 'Mitsubishi Chemical Corps,' is a major contributor to the fortunes of 'Verbatim,' in the 1990's when I saw this remarkable device for the first time. It is the number one choice in design business sectors, which requires that ultra-reliable peace of mind. The materials to continue the 'digi revolution' lay predominantly with the Asian nations, who are willing to trade to the West, yet amidst the financial storm and instability are dithering on investing in technology platforms, and instead, they're targeting their own technology markets.
'Verbatim,' had a defining moment in their recent history and it commenced in 2005; When 'Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation' who vacuumed up 'Verbatim,' in a bid to transform the business product range in 1990, merged with 'Mitsubishi Pharma Corporation' to form 'Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings;' in turn, strengthening NT (New Technologies) and future 'Blu Ray' type products, and of course Flash Technologies, including the notoriously useful (U3) platform, that now comes with all those flash pens and keys that holds in excess of a couple of Gigabytes of storage.
'Explaining the 'Countdown's mix of lettered and numbered Conundrum':
*Verbatim DVD-R DL 8.5GB 4x*
DVD- Digital Versatile Disc, or Video, many readers will recognize it being called 'Video.'
R- Means the 'Rom drive' and shows compatibility to all CPU workstations and platforms that allows the styled 'coffee cup holder' to be activated, whenever required.
DL- Stands for 'Dual Layers;' or DVD-9 - Two for the price of one, all on a singular disc; this enables the memory capacity two double to 8.5 GB, around 4.4 GB per layer as I know it as far.
4x- Marks the speed of the writing process (5400 Kbps per second), onto the readable disc; good to know if time is the essence.
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I was lured into the shiny optical sphere, like a 'Magpie to the window of the Queen's boudoir.'
*Now the science bit: The bland world of ECMA*
Viewing the optical disc information, can be observed at: http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/files/ECMA-ST/ECMA-382.pdf
The ECMA International publication is a 190 page (PDF) online formatted document, that deciphers and embraces the optical disc properties, to make a highly mechanism optic device work as an effective digital storage component. The precision of a compact disc functions are mundane to say the least, and to be honest, it reminds me of 'Election night 2010', since, which I'm consulting my therapist at regular intervals. Thank you for your concern, I should be fine, though been told to express it through the medium of 'words' via articles. Sorry, it is for medicinal purposes. I suppose you could just collect the files and simply burn them onto a 'Verbatim' and lock them up in a vault, and read them whenever all the soaps have come to an end. You may even thank me, in a blog sometime in the future. At least I've introduced you to my old friend 'Verbatim.' He's great for making 'tin' toned wind chimes, however, don't hang them up by a road, especially during the summer; you will find the swinging reflective beams of light will cause accidents, namely cyclists buckling their wheels on verges and flying head first into the front gate.
'A beam of disc - oh - tech light dances brilliantly - At the stroke of midnight, all you're 'digi' data will turn to dust!'
This 'Verbatim,' ['-'] type is compatible with most DVD Rom Drives, the dash symbol has been known to be *most* compatible with DVD laser technology as the best reader in the marketplace. The DVD 'Burner,' writes the data onto the disc via a burn method which inscribes the data signature within the layers of the optic mechanism on the disc, (seven miles of data) for one of this type. All digital data files and media can be stored or transferred directly from hard disc (Hard disc space, is the 'C' drive on a standard CPU, that consists of the total *internal* memory capacity) to the 'DVD' Re-writable drive: 8.5GB's is available for data storage on the 'Verbatim.' This isn't as much space as you may think, especially, if the document storage is 'video.' If, you are storing iPlayer material on the disc's the length of time I will allocate the video quality at will be between 5 - 6.5hrs of data.
Again, if the quality is of (HD) High Definition quality or Blu-ray even, the length of time of storage spans between 4 - 4.8hrs of digital data per disc. Not too environmental friendly is it, dealing with this HD malarkey, because the higher quality stamp, apparently uses up more discs,' more than I originally thought. In the box, you get 5 writeable optic discs, that I'm sorry to claim will deteriorate with age, around three years, is the estimate for a 'Verbatim;' so backing up your back-ups' is recommended; especially those movie or JPEG files that hold those treasured family memories.
*Semi - warning* - Calling all users: - Check-out your archives for deteriorating optic discs (over two years old) the chances are one of the layers could have become corrupt due to exposure to sun-light, damp, or condensation. It'll eventually corrupt all your digital data.
For durability; (not for practical use) -The 'Verbatim,' 'floppy' three inch storage facility from the mid 90's: 'win's hands down.' The problem is, that you need over 6,000 of them to view an averaged MPEG file from the BBC iplayer URL; unless your want thunder thighs, swaying back and forth to the disc drive, every ten seconds, ready for the swap. It is exhausting thinking of it. However, it could be a great 'game-show concept;' or even an Olympic sport. Strong chances though of ending up in an asylum, staring forwards and muttering 'ten seconds to comply.'
I tend to opt to buy mine online at (5) per pack - At 11.00 GBP including postage and packaging the best offers are at: - www.dabs.com - I'm happy with the purchase. I've heard silly prices from other venders and as it is a 'Verbatim,' product. There is no difference, when it comes to the actual quality. Regardless of the burner hardware or software you may use, the difference is only in the processing speed. If, you're a business this will matter, but for general use; a 'Verbatim' ticks all the boxes, and worth a few pennies more for that expert recommendation.
Please note, no product in the storage business sector is infallible; there will be 5% in each batch that don't comply, or read properly, due to unforeseen corrupt data on the *new disc* just purchased. That is why I predominantly steer to U3 and 'flash pens.'
Thank you for reading up to here. I hope some of the information provided was of interest.
copyright - 05-2010-1st2thebar
I have been buying this brand for ages, and was always a big fan. They are more expensive than some other brands, like memorex, but I thought they were worth the extra. They were reliable, burned well (no coasters as people say) and you could always tell by looking at them that they were good.
This is the first time I've bought this particular type - with two recording layers they are supposed to offer you almost double the capacity on a single side, so you can get almost 4 hours of DVD -enough for even the most enthusiastic home movie maker!
Well that's true, and the one's I got to work, worked fine, but lots didn't work.
One you could see when I took it out of the box it was all bubbled on the surface, so I didn't even try to burn that one. And of the pack of 10 I bought, 3 so far have not worked out of 7 I've used, not including the bubbled one, which I'm sure won't work. So that's only 50% good, so far.
I'm not happy, especially as they cost £15.64 from PC World.
I won't buy them again, which is sad, as everything I have bought from them in the past has been fab, and I was happily paying a bit more for a great product. Maybe I just got a rogue box.......
I will try taking it back to PC world and let you know how I get on, but the store is not close to home and I don't go there too often, so it'll have to wait a while.
*This review is also available on Ciao*