The DVD burning market is flooded with brand names and obscure startups competing with comparable offerings. Among the assortment of names, one always calls my attention – Plextor. About seven years ago, I purchased my first CD burner, a Plextor PX-W1210TA, which still serves me well today. Technology has drastically evolved over the years, especially with the advent of DVD and Dual Layer burning. Plextor’s latest external burning solution, the PX-716UF enters the market boasting the latest features. The drive is capable of handling today’s most demanding burning needs and does not fail to impress.

Form Factor

Plextor’s newest external drive is sleek and aesthetically pleasing. While I primarily use the device at home, once in a while I take it over to a friend’s place for a burning project. The unit is almost 10.5 inches long, which keeps me from calling it “compact.” Those who are buying an external DVD burner with the idea of convenient transportation are going to find it rather inconvenient to lug around.

To add to the inconvenience of carrying the drive, the external supply, similar to the power block of a laptop, must be carried along with it. One cannot necessarily find fault with Plextor for this shortfall as there is a reason for this design. An internal power supply requires a noisy fan to dissipate heat. By choosing to go with an external power supply, Plextor created an extremely quiet burner that produces only a faint hum when reading and burning discs.

Included with the burner is a plastic stand that allows vertical burning in addition to horizontal use. I personally prefer vertical usage as it saves valuable desk real estate. Plextor is also kind enough to include a USB and FireWire cable, both of which are about three feet long. These cables are short and do not leave much choice beyond placing the device near one’s computer.


I performed numerous tests over USB and FireWire connections on Windows and OS X. Multiple CDs were burned effortlessly and quickly at the rated 48X, and the same can be said for DVD burning. DVD backups were burned within fifteen minutes at 8X, which is staggeringly fast for 4.7GB’s worth of information. Even off of the slower USB 1.1 standard on an older Pentium II system, the drive functioned without any trouble, however, as one would expect, the burning times were much longer. Although 16x DVD media is available on the market, the decreased burning time with 16x media is outweighed by the hefty cost, almost double that of 8x media in many cases.

The drive is also capable of burning Dual Layer DVD’s. At 4x, the DVD’s were burned within 35 minutes. Dual Layer media is very expensive, costing about $2.00 per disc when purchasing a 25-disc spindle. While such media offers almost double the space of standard DVD media, the extra capacity does not outweigh the added cost. For most consumers, it is useful to have the ability to burn the occasional Dual Layer disc, however standard DVD media is adequate in most situations. Those looking for a drive to burn many Dual Layer projects may find the 716-UF’s 4x maximum write speed too slow for such purposes. Overall, the Plextor serves extremely well for one’s universal burning needs.

Nero 7 for Windows and Roxio Toast 7 for Mac were used to conduct all tests in this review. It must be noted that both these software were not included with the device. Nero and Roxio proved to be trouble-free and fully compatible with the device.


The burner requires Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP or Macintosh OS 9.1 and later. A Pentium 4 1.4 GHz CPU or equivalent is a minimum requirement, along with 256 MB of RAM. Windows XP and OS X worked seamlessly with the Plextor as no driver installations were required. The drive is capable of both USB and FireWire connections. Plextor includes PlexTools Professional, Roxio Easy Media Creator 7 for Windows and Roxio Toast 6 Lite for Mac.

All in all, the Plextor proved to be dependable, producing no faulty burns or burn errors during my many cross-platform tests. Burn sessions are barely audible, producing minimal vibration. Would I recommend this burner? I most definitely say yes for those looking for a solid burner, which never fails to deliver. However, one must keep in mind that the PX-716UF does cost significantly more than the majority of its competition, and other brands do offer comparable drives for considerably less. The unit’s price is currently listed between $199.99 and $239.99. Overall, I give the Plextor 3.5 stars, the major downfall being cost.

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