LaCie Portable DVD±RW with LightScribe Review

by Reads (26,471)

The market of external USB-powered drives has been growing and changing rapidly, with new designs hitting the market at an ever increasing pace. Different styles of drives, including but not limited to, top loading, slot loading, and tray loading have hit the market, letting users pick and choose to find the best matching drive for their notebook. LaCie, who is best known for their stylish external devices, has recently introduced a new USB-powered tray loading DVD burner designed by the world-famous Sam Hecht. This elegantly-shaped chocolate-brown tray-loading USB-powered DVD drive will surely turn some heads.

Technical specs:

  • Item Number : 301230U
  • Interface: Hi-Speed USB 2.0
  • DVD speeds (Write, Rewrite, Read):
    • 4.7GB DVD+RW Speeds: 8x8x8x
    • 4.7GB DVD-RW Speeds: 8x6x8x
    • 8.5GB DVD±R DL Speed: 4x
    • DVD-RAM Speed: 5x
  • CD speeds (Write, Rewrite, Read):
    • 700MB CD-RW Speeds: 24x20x24x
  • Access Time: DVD: 130ms / CD: 120ms
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 157.5 x 137 x 25 mm / 6.2 x 5.39 x .98 in.
  • Weight: 319 g / 11.25 oz.
  • System Requirements: USB-equipped computer; Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista/ Linux-based system; Pentium IV processor or greater; 256MB of RAM; Direct-disc labeling requires LightScribe CD/DVDs (not included)
  • Bundled Software: Easy Media Creator Suite 9 with LightScribe Labeler (Windows 2000, XP, Vista); CinePlayer 3.5 playback software (Windows XP, Vista)
  • Warranty: 2 Year Limited Warranty
  • Price: $109.99

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Build and Design

The design of this drive is very simple, almost too simple in the opinion of this reviewer. For all the mentioning of "Design by Sam Hecht" you would expect to see a new innovative product, but it is just a basic brown box that happens to have an optical drive inside. Don’t get me wrong, I like simplicity, but this drive takes it one step too far. The overall design looks like a very familiar object, but I can’t quite put my finger on it …

Despite the basic design, the build quality of this external drive is top notch, feeling very solid and sturdy on your desk surface. The bottom has very sticky rubber feet that keep it planted, making it very hard to slide around accidentally. This would come in handy for example on an airplane seat tray, where you don’t always have the most forgiving surface to work on.

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Using the drive is as simple as plugging the included USB cable into your notebook and then into the external drive. No drivers were required on any machine we tested it on, even across multiple operating systems like Linux or Mac OS.

While an external power supply and additional USB power cable are included in the package, at no time were they required for the drive to function. The drive worked on multiple notebooks burning CD’s, including my Thinkpad T60 and an Asus Eee PC without any interruption of power. For older notebooks, or some situation where you encounter a device that can’t pass enough current over the single USB cable, that is where the additional items would come in handy.

Noise during operation was a bit louder than other external drives we have used, but nothing like the 5.25" monster desktop drive inside a USB case that we have sitting around as a backup. Seeking and spin-up is roughly the same as you would find in an average notebook. This shouldn’t surprise you though, as it has the exact same type of dive found in most notebooks.

Users looking for a bitsetting compatible drive look no further. This drive supports bitsetting, which enhances compatibility with older DVD-ROM players that don’t always support DVD+R/RW media.

Also, as suggested by the name of the drive, this DVD drive includes LightScribe capabilities. LightScribe allows you to etch text labels and images onto the surface of the DVD rather than use sticky labels that might jam an optical drive. LaCie is also the only company to offer LightScribe software that works with Mac OS. 


As portable USB-powered external drives go, this LaCie DVD±RW with LightScribe hits every mark. Users get a reliably working single cord powered drive that is fairly portable, works regardless of the operating system installed, and needs no additional drivers. The only downside to this drive is the design which could be thinner or better colored, but it is all up to user preference.

In short, if you need an external USB optical drive, the LaCie Portable DVD±RW with LightScribe is an excellent choice.


  • Works on a single USB cable
  • Needs no additional drivers to function
  • Sticky rubber feet grip onto almost any surface without slipping
  • What can Brown do for you?


  • Can be noisy compared to other optical drives
  • Not a very artistic design
  • What can Brown do for you?

Yes, this image is fake, but we couldn’t resist.
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