LG Slim (GSA-E50L)

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LG Slim (GSA-E50L)
  • LG Slim (GSA-E50L)
  • LG Slim (GSA-E50L)
  • LG Slim (GSA-E50L)

Pros

  • Wonderfully lightweight, bundled with additional features, sleek and stylish

Cons

  • Not the fastest DVD burner on the market, included USB cable is restrictively short

Bottom Line

The LG Slim (GSA-E50L) is a reasonably priced external DVD drive that puts portability and usability at the forefront. Road warriors will be sure to appreciate its lightweight dimensions, though impatient users will find the slow burn times grating.

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If there's one good thing to come out of the next-gen DVD format war, it's the plummeting price range of standard-definition optical drives, which are now more affordable than ever. Those who have yet to commit to either Blu-ray or HD DVD are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to fast and efficient DVD burners. In fact, it presents a compelling reason to hold off on taking the high definition plunge altogether (for a little while at least).

The LG Slim (GSA-E50L) is a stylish new entry into the external DVD writer family. The great advantage of external drives is their convenience and versatility. They are naturally a lot less hassle to set up and can be quickly swapped between different machines, making them ideal for technophobes and notebook users alike. As a further boost to its portability credentials, the LG Slim is completely powered by USB, with no batteries or electricity cables required. It can burn DVD+R / RW, DVD-R / RW, and DVD-RAM discs at up to 8x speeds and is also Vista certified.

In addition, it offers the added security of SecurDisc, a new system designed to protect burned data. Using the specially adapted version of Ahead Nero, you can switch on a number of features as part of the burn process, including password activation. As an added bonus, the Slim (GSA-E50L) also comes equipped with LightScribe, which allows users to label their own discs via laser etching.

As its name suggests, the Slim (GSA-E50L) is an impressively compact piece of hardware, measuring just 6.14x6.5x0.84in and weighing in at a measly 30 grams. For those who are frequently on the road, the ability to slip the device into a briefcase or handbag is sure to make life that tiny bit easier. Naturally, the drive can also be used for the playback of DVD media; a handy option for tablets and ultraportables which lack internal optical drives. Although we were pleased by the sleek dimensions of this unit, the included USB cable is unfortunately just as tiny. This caused us no small amount of frustration during testing, and we recommend everyone to invest in a longer cable. (No doubt you already have a few candidates lying around the house already.) Apart from skimping on cord length, LG has strived to make the DVD burning process as user-friendly as possible, and we're pleased to report that it has achieved this goal with flying colours. Thanks to its Flash drive interface, transferring data from hard drive to disc is a simple matter of dragging and dropping files from one folder to another. The finalising process is achieved with a click of the right-hand button, and the whole procedure couldn't be simpler.

It took the LG Slim 25 minutes and 12 seconds to burn 4.2GB of raw files to a DVD-R double-layered disc. Formating a DVD-R DL disc took a little over a minute. While this might not sound impressive, it's important to remember that the device is powered solely through the USB port, sharing the notebook's battery. Portability is the key ingredient here, rather than dazzling write speeds, and as such, the Slim delivers on its premise.

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