Plextor PX-716A DVD Recorder


  • Good overall package: lots of software (although most of them are demo versions). Comes with an extra black front bezel and 80-wire IDE cable.
  • Two year warranty with on-site collect & return service (for Europe, the Middle-East and Africa).
  • UDMA mode 4 support and 8MB buffer
  • Supports high write (16x DVD±R, 4x DVD+R DL), re-write (8x DVD+RW) and read speeds.
  • Supports bitsetting for DVD+R and DVD+R DL media.
  • Supports many technologies such as BURN-Proof, PoweRec, VariRec, GigaRec, SecuRec and Q-Check.
  • Supports AutoStrategy technology; drive can learn to improve write quality.
  • “Two Sheep” recorder and support for full SubChannel Data reading.
  • Overburning (99 minute CD-R media) fully supported.
  • Future firmware upgrades will add 6x DVD+R DL and 6x DVD-R DL support!


  • PoweRec too sensitive; with PoweRec enabled 16x writing is not possible.
  • Media support should be improved; the PX-716A doesn’t support ‘overspeeding’ for a lot of media and 16x media support is poor. Also, 8x DVD+RW media is not supported yet.
  • Mount Rainier not supported.
  • High price


Main Positive:

One of the most interesting things about the Plextor PX-716A is definitely the AutoStrategy technology. Developed in cooperation with Taiyo Yuden (a high quality media manufacturer) this technology can improve the write quality of discs that are not supported by the drive’s currently installed firmware. During our review we have found that this does indeed work but you need to write at least three discs before the drive perfects the write strategy.

Of course, the AutoStrategy function isn’t the only positive thing about the drive. As we’ve come to expect from Plextor drives they are truly feature packed. They support a lot of technologies of which some are only found in Plextor drives. Together with Plextor’s PlexTools software you have total control over your Plextor drive and can perform virtually any task (including burning discs, quality checks, speed tests, digital audio extraction, etc.).

Another positive thing is that Plextor will release firmware upgrades this year that will improved the drive’s DVD+R DL recording speeds from 4x to 6x while DVD-R DL recording will also become possible. DVD-R DL discs will first be supported at 2x while later this year another firmware release will upgrade this recording speed to 6x as well. For more information on this you can read this news item.

Main Negative:

The thing we dislike about the Plextor PX-716A drive the most is its too sensitive PoweRec technology. The PoweRec technology is part of the drive’s “Intelligent Recording” system (used together with “AutoStrategy” and three dimensional laser control) but with this technology enabled we failed to reach 16x write speeds with every media we’ve tried. Once PoweRec is switched off, 16x writing is possible and the PI/PO scans don’t show a problem when writing at this speed.

We also feel that the Plextor PX-716A could use some better media support. Some discs it wrote showed problems and even though the drive’s AutoStrategy function might improve this, we don’t think that anyone wants to waste at least two more discs to learn the drive how to write the media. Another thing that was disappointing was that the PX-716A couldn’t “overspeed” (write media at higher speeds than certified for) a wide variety of media. Most media we tried could only be written at their certified speeds and it was difficult to find 16x media that the Plextor PX-716A could actually write at 16x.

Last but not least we feel that the price of the Plextor PX-716A is too high. The lowest price for the PX-716A is US $126 while you can buy a BenQ DW1620 for just under US $60 (checked via PriceGrabber on January 2nd 2005). The Plextor drive is thus twice as expensive as the BenQ.

Final Thoughts:

What can we say about the Plextor PX-716A? Well, if we had to describe the Plextor PX-716A in one word it would be “promising“. The drive has some very interesting technologies on board and it definitely has potential. It was just too bad that the drive showed poor all round media support and failed to impress us with its write quality. And then there’s the price of the drive. It’s twice as expensive as the popular BenQ DW1620.

Of course, the Plextor PX-716A’s performance can be improved a lot via firmware upgrades and our tests with the beta firmware on the previous page already showed that Plextor is working on this. Let’s just hope that Plextor releases new firmware versions soon that address our negative points…

If you want to read more user experiences with the Plextor PX-716A be sure to visit our Plextor Forum. Here you will also find the latest news,
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