IO Magic DVD±RW/±R IDVD16DLS Dual Layer Burner Review

Tired of making labels with a marker? Use a laser instead--Use LightScribe!


If you do not want to spend too much on a dual layer driver, get this and as a bonus you get the labeling maker too.


Good price, fast, and does labels too…


Dual layer and LightScribe media is not cheap enough yet…

A month ago I was wandering around CompUSA and I saw this I/O Magic LightScribe DVD±RW/±R Dual Layer Burner.

And at the time it was selling for only $49.99 after a $20 instant and a $30 mail-in rebate. So I jumped on it and got this as soon as I could. I mostly use this drive to back up my movie collection, my music, pictures, and other important data. I do this because I have lost a lot of important data in the past as a result of a hard drive failure or just my negligence, and I did not have backups. Now I can label the disks quickly and easily without messy handwriting; all with this one burner.


It can burn single layer DVD±R disks at 16x plus it has the capability to burn double layer disks at 2.4x. Double layer disks are new which allows you to burn an entire movie (1:1 ratio) to it without any compression (quality loss). But they do not work on older DVD players; I know it does not work on my almost-two-year-old Sony or my almost-four-year-old Panasonic players.


The only problem with the double layer is the price of the media itself. Since the technology is still fairly new the price is still higher than regular DVD±R media. I would not mind paying about a buck for a single disk, but $9.99 was just out of the question for me. Well, that was about six months ago, but now the prices are less than about three bucks apiece at some retailers. This is still a bit on the expensive side, but now I can at least try it out.


This drive came with two face plates; one black and one white. I configured mine to be black because my case is grayish and plus the white would just stand out too much. Amazingly, this drive can read and write to all popular DVD media formats (CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, and DVD DL±R/RW). The dual-layer media is compatible with all newer (I would say after the year 2000) DVD players.

This drive can also make laser-etched labels with a new technology called LightScribe. This technology uses special die coated media so when the laser heats it, they change to black. So far I have made two or three labels on these special media and they are very nice. The media is a little bit more expensive than regular DVD media, but it is worth it when you want to make your creation look professional.

I just retired from my old Sony DRU-510A drive that was installed on my system since I got this; that drive is still good, but the read and write speeds were a little slower. Compared to that older drive, this new one is faster and quieter. I have burned 80 minutes CD-R’s in about two and a half minutes or less. Also any regular (4.7GB) DVD-R media burns in about 10 to 11 minutes and DVD+R in about 8 to 9 minutes (this does not include ripping or rendering time for movies). The dual-layer DVD media takes about 40 to 45 minutes to burn (8.5GB at 2.4x); again this does not include ripping or rendering time.


I mostly use three different software titles for all my burning needs. These help me burn data CD/DVDs quickly and easily without much trouble. Some of them help to copy or backup my purchased movies, and others help master my own home movies and photo slide shows (since I like taking pictures a lot). Here are a list of software I use and what I use them for:

  1. Nero Burning 6 or 7 (cost: $80 – $100)
    This is the most used software for me because I use it to burn all my CDs and data DVDs. It is fast and easy to use, and I really like the user interface.
  2. DVD Shrink (freeware)
    I always use this software to backup my movie collection. It rips and burns a DVD in one simple process and even automatically compresses it if needed. It requires Nero software to be able to burn. By the way, it will copy all movies—even copyrighted movies (for backup purposes of course).
  3. Photodex ProShow Gold or Producer (cost: $30 – $70 or $400)
    I use this application to transform my digital pictures from plain old pictures to slideshows with sound and seal those memories on DVDs. It is one of the best slideshow creator software I have used so far (I have tried more than 20 so far).
  4. Roxio Easy Media Creator (cost $70 – $100) not recommended
    I tried the newest version of this software but did not like the way it looked and felt. I liked the way it looked before when Adaptec used to own it. Roxio has just turned something good into something useless. They also made it more complicated and less user friendly.

These are some software I would recommend using with this drive in the order I put it in because I have come to rely on these after a lot of testing. There is a lot of burning software available today, but you have to decide what feels right for you. So take advantage of the trialware versions and see test drive these for yourself.


So far I have used this drive to burn music and data CD’s which usually take less than two and a half minutes each or so. Burning data to a DVD±R takes between 10 to 15 minutes or maybe more. On the other hand, burning data to a DVD DL±R takes about 40 to 45 minutes.

Copying movies takes a lot longer because the ripping process takes a lot of time. To copy a full movie to a regular DVD±R/RW disk it takes me about 22 minutes to rip and about 15 minutes to burn (a total of 35 to 40 minutes). Also, to copy a full movie to a DVD DL±R/RW takes about 22 minutes to rip and about 40 to 45 minutes to burn (about an hour or so).

Burning my photo slideshows and home videos take the most time for me because they have to render first. The rendering process takes about an hour or so depending on the size of the slideshow and the speed of my computer (which is fast). The burning process from there takes about 15 minutes.

I have created my wedding slideshow with my old drive and it took me a total of about three hours to render and burn. I finished a newer version of that slideshow (used new software) and it took about half as long to render (because I upgraded my computer recently). As of yet, I have not wasted any media as a result of this burner messing up. This drive is very light and cheap-looking, but it is of high quality because it works just like my other Sony DW-D22A.

Plus the new LightScribe media labeling technology makes all my labels look professional. I sometimes make photo slideshows for my family when I take pictures for them on special occasions, so now I can use this to make the labels look perfect. I know I love it, and everyone else will be amazed when they see what I got up my sleeve now.


This I/O Magic LightScribe DVD burner is a great drive for the price because of the speed it can achieve and the new labeling technology. There are faster drives available now but I am happy with this one because not a lot of drives can do labels. I have seen other HP LightScribe dual-layer drives selling for about $150 plus at some retailers here, but I think I got one that does the same thing for a less price. So go ahead and try one out for yourself.


BrandIO Magic
Read SpeedsDVD : 16x
CD : 40x
Write SpeedsCD-R : 40x
DVD-R : 8x
DVD+R : 16x
DVD+R DL : 2.4x
Re-Write SpeedsCD-RW : 24x
DVD+RW : 4x
DVD-RW : 4x
CD FormatsCD Text
CD Audio
Mixed Mode CD-ROM
Bootable CD
Super Video CD (SVCD)
Access Times120 MS
Writing StandardsCD-R
DVD+R DL (Double Layer)
Buffer Size2 MB
Other FeaturesLightScribe direct disc labeling enabled
Weight2.2 lbs