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Hands on: Buffalo Blu-ray and HD DVD combo drive

Last week, Buffalo announced that it will soon be launching a new Blu-ray/HD DVD/DVD combo drive. And this morning, the Japanese peripheral company popped into the TechRadar office to show it off.

For £280 (you'll probably be able to get one for cheaper than that when it comes out at the end of April), the BRHC-6316U2 is a fairly meaty piece of kit. So it just goes to show that even though Toshiba has given up on HD DVD, the format is going to live on for a while yet. And not only can it read DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD, but it can write to Blu-ray and DVD also.

Combo drive to rival LG

The first thing you'll notice is that it has a fairly large form factor. Despite the fact that it's based largely on LG's Super Multi Blue internal combo drive, the external Buffalo device is a bit larger. It's not heavy though, so the freedom offered by its external status is not hindered by weight.

In the box you get the drive itself, a USB A cable, a power cord and a software disk which includes Nero Essentials and various Cyberlink PowerDVD software.

First impressions are that it's extremely simple to use, with seamless integration into PowerDVD. Both Blu-ray and HD DVD movies looked great on our HD monitor, and burning seems pretty straight forward too. Regular Blu-ray burners will be pleased to hear that the BRHC-6316U2 (what an awful name, by the way) supports the burning of multi-layer BDs too. So burning 50GB of data on to a BD is perfectly possible.

High price

The only sticking point here may be the price. That £280 sure is a lot of cash, but for anyone who needs to be able to read and write DVDs, BDs and HD DVDs, it does seem like a pretty good option. That said, you could buy an internal LG drive for £100 less, which means you're paying a big premium for portability and a USB interface.

Tune-in next week for our full review.

James Rivington

James has been working with TechRadar for over 12 years and is now the Global Editor-in-Chief of eCommerce at TR and its sister sites including PC Gamer and That means he looks after buying guides and deals pages as well as all of the nifty price comparison tools we use to help readers find the best deals on the coolest products.