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 was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.