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Pioneer BDR-203 review

Back up your HDD using Blu-ray magic

Pioneer BDR-203BK
The BDR-203 can back up 19GB of data to a re-writable disc in roughly two hours

Our Verdict

It may be a bit of a niche market, but with good write speeds and good capacity this is not the worst option in the world. Oh, and you can watch Blu-rays on your PC


  • Good write speed
  • Good capacity available on Blu-ray discs
  • Can watch Blu-rays on your PC


  • Possibly a dying breed with cheaper storage available

Ten years ago, I purchased a DVD-playing, CD-writing combo drive for £200. It was rubbish. It took years to burn a CD that would play about four times before skipping more than a schoolgirl boxer, and it would only play about one in ten of the DVDs I owned.

Now, I'm presented with much the same thing, only this time it's a Blu-ray burner. Thing is, in the interim we've encountered a little something called convergence. With 250GB portable hard drives, costing less than a third of the price, and having five times the amount of storage, it does seem that Blu-ray burners are a dying breed.

Pioneer's effort will write 19GB of files to a two-speed rewritable Blu-Ray disc in a mere two and a half hours, which gives you something to do between watching paint dry and waiting for Godot. A writable Blu-ray disc fared better, cutting that down to 12 minutes, which is rather impressive.

There are a couple of uses for Blu-ray discs; they're good for archiving files, and handy if you want to burn hi-def videos to show on Blu-ray players. But, in the latter case, most Blu-ray players (ie. PS3s) accept a USB, so you can easily connect your cheapo USB hard disks crammed full of hi-def lovin'.

If you're sure you need a Blu-ray burner, then the BDR-203 is the best, and cheapest option. It's just a shame that there's a sense that the tech is already obsolete.

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