Plextools XL - Page 1
recently announced a new, more powerful version of the well known Plextools,
with the "XL" extension. We had the chance to review Plextools
XL and in this short preview, we will take a look at the main, new features
along with our thoughts, for the current build.
- What are Plextools XL?
The question can be answered by simply visiting Plextools website "...Based on existing solid code, PlexTools Professional XL offers more features and extra options. The new layout with resizable windows and improved graphs, enhanced audio functions and project options as well as the unique update check system are designed and tuned for the demanding user..."
- What are the main differences between Plextools and Plextools XL?
Looking again at Plextor's website, the user can easily spot the major changes:
- The PlexTools Professional XL GUI consists of 3 independent windows
with a redesigned look
- The test functions have been updated with new, stylish graphical displays.
- PlexTools Professional XL automatically checks the software's and all
drives firmware for the latest version and updates it immediately if necessary.
version is available for the PlexTools Professional software version.
- Both the AudioCDMaker and Disc Extraction functions have been expanded with CueSheet support and extra options.
- The Disc Maker function has the option to load and save projects and a new DVD-Video project has been added that allows burning an existing DVD-Video image to disc.
- Several smaller changes and options have been added and are planned for
- Can I upgrade from my current Plextools to the XL version?
Unfortunately, Plextor's current policy doesn't offer any type of discount
for existing Plextools users, meaning if you wish to buy the Plextools Professional
XL, you will have to pay around
€40! Plextools Professional XL is exclusively available for purchase online
and comes with a 2 year, free-of-charge update license.
2. Installation - Page 1
Plextools XL - Page 2
For evaluation purposes, Plextor Europe gave us the first available version
of Plextools Professional XL, revision 3.00. While we don't currently
know where you can download a copy, a demo version will be made available soon
end users, with a 14 day
The new XL series installation package is a little larger (12Mb) than
the latest available Plextools Pro (9Mb). After running the setup, the
After the installation process has finished, you have to reboot the PC
before being able to use Plextools Professional XL. On our test PC, we
had Plextools Professional installed, so we were curious to see if both it
and the XL versions could co-exist. Fortunately, both versions
3. Installation - Page 2
Plextools XL - Page 3
We ran Plextools XL and the first screen appeared,
asking whether we wanted to evaluate the product (14 days demo), or
purchase/activate the product:
We used the second option (activate) and the wizard continued:
Our installed Firewall prompted us for confirmation whether to permit or deny
the requested Internet connection, in order to activate the product:
After permitting all the Internet connections, an IE windows opened,
where we could either buy or activate our product. After typing the POP code,
software was activated almost instantly. What we don't know is if a user can
use this licence on more than one occasion...
4. The software - Page 1
Plextools XL - Page 4
Plextools Professional XL icon immediately appeared in the icons in the task
and at last, we opened for the first time, the new Plextools Professional
XL v3.00 (click on the image for a larger view).
As we can see, the new Plextools includes a re-designed interface, separated
into three independent windows:
- The main window.
- The device window, which contains the hardware device tree for the PC.
- The functions window shows all available functions used for retrieving
information on the drive or disc, the players and recording modules and also
includes the test functions.
The device and functions windows can be closed, leaving only the main
window available. The main window, from where all devices and functions can
information and test results. All 3 windows can be repositioned and resized
independently as can be seen below:
At the top of the main window, the user can access directly, all the major
functions and of course, devices:
Expanding the Functions window, we can see all the available functions/tests:
The about screen shows the build revision:
5. The software - Page 2
Plextools XL - Page 5
Shortly afterwards, Plextools XL again tried to connect to the Internet,
and we were prompted for a newer firmware revision that had been released
for our test drive:
The update process was automatic and fortunately, we weren't prompted
Under the Options menu, the user can also manually check for firmware and/or
The automatic software/firmware update can be disabled through the Preferences->General
6. The software - Page 3
Plextools XL - Page 6
The tests (read/write transfer, C1C2/PIPO) have been re-designed, however
they cannot be configured by the user nor are there any pre-defined templates:
Lets now see how the new PI/PO tests show up with the new Plextools
Professional XL series:
We didn't notice any major changes compared with the normal Plextools. On
the other hand, we would like to have advanced tests included, compared with
the plain Plextools version especially when you consider that you have to
for the new
For example, PX
Scan, a freeware program, can perform in sequence, PI/PO, Beta/Jitter,
TA Tests and display them on one page, give statistical results, even display
with a logarithm scale.
I imagine its much easier for someone to see the disc's condition with the
following picture, rather than looking at the above 3 screenshots :-)
Certainly, we would like more advanced features from Plextools Professional
XL, only time will tell if such welcome changes will be added...
7. The software - Page 4
Plextools XL - Page 7
Another change that is welcome, is the addition of DVD-Video project in the
Disc Maker tab:
A warning message comes up when you select the DVD-Video project:
From the main window, the user can add all the needed VOB files to
create the project.
8. The software - Page 5
Plextools XL - Page 8
Lastly, another welcome addition, is the CUE Sheet support that many users
had requested in the past from Plextor.
Under preferences, the user can change various settings and the CueSheet filename:
The extraction process completed, nothing new here.
Lastly, we noticed that Plextor has removed PNG support from the supported
picture formats, while adding EMF:
The save as HTML option didn't add anything special either:
Plextools XL - Page 9
as a leading optical storage manufacturer developed and evolved Plextools
Professional, a unique software for Plextor drives, into Plextools Professional
after reading the news, we expected to see a totally new Plextools with many
interesting features in view of the fact that Plextor charges €40
to upgrade to the XL version.
The redesigned GUI is welcomed, the support for DVD-Video was something that
was missing from the standard Plextools application and the support for CueSheet
will please advanced DAE rippers. However, none of these will make any difference
ordinary users since Plextools XL doesn't include the less basic functions
compared with standard Plextools. Plextor promises more features and
updates as time passes...by
that time, users can test the new XL version for 14 days trial period and decide
whether it is worth buying or not.
- Totally new GUI
- Supports automatic software/firmware updates
- Supports DVD-Video project
- Supports CueSheet
- Media quality tests have no difference compared with standard
- User cannot edit, select predefined themes for the GUI
- Plextor has removed PNG graphics format for exporting images
- High price
Like to be fixed
- Lower price
- More advanced media quality tests