There are not many reviews about this drive. So I want to share my experience and I would like to know if other users have the same. I have S/N 441052814391 model SOHW-1693S23C manufactured July 2005. I have the lastest available firmware upgrade.
The drive burns DVDs and CDs without any problems - did not test DL and did not test at 16x. At least itself can read it. This is not true for other drives - but it depends on the media. Every burn shows many errors - but this depends on the media too. There are even huge differences between media of the same brand. I cannot pinpoint if it is the different quality of the media or just the mood of the writer. But I am wondering a bit about shown test results in so many reviews...
What "drives" me crazy is that the drive thinks about the speed it should use - this is a special feature. But I guess more they just wanted to get rid of the high noise at high speeds. It slows down a copy of for instance a video CD to the hard disk to 30 minutes. Thanks to tools like Nero Drive Speed you can increase the speed. You also could patch the drive software. But then you will lose the warranty. To put it straight: as delivered the drive is pretty useless. You should keep your old drive for high speed reading, patch the software (Warranty!!!), use a tool to speed it up or enjoy to watch your drive how it collects the disk data one by one - if it can...
The drive can write well but it cannot read. About 15 !!! percent of all CDs my 8 years old DVD-drive on my Thinkpad 770 can read the Liteon cannot. So far I tested about 150 CDs burned by other consumer writers (want to put them on DVDs). I can help myself using the network and the Thinkpad drive. If you do not have this choice you have lost your CDs if you kicked out your old drive already - what I did... By the way - the old Thinkpad drive copies the CDs in only 7 minutes! It does not think so much ;-)
The Liteon has a plug for an earphone and a wheel to adjust the volume. This makes it different to many other drives. But it is pretty much the same. It does not work. You just hear a click when you restart the system. But at least the drive looks different. Sure you might say - I use the sound card anyway. But why do they sell something that does not work at all??? I know it is only for audio CDs...
All in all I can say I would like to know the experience of other users before I return this drive. The reading speed and the reading quality of CDs is a serious problem. You might think it is bad luck. I think perhaps it is one of the best and there are worse out there. So I am not so happy to change it against the same brand. One time I had to change a DVD-drive 5 times to get a working one... It was my Thinkpad drive...what now has been working excellent for many years. Even if the keyboard, the hard disk, the screen, the case... but what can you expect from a notebook for only USD 8500 at this time.
But in any case - the quality control at Liteon seems not to exist or they simply accept this kind of quality as their standard... But we should not. This not working earphone plug should not happen and the reading quality should be better than that of a very old drive. There cannot be a minimum of quality control and this makes me think. Apart from the wasted time for finding alternative solutions for the problems I have to waste more money to go to the store 3 hours away and 3 hours back and change it - if they let me do it... And even then I am not sure that I will get a working drive or even a worse one. This is not a real option and I am thinking to put it to the scrap and buy a different brand what might be cheaper.
One great option I forget to mention. You can choose the color of your drive (white/black) by changeing the "Bezel Set". But the problems still remain the same. I would rather choose - a working drive...