All DVD burners play and burn CDs and DVDs, but the Pioneer BDC-2202B5PK adds the ability to play (but not burn) high-definition Blu-ray Discs. As with all Blu-ray drives, there are myriad system requirements, so buyers should be sure the rest of their hardware is up to the task before making the plunge for a Blu-ray drive. Like other drives of its type, the Pioneer BDC-2202B5PK is slow in writing and reading CDs and DVDs, but burn quality is first-rate, and the extra few minutes to burn a DVD probably aren't going to be a huge issue for most. Those who don't care about playing Blu-ray Discs can spend much less and still get a good standard DVD burner, such as the highly regarded Samsung SH-S223Q (*Est. $30), which is notably faster when burning DVDs and CDs, and considerably less expensive.
The Pioneer BDC-2202B5PK is available in several different configurations -- such as the BDC-202 and BDC-S02BK -- that vary slightly in packaging or included software, but are otherwise identical. The best reviews can be found at CDRInfo.com and CDFreaks.com, which deliver long and detailed reports that will especially appeal to the technically savvy. The review at ExtremeTech.com is also detailed, but perhaps a little easier to digest. A handful of owner reviews can be read at Newegg.com.
CDRInfo.com -- which offers extremely long, detailed reviews based on extensive testing -- gives the Pioneer BD-ROM BDC-202 an Editor's Choice award. Although it's slow in burning DVDs (about 12x in tests), the burn quality is very good, editors say.
Review: Pioneer BD-ROM BDC-202, Editors of CDRInfo.com, June 25, 2007
This "mini review" is actually quite long by most standards, and extensive testing is done. While pros and a few cons are listed, there 's no numerical rating. Still, it's clear reviewer that Wendy Collins is recommending the Pioneer BDC-S02BK. The BDC-S02BK is the drive in the Pioneer BDC-2202B5PK retail package.
Review: Pioneer BDC-S02BK Blu-ray Combo Drive Mini Review, Wendy Collins, June 10, 2007
ExtremeTech.com's headline may call it "Blu-ray on the Cheap," but Loyd Case says that although it's a "capable Blu-ray player," the Pioneer BDC-2202B5PK is overpriced. However, while the drive remains current, both its price and the competitive landscape have changed notably since the review was written.
Review: Pioneer BDC-2202 BD-ROM Drive: Blu-ray on the Cheap, Loyd Case, Aug. 21, 2007
Britain's TrustedReviews.com gives the Pioneer BDC-S02BK a score of nine out of 10 and a Recommended award. The drive is called an "absolute bargain," and "a perfect drop-in upgrade for the HD-savvy consumer."
Review: Pioneer BDC-S02BK, Edward Chester, Dec. 1, 2007
About 30 owner reviews give the Pioneer high average scores. But even users who score it a perfect five say it's best to confirm that your system is up to playing Blu-ray Discs before buying.
Review: Pioneer BDC-S2202B Reviews, Contributors to Newegg.com