A Closer Look:
The iHes208 comes with a silver bezel, SATA cable, mounting screws, Cyberlink BD solutions CD which contains playback and burning software, and a manual + supporting documentation while the contents of the box are to be expected as it is standard fare for CD and DVD drives to come with all this it is nice to see that Lite-On hasn’t cut corners in order to reduce costs. It was also pleasant to see that an optical drive manufacturer has finally included a spare bezel in something other than beige. I guess manufacturers have finally caught on to the fact that no one sells beige PC cases anymore.
The drive itself looks much like any other drive you may have save for the Blu-Ray logo on the front denoting the ability to play BD disks. The iHES 208 is also one of the first drives from Lite-On to feature LightScribe a process that allows you to create durable, Silk Screen quality labels directly on CD’s and DVD’s to the best of my knowledge there are no plans to create Blu-Ray versions of these special disks. My personal opinion of LightScribe is that it is a useless technology that has little more than niche uses due to the amount of time to create decent images and the detail that is able to be achieved. My personal opinion aside the LightScribe compatibility is labeled quite clearly on the front bezel of the drive.
One of the other features that isn’t openly advertised on the drive itself is the fact that the iHES208 features what Lite-On calls SmartWrite technology what this does is it creates writing strategies for unknown or unsupported DVD and CD media. In more lamens terms SmartWrite can take off brand or knock off disks, such as ones that some drives have issues writing too and it will create the writing strategy that is normally required to be previously programed into the drives firmware. The addition of SmartWrite also enables the use of Lite-On’s “OverSpeed” function which during the creation of new writing strategy’s it will attempt to bypass the normal speed restrictions on the disks, for example a Verbatim disk that says its allowed speed is 6-8x may be bypassed for a speed 4-16x. Now would be a good time to note that choosing a speed that is beyond what the manufacture states as the recommended speed can result in higher than normal failure rates for your burned disks.