Have you ever had a disk that would not read on the aopen that would read on one of your toshibas or copy protected cd's that worked beter on one than the other (not challenging here, I have no idea, just asking).
I have both the Aopen 1648\AAP non pro and the 1648\AAP pro I never had any problems with the non pro not being able to read anything or having any problems with protections. there was ONE problem with the Pro version it had trouble with DVDRW disks ( which wasnt really a problem for me since I dont use DVDRW, but after hearing about the problem I got one and tested it and sure enough my pro wouldnt read it. that was with firmware 1.01 with the new 1.02 firmware released today the pro no longer has any problem reading DVDRW's.
I think the "great" toshiba drive model you are referring to is the 1712 but that is about the 1712 WITH hacked firmware which removed the riplock. I never used the firmware after going to the site and reading their disclaimer of " dont blame us becuase you can trash your drive and your system applying this hack" I decided to forgoe the hack. dont get me wrong toshiba's are great drives and not a bad choice at all I just prefer the greater ripping speed of the AOpen.