Thankyou Ibex. I really wanted a BR drive, since storage is massive in comparison to DVD and it seems the BR disc tech is a tad more... 'stable'?!
I had some issues getting consistent reads from some (5yr old) MAM-A DVD archives. Thankfully I used two types of media (2x identical backups) Taiyo Yuden proved to be reading more consistently. Flipping both brands of discs over I could see issues with dye spots and burn rings! Anyway I digress...
I appreciate newer isn't always better, but thanks to your review Ibex, I'm quite confident that the Pioneer drive is a good external choice for my Macbook Pro.
My backup solution moving forward is to ditch the expensive M-disc idea and stick with Japanese imported Panasonic's. I shall then create an identical backup on a large ext harddrive; a failsafe in the event one backup goes bad. I shall also be creating a checksum at the point of archiving, that way I can periodically validate the integrity of my backups for corruption.
More specifically to importing; I had the forwarding service in Japan write "Goods to be custom cleared by the importer" whilst this apparently prevents the Royal Mail handling/admin fee, it is said to delay delivery as HMRC have to invoice tax via the post before the release of goods. Though I can't verify this method, as my consignment seemed to 'slip through the net' and my parcel was delivered straight away (lucky?)
The only advice I can give when considering imports is to thoroughly work out all possible additional fees:
There is an online tool (dutycalculator.com) which works out duty and/or tax based on the item to be imported and declared value.
There may also be an additional fee from the courier, unless you decide to self clear customs (see above for exact declaration that needs to be written explicitly on the CN22 form)
Also don't forget to consider any bank fees for foreign currency, though my bank doesn't charge for overseas purchases on my CC and uses the Mastercard exchange rate.
In my case I had to use a forwarding company to ship my parcel, since Amazon wouldn't accept shipping to the UK. JPN-DEPOT come highly recommended from me if shopping in Japan. I would suggest throwing their customer services some emails prior to engaging business. The fact the company I used were very helpful and quick to reply gave some reassurance. Always ask if anything is unclear.
Lastly don't be put off, as there is great potential to save, if prepared to do some homework and shop around.