[QUOTE=Cantab;2786774]Thanks for your replies. I’m tempted to take the plunge with one of these. I’ve emailed one of the sellers about the different designs though. Maybe something to do with LG and Hitachi’s merger? The newer drives seem to base the manufacturer in Japan, not Korea.[/QUOTE]
All these LG drives are HL-DT-ST (Hitachi-LG Data Storage, a long-standing joint venture), and have been since long before Blu-ray was a thing. We just call them LG because LG is the primary point of sales and service for them (kind of like how Hitachi and Maxell made CD-R together, but they were generally sold and branded as Maxell, and eventually it was Maxell’s name alone that went onto DVD media).
Now, it is possible that the drives have different designs for different regions AND different market segments; that’s a thing that many drive makers have done before. And it has resulted in the same drive having a slightly different front plate & (sometimes) a different casing. But this is something OTHER manufacturers have done; I haven’t paid close enough attention to LG to see if they’ve done the same for certain.