I'm no fan of the 716, and I agree that for the price Plextor could have done better.
DVR-109 No Retail = $47.00
-What do the scans look like? Oh, right ... better buy a LG to go with it.
GSA-4163B Retail = $59.99
-Is this drive a good scanner? Oh, right ... better buy a Liteon to do the scanning, but it better not be a 411 or 811 series. And by the time you get the 4163 home, LG will have already released a 4165 and 4190 and 5380 and 9999.
SOHW-1693S Retail = $56.99
-Need to load a different firmware every time you buy a different media brand, and WTF is an "omnipatcher"?
TS-H552B REFURBISHED Retail = $41.30
-Never heard of this used drive. I bet an RMA would be lots of fun.
BenQ DW1620 Retail = $59.99
-Does the "manual" still take 40 seconds to flutter to the ground? Hopefully it won't be one of the ones that dies within a month ... better buy two and have fun flashing 'em with new firmwares every week.
NEC ND-3520A No Retail = $46.00
-The only decent firmwares for it will void the warranty, and the 3500 is a better drive. And neither does scans, better buy a 3540 to go with it.
There is no perfect burner. Some of the above stuff doesn't matter to some people and to others it's critical. Price isn't everything.