As a member of the "lucky 1620 owners club", I feel obligated to post my case. I bought one from Newegg. I forgot the exact month but I guess it was made in China, December 04 product.
Burned ~10 discs/day for a month to replace my old stock of data DVDs. Now I burned close to 400 DVDs. It still works great and I see no sign of quality drop. In fact, I feel that the scan is better for recent burns.
I mostly used excellent media, (value line) TYG01, (branded) TYG02, MCC003, TY T02 etc. So I can't be sure of its ability of handling low quality media. But my short experience with other media such as Ritek G04, CMC R01, CMC E01, RicohjpnR01, etc, suggests that 1620 handles them pretty well.
So.. if you're lucky, you'll receive the best DVD writer in the world. The question is... Are you ready to take the risk?