For a long time I've been a proponent of Plextor drives. They've worked perfectly, given high burn quality, allowed ripping of discs that other drives choked on, and recently featured features on their DVD burners that were simply unparalleled like Silent Drive, and burn quality scans. The newer features are a result of Plextor's included software bundle by the name of Plextools Pro. Lately, also SATA connectivity although in reality all they've done is include a ATA to SATA convertor in the drive housing.
Even though Plextor often commands a 100% price premium over similar drives, the features they have and Plextools Pro have convinced many, including myself, that the extra cost is worth it and we have bought Plextor drives.
Well, it seems that Plextor has decided that a 100% premium and the resultant profits are not enough and have devised a new way to bilk the consumer.
What am I talking about? Why Plextools XL of course. On the face of it Plextools XL doesn't seem like a bad thing as it features a few new features over Pro:
The PlexTools Professional XL GUI consists of 3 independent windows with a redesigned look
The test functions have been updated with new, stylish graphical displays.
PlexTools Professional XL automatically checks the software's and all drives firmware for the latest version and updates it immediately if necessary. A similar version is available for the PlexTools Professional software version.
Both the AudioCDMaker and Disc Extraction functions have been expanded with CueSheet support and extra options.
The Disc Maker function has the option to load and save projects and a new DVD-Video project has been added that allows burning an existing DVD-Video image to disc.
Several smaller changes and options have been added and are planned for future releases.
Okay, so far what's the big deal you ask? IF you don't like the crappy "new" features simply don't buy it and at $54 FREAKING DOLLARS you'd be well advised not to. Well, Plextor has decided that they're not going to give you a choice because THEY'RE TAKING AWAY the free Plextools Pro software in upcoming drive releases.
Of course you may ask how do I know this. Well, quite simple really. Let's look at Plextor's latest DVD burner release the PX-716 in ATA (716A), SATA (716SA), and no tray (716AL) flavors released in that order. Note also that the 716AL was announced right around the same time as Plextools XL. So let's look at the pages for the drives on Plextor and pay particular attention to the software bundle included:
Notice the GLARING omission in the bundle for the most recently released drive, the 716AL, which as I noted before was announced right at the same time as Plextools XL. That's right, you'll be paying through the nose for Plextor drives and they won't even include Plextools.
Thanks Plextor. Way to screw your customers. This has been a PSA for those thinking about buying the PX-716AL and future Plextor DVD burners.