I am looking to get a backup writer (which could become primary and make my current drive the backup). I have a BenQ 1620, with which I am very happy. I've also owned a NEC 3520A, with which I wasn't exactly happy, which I've subsequently gotten rid of.
My main considerations are burn quality, durability & dependability, advertised burn speed and ability to do PIE/PIF scans. Quality firmware updates are also nice. I am not interested in hacking the firmware or using enthusiast versions of firmware. I mostly use very high quality +R media, which I burn at 12X. DL is not an issue for me, I don't need it at all (but I guess all drives support it these days).
I am eyeing the BenQ/Philips 1640[P]; unfortunately, they're not available in the US. But I can wait a bit, my 1620 is going strong.
What else should be on my shortlist?