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Best external bluray drive 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2023
Best external bluray drive of 2018
I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. So this is not only going to give you an insight to the best external bluray drive of the 2018 but also those which are user friendly and easy to work with. Not all external bluray drive are created equal though.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this external bluray drive win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.
№2 – LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super Multi Ultra Slim Portable DVD Writer Drive +/-RW External Drive with M-DISC Support
Why did this external bluray drive come in second place?
The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this external bluray drive take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
external bluray drive Buyer’s Guide
Who this is for
Over years of testing, we’ve found that external optical drives have few big differences between them—they tend to look alike and perform similarly. If you already have an optical drive that serves you well and works with the discs you have, you won’t gain much, if anything, from upgrading to one of our picks.
If you still need an optical drive, but only sometimes, you’re better off getting one that connects via USB rather than buying a chunky laptop with a built-in drive.
You also shouldn’t buy a portable drive for a desktop computer that has room for an internal drive, because drives with a dedicated power source tend to be faster and cheaper than portable USB-powered options. Nor should you buy one to use with a tablet.
How we picked
The most important features for an optical drive are speed, size and weight, and noise. Price and availability are also important, as we’ve seen models disappear completely or become fare for third-party price-gougers as optical drives become less necessary to most people.
Speed: The speed of an external drive has two components, namely the drive’s read and write speeds, and the speed at which data travels between the drive and the computer. Theoretically, a 6x Blu-ray drive, for example, should need only a USB 2.0 connection, since the drive writes at a maximum of 2megabytes per second, and USB 2.0 reaches about 35 MB/s. In practice, however, the USB 3.0 drives we tested (such as our top Blu-ray pick) were faster than the USB 2.0 models. Most affordable models use USB 2.0.
Size and weight: About 7percent of the more than 300 people who responded to our survey said they used their external optical drive only at home, but enough people travel with one that both size and weight are important considerations. Plus, a more compact drive is easier to store when you’re not using it.
Noise: All optical drives make noise, but the drive shouldn’t drown out, say, the movie or show you’re trying to watch.
Sturdiness: Few external disc drives are pretty, but the case shouldn’t fall apart under light pressure, the connections shouldn’t be wobbly, and the buttons need to work when you press them.
Bus-powered (single-cable) operation: Most recent computers provide enough power to run an optical drive off a single USB cable, but some older laptops (such as the 20MacBook Air) don’t provide enough juice to a single port. For those computers, you’ll need a Y-cable that plugs into two USB ports to power the drive. Drives that come with a Y-cable, whether built-in or separate, provide some handy foolproofing. We didn’t test larger external drives that required their own power cord, as we saw those drives as being too expensive and bulky for most people’s needs.
With those criteria in mind, we scoured retailers for the best-selling and top-rated optical drives, and we checked manufacturer websites for models released since our previous update.
The LG GP70NS50 burned and ripped DVDs at about the same speeds as other drives we tested in 2017, but it currently costs more than our picks, and its silver paint scratched a few times in our travels. It’s a fine drive otherwise, and worth the investment if you can find it on sale.
The Samsung SE-208GB was our previous top DVD pick for this guide, due to its uncanny speed at ripping DVDs in Windows and its convenient top-mounted eject button and light. But it’s no longer available consistently at its prior price, and Samsung seems to have discontinued all of its optical drives after the bankruptcy of its TSST partnership with Toshiba. The same lack of availability eliminates the Samsung SE-218GP and the Samsung SE-506CB Slim Blu-ray Writer, also former picks.
At this writing, the Buffalo DVSM-PT58U2VB (aka the Buffalo MediaStation) costs more than our picks, but in our tests it ripped and burned DVDs at roughly the same speeds. It’s also a half-inch bigger on one side. The built-in Y-cable is worth paying for only to someone who travels a good deal with a low-power laptop.
The LG SP80NB60 is cheaper than our picks—and feels like it. This model ripped and burned at roughly the same speeds in our tests, but the USB connection felt loose, and we could feel the components of the drive shifting inside the case.
In our tests, the Dell DW31was notably slower (by about 1minutes) at burning DVDs on Windows. It currently costs more than our picks, and it’s not always in stock at retailers other than Dell. If you were buying a Dell laptop and needed an external drive mostly for reading discs, this model would not be a bad add-on purchase, but you can do better otherwise.
The Pioneer BDR-XD0was a former Blu-ray drive pick, but the company has replaced it with the BDR-XD05B.
The Archgon MD-3107S is large, heavy, and expensive, and it doesn’t come with Windows software. We also encountered several errors when trying to play DVDs that worked without issue on the other drives.
The Pioneer BDR-XU0has positive owner ratings and is thin and light, but is too expensive right now.
Pawtec’s drives (in black, orange, and red) have poor ratings, and the red model does not write Blu-rays.
All the external Blu-ray drives we tested, from top: Pioneer XD05, Samsung SE-506CB, Buffalo MediaStation BDXL, Samsung SE-506BB, and Archgon MD-3107S.
Our pick was the quietest drive we tested, and it’s conveniently thin and light for storage or portable use. The Samsung was the fastest to rip a Blu-ray to an MKV file. It was a few minutes slower than the competition in our other tests, but all the drives we tested (except the pricier Pioneer) take more than an hour to rip and burn Blu-rays.
The best external Blu-ray drive for most people is the Samsung SE-506CB.
The Samsung comes with the CyberLink Media Suite for playing DVDs and Blu-rays. This software works only on Windows, though, so Mac users will have to purchase other software or use other programs which are free, but technically illegal in the US, to watch Blu-rays.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The Samsung’s biggest flaw is that it’s a little bit slower at burning and ripping DVDs and Blu-rays and the other drives we tested. However, it was within minutes of the competition in almost all our tests, which take over an hour each.
In this article
Similarly, if you only want a drive to play DVDs or CDs, then a cheaper model will be fine. While external DVD burners are still very reasonable at a starting price of around £20, deciding on what you will be using the drive for is the best starting point.
Connecting Your Drive
There are currently two versions of USB slots around. USB 2.0 is the standard variety that nearly all computers have while USB 3.0 is the faster version that is the future. USB 3.0 offers transfer rates that are ten times faster and will become the norm in the future, but at the moment the two versions can cause issues.
Many newer laptops will have at least one USB 3.0 port, which is usually blue. Some of the best external DVD drives will be powered by USB 3.0 and will often clearly advertise the fact.
Write speed is the time it takes for a drive to create a new disk. Copying movies or music onto a disk is one of the most useful features of a disk drive and the write speed determines how long that process will take.
Choosing a write speed is all about what the drive will be used for. If you just want to watch movies on the go, a low speed is fine but if you plan on copying a large amount of files, then go for one of the best external DVD drives with something above 20X.
An external DVD drive and writer is the only way to play and burn files onto CDs and DVDs if you do not have a built-in disc writer on your laptop.
Silent Play – Reduces noise when playing or writing discs.
Buffer Underrun Free – Prevents common errors when burning discs.
TV Link – Connects to any TV that supports flash drives and allows you to access files on the disc drive.
Slim and Lightweight Design – Will be of importance to you if you plan on taking the device travelling.
Generally, manufacturers term the above features differently for their own branding but they pretty much do the same thing.
Why storage is so important
When you press that shutter release button, the camera does its thing and a fraction of a second later several million bytes of data needs a new home. It’s easy to regard that mass of data as simply an image file, but with modern digital photography it’s easy to generate thousands of image files consuming terabytes of storage space. Taking a picture or shooting a video is simple but what you do next requires a bit of thought – otherwise you’ll end up with a mass of randomly stored images and a big headache finding what you need in the future.
Ease of finding the photos you need
Once you’ve built up a sizeable archive of files, finding files you need can be a major problem. Fortunately, photo image files can be keyword tagged with appropriately meaningful words that can help you to find target images quickly and easily. You can use DAM (Digital Asset Management) software to build a robust database of tagged images, although even your computer’s operating system may be able to offer a rudimentary image tagging and searching facility. Storing your images in a logical structure of folders, perhaps arranged by date or subject, can also help, although I wouldn’t recommend this instead of tagging.
Hard disk drives
Hard disks are so named because there used to be a flexible or ‘floppy’ disk alternative. An electromagnetic read/write head ‘flies’ on a cushion of air, a tiny fraction of a millimetre above a magnetic disc (called a platter) that spins at up to 10,000 RPM. In principle the faster the platter spins the faster data can be written to it and read from it. The term ‘disk’ – with a ‘k’ – is historic and comes from the term ‘diskette’ or a small disc.
The most common hard drive spin speeds are 5400 and 7200RPM. Other performance factors include the drive’s cache memory and controller circuitry. Some 5400RPM drives can perform as well as, or even better than, some 7200RPM drives. Computer magazines regularly test batches of drives from different manufacturers and these tests can be a good guide to ultimate performance as well as value for money.
You may notice the term ‘green’ being used in the model name or description for a hard drive. This means that the drive has been designed to use less power and to operate at a lower temperature than the manufacturer’s standard drives. There may be a small penalty in performance, but not always. Sometimes ‘green’ drives are audibly quieter, too.
Hard disk drives are available in many capacities and several standard form factor sizes. Laptops generally use 2.inch drives, while desktop PCs traditionally use 3.inch drives (although some compact models use the smaller 2.inch drives). There are also super-small 1.inch drives sometimes used in netbooks. Until a few years ago one-inch drives incorporated into units the same size as a compact flash cards, called Microdrives, were in common use; solid state flash memory cards have now rendered Microdrives obsolete, but larger hard drives continue to improve steadily in performance and overall capacity.
The capacity of a hard drive depends on the density at which data can be written to the drive’s platter and how many platters are contained. In 3.inch sizes capacities commonly available are 500GB, or and terabytes (TB), respectively. A terabyte is a thousand gigabytes, or a million megabytes. 4TB 3.inch drives are now available and we may see even higher capacity drives in the near future.
2TB 2.inch drives are already available, although 250, 500 and 750GB 2.inch drives are the most commonly sold at present. Don’t assume that any 2.inch drive will fit inside your laptop as a replacement, because in order to accommodate extra platters the thickness or height of the drive could be greater than the space available. The most commonly used 2.inch drives are 9.5mm high, but some are as slim as 5mm and others as large as 15mm.
As manufacturers of hard disk drives and flash memory devices have pushed the envelope and reduced costs while steadily increasing capacities, the relevance of optical media has waned. Recordable CDs and DVDs are slow and often unreliable, as well as offering only limited capacity. With 3and 64GB memory cards now commonly available, even recordable Blu-Ray discs, which remain stubbornly expensive, are unattractive for photo storage. Optical media does remain a viable option for creating slide shows and, of course, edited video movies.
Firewire is a serial bus standard that works like a network and can operate as a chain of interconnected devices. Back when USB was just 1megabits per second Firewire was offering 400 megabit speeds, but Firewire never gained the ubiquity of USB. Later we had Firewire 800 (800 megabits/sec) but its adoption was once again far lower than USB 2.0.
SATA and eSATA
Most basic hard disk drives, or bare drives, and other devices like DVD or Blu-Ray drives, connect to their hosts using SATA (Serial ATA). SATA is a high performance data bus designed to work over relatively short cables, connecting fast storage devices like hard disk drives inside a computer’s case. eSATA is a version of SATA; this enables SATA devices to be connected externally while retaining the same level of performance as internal SATA drives. Using eSATA-connected drive docking stations is a convenient way of using multiple bare hard disk drives.
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to backup your data; it’s so important that backup facilities are now built into computer operating systems. There’s also a burgeoning market for independent vendors of backup software, and the best of these will offer solutions that are easier to use than OS-based offerings. This is an important point because you will tend not to use a system that is difficult to use, no matter how effective it might be. You can backup a complete computer system operating system, applications programs and your data files, or just the data files; it’s your choice.
Social media networks
Billions of photos are shot every day – more than at any time in the history of photography, though the number of prints made from photos is lower now than it has been for many years. Instead of printing photos they are being shown on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others, including photo-centric networks like Flickr, Image Bucket, etc. Simplifying the sharing of photos to your preferred networks can save a lot of time. Look out for photo-sharing options in desktop software and, especially, image apps for smartphones and tablets.
In the early days of the Blu-ray format most players could not internally decode HD multichannel audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD MA. Some players could decode either Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio, but not both. Buyers without a receiver capable of decoding of the compressed audio would often seek that feature when considering which player to purchase. Today, most of the players on the market (even the inexpensive models) are capable of decoding all the Blu-ray lossless audio formats and sending them as a LPCM signal to your receiver or HDTV. If you have a high end home theater receiver, you might prefer for the Blu-ray player to bitstream and have the receiver work the decoding. Bitstreaming (sending the compressed HD audio signal to the receiver as a raw digital stream) is also supported by most of the current players.
Format support for SACDs (Super Audio CD) and DVD-Audio discs are essential features for lovers of high resolution music. SACD and DVD-Audio compatibility are usually not included with inexpensive players, but as a premium feature on medium or higher priced models.
Connects a digital camera or thumb drive to view video or music. The port can also be utilized for external memory needed in many BD Live features.
The player comes equipped with all the devices required for it to access a wireless network.
Wireless or USB Keyboard Support
If you’re in a hurry, these are the most important things to consider when choosing a new laptop. For a lot more detail, see the sections below.
12.5 to 14-inch screens offer the best balance between usability and portability. Larger screens are fine if you don’t travel much and smaller models are great for kids.
SSD Storage instead of a hard drive.
8+ hours of battery life is ideal if you plan to take your laptop anywhere at all.
Consider a 2-in-if you want to use your laptop as a tablet. If not, a standard clamshell notebook may be a better choice.
Chromebooks are good for kids. Windows laptops and MacBooks both offer plenty of functionality; which platform you prefer is a matter of personal taste.
Found on inexpensive “Chromebooks” such as the Lenovo 100S Chromebook, Google’s OS is simple and secure, but limited. The user interface looks a lot like Windows with an application menu, a desktop and the ability to drag windows around, but the main app you use is the Chrome browser. The downside is that many of the “web apps” you use don’t work particularly well offline. However, that’s changing as a few Chromebooks, including the high-end, Google PixelBook, can now run Android apps.
Choose the Right Size
1to 1inches: Provides the best balance of portability and usability, particularly if you get a laptop that weighs under pounds.
1inches: The most popular size, 15-inch laptops usually weigh 4.to 6.pounds. Consider this size if you want a larger screen and you’re not planning to carry your notebook around often.
1to 1inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17- or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity.
Here are the main components to keep an eye on.
CPU: The “brains” of your computer, the processor has a huge influence on performance, but depending on what you want to do, even the least-expensive model may be good enough. Here’s a rundown.
Intel Core i5: If you’re looking for a mainstream laptop with the best combination of price and performance, get one with an Intel Core iCPU. Models that end in U (ex: Core i5-7200U) are the most common. Those with the a Y in the name are low power and have worse performance while models with an HQ use more wattage and appear in thicker gaming and workstation systems. Intel’s new 8th Generation, “Kaby Lake Refresh” CPUs have model numbers that begin with (ex: Core i5-8250U) and double the number of cores from two to four, which dramatically improves performance.
Intel Core i7: A step up from Core i5, which Models with numbers that end in HQ or K use higher wattage and have four cores, allowing for even faster gaming and productivity. There are also Core iY series chips that have lower power and performance. Keep an eye out for CPUs that have a in the model number (ex: Core i7-8250U) because they are part of Intel’s latest, 8th Generation Core Series, and offer better performance. However, 8th Gen processors are only available in the U series right now.
Intel Core i3: Performance is just a step below Core iand so is the price. If you can possibly step up to a Core i5, we recommend it.
AMD A, FX or E Series: Found on low-cost laptops, AMD’s processors — the company calls them APUs rather than CPUs — provide decent performance for the money that’s good enough for web surfing, media viewing and productivity.
Intel Core m / Core i/ i”Y Series” — Low-power and low heat allow systems with these processors to go fanless. Performance is better than Celeron, but a notch below regular Core iU series.
Don’t Skimp on Battery Life
If you’re buying large, bulky notebook that you’ll use only on a desk near an outlet, you don’t have to worry about battery life. However, if you plan to use the laptop on your lap, even if it’s at home and or work, you’ll want at least hours of endurance, with 8+ hours being ideal. To determine a notebook’s expected battery life, don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it. Instead, read third-party results from objective sources, such as our reviews.
Gone are the times when one suffered from low definition multimedia content. Thanks to high-quality audio and video recorders, as well as powerful computers that can process them efficiently, more high-definition multimedia content is becoming available online. The downside to this, however, is the need for more memory to store the same length of footage or the same amount of photos than before.
If you’re going for a hard disk drive, you’re most likely going to be faced with two options regarding speed: 7,200rpm and 5,400rpm. The 5,400rpm is the speed most internal hard drives have, while the 7,200 rpm hard drives are offered to people who want a little more speed. Take note, however, that the difference in speed will only be apparent if you go for at least a USB 3.0 interface. If you’re stuck with USB 2.0 or other slower options, then you may be better off investing in a larger capacity 5,400rpm hard drive.
Also, take note that hard drives that have moving parts are subject to wear-and-tear, which means that 7,200rpm hard drives, because of having to spin faster than their 5,400rpm counterpart, will have a shorter lifespan. In short, if you have at least a USB 3.0 port and are prepared to sacrifice lifespan for performance, then go with a 7,200rpm external hard drive. Otherwise, go for a 5,400rpm external hard drive.
If you’re going for a solid-state drive, then you’re most likely going to be faced with two options as well: MLC flash and SLC flash. Multi-level cell (MLC) memory is the most common type of flash memory often found in smartphones, cameras, USB flash drives, and other gadgets. MLC flash memory is cheap, but it easily wears out and has a slower write speed compared to single-level cell (SLC) memory. SLC has a much faster write speed and is more reliable. Obviously, SLC memory will be much more expensive though. For most applications, you should be perfectly fine with MLC flash memory.
Aside from memory access type itself, the transfer speeds for 5400 RPM HDDs are usually around 100MB/s, with 7200 RPM drives going up to around 160MB/s. SSDs, on the other hand, are all over the place in terms of speed, with 500-550 MB/s being roughly the fastest as of now (note that these speeds are approximated and can vary a lot between drives). As we previously discussed, this is why SSDs and 7200 RPM HDDs are better for storing and loading games and programs, while 5400 RPM HDDs are better for storing simple media files.
While most external hard disk drives do nothing more than what your internal hard disk drives do, which is storing and retrieving files, there are actually some products available that provide automatic backup with a press of a button, as well as other nifty security features. These features, however, will cost you a bit more, but if you’re willing to spend more for convenience, then you may find these features well worth the money. Otherwise, you may simply opt to manually backup your files yourself.
Total Backup & Archive Solution
Backing up to optical media is becoming increasingly more popular – especially for photos, audio files and video. This optical drive includes all the software you need to archive your data on either a Mac or a PC. Don’t let your only copy be the one on your hard drive – optical media is durable, portable and easy to store.
If your OWC or NewerTech brand product should require service during the warranty coverage period, we are committed to delivering the fastest possible service.
Upon receipt of your unit, OWC will make every attempt to service it and arrange shipping back to you all within 4weekday (Monday-Friday) business hours, excluding U.S. national holidays. This warranty service timeframe does not include data recovery attempts, out of stock items/components, or upgrade/product replacements.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your external bluray drive wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of external bluray drive
- №1 — Pioneer Electronics USA Slim External Blu Ray Drive BDR-XD05S Silver
- №2 — LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super Multi Ultra Slim Portable DVD Writer Drive +/-RW External Drive with M-DISC Support
- №3 — LG BP50NB40 6x Blu-ray Rewriter BD-RE/8x DVD±RW DL USB 2.0 Slim External Drive