Best External CD/DVD Drives

Review & Comparison, Last Update March 16, 2017
Less and less laptops nowadays have CD/DVD drives, but we sometimes still need them. In this case, external drives come to help us. In this review we offer you a shortlist of five best external CD/DVD drives to help you choose what you need for yourself. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Supported Disc Types
Reading Speed
Writing Speed
Buffer Memory
Interface & Supported OS
Design
Size
Weight
 
PROS
This Samsung external CD/DVD drive supports most part of disc types. You will be able to make backup copies of your system on one disc. This external DVD drive has classical design and is very slim.
CONS
Some reviewers note that the backlight of this external CD drive is distracting in a dark room.
OUR VERDICT
If you love to watch a high-resolution or 3D video, the AV Connectivity technology will allow you to plug this external CD/DVD drive into a TV-set. The M-DISK™ technology allows users to store important data for a very long time.
detailed parameters
Type
Blu-ray Writer
Supported Disc Types
Blu-ray, CD, DVD
Reading Speed
Blu-ray - 6x DVD - 5x to 8x CD - 24x
Writing Speed
Blu-ray - 2x to 6x DVD - 5x to 8x CD - 24x
Buffer Memory
4 MB
Interface & Supported OS
USB 2.0 / 3.0 Windows, Mac
Design
This external CD drive has a square shape, its edges are slightly beveled down, the top cover has a backlighted Blu-ray logo. It can be placed horizontally, has an extendable tray for a disc. Is offered in black and white colors.
Size
6.65" x 7.13" x 0.47"
Weight
0.59 pounds
PROS
Disc Encryption will enable you to encipher the data on this USB external DVD drive with a password. It can be set either horizontally or vertically, so you will have no problem with placing it regardless of the space you have.
CONS
You might need to sometimes wipe the shimmering surface.
OUR VERDICT
With this portable external CD/DVD drive you will burn discs in only three steps. And its stylish diamond-cut design won't let you just pass by.
detailed parameters
Type
DVD Rewriter
Supported Disc Types
CD, DVD
Reading Speed
DVD - 4x to 8x CD - 10x to 24x
Writing Speed
DVD - 5x to 8x CD - 16x to 24x
Buffer Memory
1 MB
Interface & Supported OS
USB 2.0 / 3.0 Windows, Mac
Design
A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with a shimmering finish, the top cover has a diamond pattern. You can set this USB external CD drive either horizontally or vertically. The disc tray is extendable.
Size
6.18" x 5.59" x 0.83"
Weight
0.69 pounds (0.77 pounds with a stand)
PROS
This external DVD drive features Silent Play technology to minimize the noise from the drive. With the Nonstop playability, the video will continue to play smoothly even if there are scratches on the disc surface. You can burn M-DISC™ DVDs with this external DVD drive.
CONS
At first glance the tray may seem unreliable, but there were no cases recorded of it breaking.
OUR VERDICT
Small size and light weight of this external DVD drive will be an excellent choice if you travel a lot.
detailed parameters
Type
DVD Rewriter
Supported Disc Types
CD, DVD
Reading Speed
DVD - 4x to 8x CD - 24x
Writing Speed
DVD - 2x to 8x CD - 4x to 24x
Buffer Memory
0.75 MB
Interface & Supported OS
USB 2.0 / 3.0 Windows, Mac
Design
A strict, almost square-shaped external CD drive, the top cover looks like brushed metal. It can be placed horizontally. There is an extendable disc tray. Is offered in black and silver colors.
Size
5.67" x 5.41" x 0.55"
Weight
0.44 pounds
PROS
You will not be worrying about the connection cord, as the cord in this USB external CD drive is an integral part of the body. The housing is made of aluminum and is scratch-resistant.
CONS
This Mac external CD drive is only supported by the Apple devices.
OUR VERDICT
This neat USB external CD drive is made of high-quality materials, it will be duly appreciated by the Apple users with no embedded DVD drive.
detailed parameters
Type
DVD Rewriter
Supported Disc Types
CD, DVD
Reading Speed
DVD - 8x CD - 24x
Writing Speed
DVD - 6x to 8x CD - 16x to 24x
Buffer Memory
1.5 MB
Interface & Supported OS
USB 2.0 / 3.0 Mac
Design
An external DVD drive performed in a traditional Apple style, square shape with straight lines and rounded corners. The housing is aluminum. It can be placed horizontally. There is no disc tray, it is a slot-loading drive.
Size
5.47" x 5.47" x 0.67"
Weight
0.74 pounds
PROS
The technology used in this external DVD drive will save your laptop power. A Smart Archive will keep your important data safe.
CONS
Some users note this external DVD drive produces a lot of noise when it works at high speed.
OUR VERDICT
Brightness and variety of colors will not leave anyone unaffected. It will be a good present for a girl.
detailed parameters
Type
DVD Rewriter
Supported Disc Types
CD, DVD
Reading Speed
DVD - 8x CD - 24x
Writing Speed
DVD - 6x to 8x CD - 24x
Buffer Memory
0.75 MB
Interface & Supported OS
USB 2.0 / 3.0 Windows, Mac, Android, Chrome
Design
A square-shaped external DVD drive with slightly rounded back part. The front part is a little thinner than the back part, an eject button is on the top. It can be placed horizontally. There is an extendable disc tray. Is offered in four colors.
Size
5.75" x 5.85" x 0.55"
Weight
0.46 pounds

What is an External Cd/Dvd Drive

Our age is the age of increasing performance capabilities and at the same time of minimizing sizes for portable electronic devices. Every manufacturer strives to make their products smaller, and often it means sacrificing some features. More and more laptops nowadays come without optical disc drives, and Ultrabooks are the whole class of devices that does not have this type of drive. But some people are not ready yet to give it up for USB drives and Cloud Storage. Several software products are released on optical discs only even today. The CD/DVD drives are on their way out, but there is still a necessity for them. For this very reason, manufacturers come to release external CD/DVD drives to connect them to laptops and Ultrabooks. With an external DVD drive, you can always read, copy, or write (burn) an optical disc. An external DVD drive easily connects to any computer with a USB 2.0 port or newer. Even if the DVD drive of your personal computer has been broken, you can simply replace it with a USB external DVD drive. And with their small sizes and light weight, the external CD/DVD drives can be used anywhere and anytime.

If your laptop has only one USB port and you prefer using the mouse (so, your USB external CD drive can’t be connected), then you need a USB hub for additional connections. The hub will multiply the number of your USB ports. And if you like the USB flash drives but need more storage space, then you will find it useful to look through our external hard drives review with their hundreds of Gigabytes of data right there in your pocket.

What Features to Compare

When you are looking for an external DVD drive, firstly look at its Drive Type. It lists the types of discs you will be able to use, so think about what discs you will need to use before buying. There are three types of discs that are the most popular: CD discs, DVD discs, and Blu-ray. By ways of using different technologies, these types of discs differ in the amount of data they can store. For example, you can write up to 700 MB of data on a CD disc, but on a DVD disc, you can store up to 4.7 GB, and Blu-ray is suitable for storing up to 50 GB of data. You should decide how much information you plan to burn on a disc.  If it's just a small video or a few hundreds of photos, then a DVD drive is more than enough for you. These discs are very popular and widespread. And for high-quality and high-resolution video, backup copies of your operation system, or data storage Blu-ray discs will be more suitable. Large storage space of such discs will handle these tasks best. It stands to reason that different types of discs require different drive types with different technologies. When you purchase a DVD supporting device, you will be able to run both DVD and CD discs. But such drive will not read a Blu-ray disc. Choose a Blu-ray supporting drive, and any of the types we mentioned above will be accessible to you.

Another important parameter for any external DVD drive's performance is its reading and writing Speed. Manufacturers usually indicate it by numbers with an "x" letter. The "1x" speed of a DVD disc means 1.32 Megabytes per second, and for a Blu-ray disc, it is 4.5 Megabytes per second. What you see in reality is that an 8x DVD drive burns a whole disc in 7.5 minutes. A 6x Blu-ray will burn a standard disc in 15 minutes. The numbers are not unchangeable, the writing time depends on the file type and the quality of the disc itself.

As your external CD/DVD drive is something that is often seen, its Design also matters. The market offers a wide variety of external DVD drives, you will surely find the one that meets your preference. If you plan to carry the USB external DVD drive with you, be sure to note its size. When you choose the size right, it will allow you to put the device nicely in the pocket of your bag or pouch. And the light weight will make it so that you don't need to doubt whether you should take the external DVD drive with you or not.

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Review of Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM Portable Blu-ray External Drive

Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM

Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM

Drive Type

Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM is the only external Blu-ray drive in our review. This format allows you to write tens of Gigabytes of information and playing your favorite movies in high resolution. With an AV Connectivity technology, you will be able to connect this USB external DVD drive to a TV set and use it like you use a conventional USB drive. Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM USB external CD drive easily burns CD and DVD discs. Aside from regular Blu-ray, this external DVD drive also supports the M-DISC™. The developers of this technology state that these discs can store data for more than a thousand years. They are not sensitive to sunlight and do not wear off. Such characteristics enable you to save important photos and video for years without fear of losing them forever.

Speed

According to its characteristics, this external CD/DVD drive will be able to write a regular Blu-ray disc in 15 minutes, owing to the 6x burning speed. The reading speed of such disc will be 27 Megabytes per second. You will comfortably watch videos in high resolution directly from the disc. The writing and reading a DVD disc is performed at the speed of 10.56 Megabytes per second, and as for a CD disc - it's 3.5 Megabytes per second. The buffer memory is 4 MB, which makes it possible to write discs at high speed with low data damage probability.

Design

Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM is a USB external CD drive of classical design. Its rather strict appearance is only disturbed by a glossy finish of the top cover. In the center of the cover, you will find a Blu-ray logo, which softly glows when the external CD/DVD drive is turned on. The lower corners are slightly beveled inside, giving off the impression that the USB external DVD drive floats over your desk. This Samsung USB external CD drive is mere 0.47 inches thick, and, with its strict design, it will look extremely good on your desk.

VIDEO
Unboxing Samsung SE-506 Slim Portable Blu-ray Writer + AV Connectivity note
Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM
Samsung SE-506CB/RSBDM
 
Review of ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U External Slim DVD+/-RW Drive

ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U

ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U

Drive Type

Asus SDRW-08D2S-U USB external DVD drive quickly and effortlessly burns and reads both CD and DVD discs. A wide range of features makes it an irreplaceable purchase for everyone. With the help of CyberLink software technology, you will easily write a disc with a movie or music you want to enjoy later. And the Disc Encryption technology is the way to protect your data from outsiders by using a password.

Speed

The USB 2.0 interface allows this external CD/DVD drive to write a DVD disc at the speed from 6x to 8x. The reading speed also varies, from 5x to 8x. Such speed is high enough to copy all the necessary data, or write them on the disc with next to no effort, in mere 8 minutes. And the same operations for a CD disc take place at the speed of 24x, so the time needed to perform them will be around 4 minutes. At the same time, the possibility of damaging a disc in the process is equal to zero, as the buffer memory here is 1 MB. The average access time to a DVD disc is 160 ms.

Design

A very stylish design of this Asus SDRW-08D2S-U external CD hard drive will surely draw your attention. Its diamond-cut design with a shimmering finish creates unmatched light effects on the top cover of the USB external CD drive. Together with this external DVD hard drive you will also receive a stand. The stand allows you to place your external DVD drive upright, thus saving some space on your desk.

VIDEO
Asus SDRW-08D2S-U External Slim DVD+-RW Drive USB 2.0 Black Review [HD]
ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U
ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U
 
Review of LG GP60NB50 Ultra Slim Portable DVD External Drive

LG GP60NB50

LG GP60NB50

Drive Type

LG GP60NB50 external DVD hard drive's intended use is for reading and writing DVD and CD discs. It supports almost all variants of these formats. Additionally, it has a powerful laser that enables you to burn M-DISC™. With this feature, you will have the opportunity to save all precious moments of your life for future generations. A technology for noise reduction and smooth reading of damaged surfaces allows users to comfortably watch their favorite movies directly from a disc. And a TV Connectivity makes it possible to link the USB external DVD drive to a TV-set.

Speed

Speed characteristics of this USB external DVD drive allow writing a DVD in just 7 minutes. Approximately the same time you will need to copy all the data from your discs. This time can increase in case you use a re-writable disc. The reason for that is before writing new data the external DVD drive has to erase the previous data from the disc. To write data on a CD disc you will need approximately 4 minutes. This external CD hard drive has a buffer memory of 0.75 MB, which is more than enough to temporarily store data when you write a disc at an 8x speed.

Design

Straight lines and almost equal dimensions make LG GP60NB50 external CD/DVD drive look like a small box. The only thing that points to its nature is a cord you plug into the USB port at the back of the USB external CD drive. The top cover is glossy with slight bevels to the edges. Under the thin layer of enamel, you will see a pattern resembling rough-ground metal. This pattern adds to the external DVD drive's unparalleled charm. And light weight accompanied by slimness makes taking it with you anywhere pretty convenient. You can purchase LG GP60NB50 in black and silver colors.

VIDEO
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Ultra Slim Portable DVD+/-RW External Drive Review
LG GP60NB50
LG GP60NB50
 
Review of Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)

Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)

Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)

Drive Type

This Mac external CD drive is designed for the owners of MacBook Pro with Retina display, MacBook Air, iMac (starting from 2012), Mac Mini (starting from 2009), Mac Pro (starting from 2013). With the Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A) you will be able to watch movies on DVD, install software, create backup copies, and perform many other tasks. The USB external DVD drive is compatible with most types of CD and DVD discs.

Speed

The Apple USB Superdrive burns a DVD disc at the speed from 6x to 8x, and for a CD disc, it is 16x to 24x. These characteristics allow for the high-speed writing of both CD and DVD discs. For example, you will have to sacrifice only 7 minutes of your precious time to write a DVD disc, or 12 minutes if the disc is double-layer. This Mac external CD drive reads a disc at the speed of 10.5 Megabytes per second. And copying data from a CD disc will take 5 minutes. Buffer zone for data storage here is 1.5 MB, and this is a rather big index for an external DVD drive.

Design

The same as any other Apple device, this external CD/DVD drive is gracefully minimalistic. Straight lines, rounded corners, cold metal, and no external moving parts. Everything unnecessary was taken away, only the functionally useful parts were left. Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A) will be a perfect companion to your MacBook or iMac. You will not have to worry about the lost cord, as this Mac external DVD drive has its cord firmly fixed to the body. And thanks to its size, this Apple USB external DVD drive won't take a lot of space on your desk.

VIDEO
 Apple USB SuperDrive Unboxing and Demo!
Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)
Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)
 
Review of Samsung SE-208GB/RSRD Ultra-Slim Optical Drives

Samsung SE-208GB/RSRD

Samsung SE-208GB/RSRD

Drive Type

You can easily use this SAMSUNG SE-208GB/RSRD external CD hard drive with laptops and Ultrabooks. The Smart Power technology provides for low power consumption, it will be extremely helpful if you are travelling and have no chance to recharge your device at any moment. And Smart Archive technology will help you in case you need to safely store some valuable data. This USB external DVD drive supports most of the existing DVD and CD standards, so you will no doubt be able to enjoy your favorite movies and music.

Speed

This model of a USB external CD drive can write DVD discs at the speed of 10.5 Megabytes per second. Reading from a disc is performed at approximately the same speed. For writing a CD disc the SAMSUNG SE-208GB/RSRD external CD hard drive uses a speed of 3.5 Megabytes per second. Interchanging data between the USB external CD drive and the computer occurs at around 60 Megabytes per second. All the above mentioned allows you to write or copy your data rather quickly. And the 0.75 MB buffer memory will ensure you do this without a hitch.

Design

You can easily single out the SAMSUNG SE-208GB/RSRD external CD/DVD drive from its peers as it has a bright and noticeable design. The market offers this USB external DVD drive in black, blue, red, and white colors. The disc eject button is located on the top. It is extremely convenient compared to the most competitors with the button on the front panel, which can be difficult to push. The variety of colors allows customers to choose the external DVD hard drive to your personal liking. And small size and 0.55-inch thickness will make it easy to carry the device around with you.

VIDEO
Samsung Ultra-Thin DVD Drive SE-208GB/RSBD Black
Samsung SE-208GB/RSRD
Samsung SE-208GB/RSRD
 

Sources:

1. Your Guide to Buying a DVD+RW Drive, eBay. March 10, 2016.

2. Whitson Gordon How to Survive Without a DVD Drive In Your Laptop, Lifehacker. June 28, 2012.

3. Margarita Caraballo How to Choose a DVD Burner, About tech.

4. How to Connect External Hard Drive to Macbook Pro, wikiHow.