Best External CD/DVD Drives for Your Media

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 23, 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 of 2017 to help you choose what you need for yourself. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Reading Speed
Writing Speed
Buffer Memory
Design
Size
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

The drive comes with the pre-installed CyberLink Media Suite software so that you can perform basic operations on disks very quickly.

CONS

The glossy side of the drive can be splotched easily.

OUR VERDICT

A simple but very elegant and lightweight external drive is perfect if you need to perform the operations with various types of discs quickly.

detailed parameters
Reading Speed
  • DVD - 8x
  • CD - 24x
Writing Speed
  • DVD±R DL - 6x
  • DVD±R - 8x
  • CD - 24x
Buffer Memory

0.75 MB

Design
  • A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded corners
  • Placed horizontally
  • The disc tray is extendable
Size

5.7" x 5.4" x 0.6"

Weight

0.44 pounds 

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The Buffer Under Run Free and Double OPC technologies help avoid writing errors and make the process more stable.

CONS

The provided software is suitable only for Windows.

OUR VERDICT

This is a practicable external drive with a neat design. The Nero Essential software comes in the set. The device is ready for use almost right out of the box.

detailed parameters
Reading Speed
  • DVD - 8x
  • CD - 24x
Writing Speed
  • DVD±R DL - 6x
  • DVD±R - 8x
  • CD - 24x
Buffer Memory

1 MB

Design
  • A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded corners
  • Placed horizontally
  • Extendable disc tray
Size

5.8" x 5.6" x 0.6"

Weight

0. 57 pounds 

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The device supports the M-Disk format, so you can store your data as long as you need.

CONS

Sometimes you may need to press the button more than once to open the tray. 

OUR VERDICT

This ultra-thin and almost noiseless optical drive can be used not only with computers but also playback the data on the wide screen of your TV.

detailed parameters
Reading Speed
  • DVD - 8x
  • CD - 24x
Writing Speed
  • DVD±R DL - 6x
  • DVD±R - 8x
  • CD - 24x
Buffer Memory

0.75 MB

Design
  • A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded edges
  • Placed horizontally
  • Extendable disc tray
Size

5.6" x 5.4" x 0.6"

Weight

0.4 pounds 

Warranty

1 year

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
Reading Speed
  • DVD - 4x to 8x
  • CD - 10x to 24x
Writing Speed
  • DVD - 5x to 8x
  • CD - 16x to 24x
Buffer Memory
1 MB
Design
  • A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with a shimmering finish
  • 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)
Warranty

1 year

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

Probably, it’s the best external DVD drive for Mac gadgets. 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
Reading Speed
  • DVD - 8x
  • CD - 24x
Writing Speed
  • DVD - 6x to 8x
  • CD - 16x to 24x
Buffer Memory
1.5 MB
Design
  • An external DVD drive in a traditional Apple style, square with straight lines and rounded corners
  • The housing is aluminum
  • Placed horizontally
  • No disc tray, it is a slot-loading drive.
Size
5.47" x 5.47" x 0.67"
Weight
0.74 pounds
Warranty

1 year

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 internal optical 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. Well, what is a portable CD/DVD writer? Actually, it’s an external CD/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 its small size and light weight, it can be used anywhere and anytime. The device can serve both as an external DVD/CD player and burner for laptops and PCs. And in this best external optical drive review, we’re going to shed light only on the top rated external CD/DVD drives.

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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Dell DW316 Slim

You Will Be Impressed

Dell really managed to surprise the users with the DW316 slim external DVD R/W drive. First of all, you will notice the simple but at the same time very graceful design of the drive. The upper part has a glossy black coating with a noticeable company logo in the center. You should just press the button and the disc tray pops out. Remember that the drive can only be used horizontally. This model offers both reading and burning for your CDs and DVDs at a fairly high speed. The DSB is 0.75 MB, so you will have quick access to all your information on the medium. To work with disks, you can use the pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suite or install additional software.

This external DVD drive is compact (only 0.6 inches thick) and quite lightweight (0.44 pounds). Thanks to that, you can use it both at home and on the go, especially taking into account the fact that the Dell DW316 is ready to work right out of the box.

Review of Dell DW316 Slim DVD R/W Drive

You Can Forget About All These Wires

The drive is very easy to connect, you just need one cable with a USB 2.0 interface. The cable also acts as a power cable so there is no need for any additional batteries.

Dell DW316 Slim DVD R/W Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Dell DW316 Slim
Dell DW316 Slim
 

Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS

The Most Usable Device

Talking about convenience, the external SE-218CB CD/DVD drive from Samsung is surely the champion. Every detail serves the purpose of your comfort. You will see at the first glance the slightly concaved top over the eject button. Thanks to it, you will easily and quickly find and press the button to remove or insert a disk when needed. The case also has 4 small rubber feet which reduce vibrations and prevent sliding on the smooth surface.

The Speed Adjustment technology provides automatic correction of the read speed depending on the content type. The Buffer Under Run Free and Double OPC technologies ensure stable and proper recording even at high speeds. In addition, the Tilt Actuator Compensation technology allows you to write your data even on a slightly deformed media (the technology adjusts the correct position of the lens to get a stable burning on the entire surface).
Review of Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS External DVD Writer

Helpful Software Comes in the Set

The Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS external DVD writer comes with a boot disk containing the Nero Essentials to install on your Windows system. As a result, you will have all the necessary tools for working with disks from the very beginning.

Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS External DVD Writer in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS
Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS
 

LG GP65NB60

Your Tiny Multimedia Assistant

This external drive from LG will really expand the boundaries of the disk media use. Let`s start with the design. The device has a stylish and elegant case with an ultra-thin profile of 0.6 inches and a matte black finishing. For sure, it will perfectly match other gadgets in your home. 

It should be mentioned that the model works not only with computers or laptops but also with TVs. To enjoy watching videos or photos on a large screen, you just need to connect the drive using the USB cable. As a plus, the drive gets power via USB, so there is no need for other cables or batteries. The model works with CD, DVD+R, DVD-R, and rewritable disks. The maximum data transfer speed is 3.6 MB/s for CDs and 11.08 MB/s for DVDs. Thanks to all these, you are able to play, copy, or write information on the disk effortlessly. 

This drive utilizes the Silent Play technology. Thanks to it, during the playback, the drive automatically determines multimedia type, adjusts the optimal reading speed, and reduces the noise. Don`t you think it is a great offer?

Review of LG GP65NB60 DVD Drive

All Your Data Is Protected

The drive is compatible with the M-Disk technology so that you could save all your important information for a long time. This kind of disks are more durable and even in 10 years, all your data will be stored without distortion.

LG GP65NB60 DVD Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


LG GP65NB60
LG GP65NB60
 

ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U

Drive Type

Asus portable DVD drive for laptops 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.

Review of ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U External Slim DVD+/-RW Drive

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.
ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U External Slim DVD+/-RW Drive in the use

Design

A very stylish design of this Asus PC external DVD 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. At the end of this external DVD writer review, we would like to stress that you will also receive a stand in the package. This stand will allow you to place your external DVD drive upright, thus saving some space on your desk.

Detailed review of ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U External Slim DVD+/-RW Drive

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

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.
Review of Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)

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.
Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A) in the use

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. Summing up Apple external CD/DVD burner review, we would like to point out that this compact USB DVD drive looks sleek and modern, thus it will surely add a stylish touch to your workstation.

Detailed review of Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)

VIDEO
 Apple USB SuperDrive Unboxing and Demo!
Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)
Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)
 

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.

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