Best External Blu-Ray Drives

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 25, 2018
External Blu-ray drives are portable tools for writing and reading data on such modern high-capacity media as Blu-ray discs and DVD/CD discs. With a simple USB connection to your PC/laptop, these compact devices offer great mobility. Be sure to check the best 5 models in our review. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Supported Disc Formats
Reading/ Writing Speed
OS Compatibility
Mounting
Size
Warranty
 
PROS
This external Blu-ray drive is a portable solution that works silently. The slot loading mechanism used is more reliable than the tray; the drive is energized via a USB cable and does not require a power adapter.
CONS
The design of this model is Mac-oriented.
OUR VERDICT
The drive is a stylish and sturdy device, which will be an optimal choice for the users of Apple devices. You can easily put this external Blu-ray burner in your laptop bag or backpack.
detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats
Blu-ray, BDXL, CD, DVD
Reading/ Writing Speed
Blu-ray - 6x / 6x DVD - 8x / 8x CD - 24x / 24x
OS Compatibility
Mac OS
Mounting
Horizontal
Size
5.3 x 0.7 x 5.3 inches
Warranty

1 year

PROS

The device is capable of handling the latest iteration of USB format meaning you will be able to transfer data with the USB 3.0 standard at up to 10 times the speed of USB 2.0. On top of that, this model is compatible with every version of Windows as well as Mac OS.

CONS

The model is somewhat bulky.

OUR VERDICT

The ASUS BW-16D1X-U External Blu-Ray Drive is the kind of model that you absolutely must not miss if you're the type of person that is looking for a fast and powerful drive that will be able to secure the safety and privacy of your information.

detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats

Blu-ray, CD, DVD

Reading/ Writing Speed

Blu-ray - 12x / DVD - 16x / CD - 40x

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS

Mounting

Horizontal, Vertical

Size

9.57 x 6.5 x 2.5 inches

Warranty

1 year

PROS
This Pioneer external Blu-ray burner is one of the thinnest and lightest DVD/Blu-ray external writers. Auto Quiet mode automatically adjusts the speed, balancing between fast loading and noise reducing.
CONS
This Blu-ray drive has a standard 5V input, but comes without an AC adapter.
OUR VERDICT
The external Blu-ray drive features an exclusive technologies for quick detection, fast burning and smooth playback even when disc is a bit damaged. An excellent choice for any purpose.
detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats
Blu-ray, BDXL, CD, DVD
Reading/ Writing Speed
Blu-ray - 6x / 6x DVD - 8x / 8x CD - 24x / 24x
OS Compatibility
Windows, Mac OS
Mounting
Horizontal
Size
5.5 х 5.8 х 0.5 inches
Warranty

1 year

PROS

Jamless Play feature provides you with a possibility to play content from scratched discs without facing any kind of issues. On top of that, this device also supports the BDXL format which is the latest Blu-ray format that allows you to write Blu-ray discs of up to one hundred gigabytes.

CONS

The device does not support the latest USB protocol.

OUR VERDICT

The LG BP50NB40 Slim External Blu-Ray Drive is the type of device that we can easily recommend to all people that appreciate design and mobility above anything else but don't want to compromise when it comes to functionality.

detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats

Blu-ray, CD, DVD

Reading/ Writing Speed

Blu-ray - 6x / DVD - 8x / CD - 24x

OS Compatibility

Windows

Mounting

Horizontal

Size

5.7 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches

Warranty

1 year

PROS
The device is able to record dual-layer DVDs at high speed. Works stably with Windows 10.
CONS
The drive needs to be connected via 2 USB ports for proper operation.
OUR VERDICT
It's an elegantly-looking and small-size Blu-Ray player that provides a stable data transfer to your PC or laptop, having self-sufficient power.
detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats
Blu-Ray, DVD, CD
Reading/ Writing Speed
Blu-ray - 6x / DVD - 8x
OS Compatibility
USB 3.0 Windows, Mac OS
Mounting
Horizontal
Size
5.9 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
Warranty

1 year

Pioneer BDR-XS06 Super Slim Slot

Supported Formats and Speeds

For burning discs, the Pioneer BDR-XS06 drive uses an increased power laser, which is capable of burning and reading BDXL-format discs and working with M-Disc media. Using this external Blu-ray disc drive with BDXL discs allows achieving really impressive disc capacities of 128 GB (write-once discs) and 100 GB (rewritable discs). Thus, if you need to manipulate the data at such scale, this external Blu-ray burner is an excellent option. Needless to say that portable Blu-ray burner will easily handle writing and reading data from the older DVD and CD formats. For example, burning an entire Blu-ray disc at 6x speed will take 12-15 minutes. This model utilizes the PureRead technology for re-reading the disc surface area with scratches, fingerprints or other damages in an attempt to retrieve the audio data with maximum precision. The PowerRead is another implemented proprietary technology that allows this external Blu-ray drive not to try re-reading the damaged area but to proceed to the next segment so the video sequence read from the disc does not stutter.
Review of Pioneer BDR-XS06 Super Slim Slot External Blu-Ray Writer

Connection Interface and Power Supply

This external Blu-ray burner is compatible with Mac system only. The drive supply package includes two USB cables: one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 cable. This external Blu-ray drive uses the USB 3.0 cable for both data exchange and power supply while the USB 2.0 cable is used as an additional power cable in case your PC or notebook cannot provide enough via a USB 3.0 slot. This option can also come in handy when you have several devices with USB slots so you can connect a separate device to this external Blu-ray writer via the USB 2.0 cable and use it solely for a power supply.
Pioneer BDR-XS06 Super Slim Slot External Blu-Ray Writer in the use

Ergonomics

The dimensions of this Pioneer external Blu-Ray drive are 5.3 x 0.7 x 5.3 inches. That is why it is easy to carry about and it fits perfectly for taking on a trip, as the drive does not occupy much space inside your notebook bag. The metal casing of this external Blu-ray drive USB 3.0 model in combination with a slot loading mechanism provides an improved anti-shock protection during the transportation of the drive. The silver finish goes well with Apple desktop PCs and MacBooks, for use with which this Pioneer external Blu-ray drive was designed.
Detailed review of Pioneer BDR-XS06 Super Slim Slot External Blu-Ray Writer

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Key Specs

Overall, I'm very happy I bought the BDR-XU03 for my blu-ray movies.

Features

Though I really didn't consider it at the time of purchase, the vertical mount really is a helpful space saver, which you cannot do with the base BR drive as it top-loads.

Reading/writing

For playback I've managed to at least play back DVDs without any additional software.
 

ASUS BW-16D1X-U

In Search of Incredible

There are different items and products out there that we as a society tend to collectively treat a certain way and determine the type of value we assign to them. And the fact that there are products that the majority of people believe to be of great importance and the quality of what the said product to be utmost imperative essentially means that there have to be items and devices that we have decided to be of lesser value and the quality of which isn't exactly necessary in order to successfully utilize them.

When it comes to external Blu-ray drives, most people would probably wholeheartedly put them under the latter category. And that would be a mistake since a quality Blu-ray drive is capable of providing the kind of comfort and performance that will greatly improve your everyday routine and make your life noticeably easier and more convenient in terms of entertainment. Of course, very few will be able to find an excellent external Blu-ray drive on their own but there's no need to worry about that. When it comes to anything even remotely related to information technology in general and computers in particular, you know you can always rely on Asus. Following their motto "In Search of Incredible", people behind Asus products always make sure to provide a quality product at an affordable price. So if you're interested in an external Blu-ray drive, look no further than the ASUS BW-16D1X-U.

Review of ASUS BW-16D1X-U Powerful Blu-ray Drive

The Fastest Gun Around

One of the biggest philosophies of Asus lies upon the foundation of holding the performance aspect of their products to the highest standard. And the model at hand does not intend to be an exception to that rule. The ASUS BW-16D1X-U is a powerful Blu-ray disc drive that stands out from the proverbial crowd as one of the fastest options on the market featuring an incredible 16X Blu-ray writing speed with BDXL support that provides a data storage up to 128 GB. With this kind of speed, you will be able to write down your favorite Blu-ray movie in no time, leaving all of those precious hours free to enjoy some of the more interesting moments in life. On top of that, the device is capable of handling the latest iteration of USB format meaning you will be able to transfer data with the USB 3.0 standard at up to 10 times the speed of USB 2.0. And with the aforementioned 16X accelerated writing speed performance, it will take no more than 10 minutes to backup 25 gigabytes of data. Not to mention the fact that this model is compatible with every version of Windows as well as Mac OS making it a great choice for a variety of different customers.

ASUS BW-16D1X-U Powerful Blu-ray Drive in the use

Protect Your Information

The exterior of the ASUS BW-16D1X-U is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it features an absolutely stunning diamond-shaped design that provides an outstanding luxurious look with some of the cleanest aesthetics. On the other hand, the device could definitely be described as rather bulky. With 9.5 x 2.5 x 6.5 inches in overall dimensions and the weight of more than 2.5 pounds, transporting this model could certainly prove to be somewhat of a challenge. Of course, if you simply intend to use this external drive as a substitution for a regular one, then this somewhat bulky structure won't present any issues and an incredibly stylish design will blend in and improve any room regardless of the interior.

And if you're the kind of person that deeply cares about the safety of your information, you're absolutely in luck since this piece of equipment provides one of the most complete and easy-to-use backup solutions out there. Equipped with user-friendly and powerful software called CyberLink Power2Go 8, the model simplifies the disc-burning process and provides optional encryption functionality to protect the privacy of your information. On top of that, the drive also comes with an online backup solution for Android smartphones and tablets. All in all, the ASUS BW-16D1X-U External Blu-Ray Drive is the kind of model that you absolutely must not miss if you're the type of person that is looking for a fast and powerful drive that will be able to secure the safety and privacy of your information.

Detailed review of ASUS BW-16D1X-U Powerful Blu-ray Drive

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Reading/writing

Great for ripping DVDs and CDs to your personal server.

Key Specs

The speed of this is incredible. Ripped a music CD in <1 minute, a full blue ray in 20 minutes. Very impressed.

Features

I was surprised at how well this worked with both Windows and Mac.
 

Pioneer BDR-XD05B

Supported Formats and Speeds

The Pioneer external Blu-ray burner was designed with noiseless operation in mind thanks to Auto Quiet Mode. This drive is capable of playing back 3D Blu-Ray discs without additional software and writing any DVD and CD discs. Speaking about the writing speeds, we are offered the 6x for burning BD-R discs, 8x - for DVD and 24x – for CD discs. With that, you can burn for example a Full HD movie (it is approximately 4 GB of data) to a DVD disc using the Pioneer portable Blu-ray burner in about 15 minutes while burning an entire 25 GB BD-R takes about 20-25 minutes at the maximum speed.

Review of Pioneer BDR-XD05B External Blu Ray Writer

Connection Interface and Power Supply

This Pioneer external Blu-ray drive has a simple connection and is compatible with the devices based on a vast majority of modern operating systems. Standard operation of the drive requires only one USB 3.0 connection for both data and power transfer. As an option, the Pioneer drive can use a USB 2.0 cable for an auxiliary power supply. To start using this Plug-And-Play external Blu-ray drive you do not need to do any additional settings – just plug the drive data cable into your computer and the drive will be detected automatically. The microcontroller solution implemented in this USB Blu-ray reader allows watching a Full HD content from a Blu-ray disc at the push of a button.

Pioneer BDR-XD05B External Blu Ray Writer in the use

Ergonomics

This external Blu-ray drive model can be called most compact in this review as it has 5.2 х 5.2 х 0.55-inch dimensions. The case with clam-shell opening is match any PC or a laptop. Nevertheless connecting this drive to Apple devices makes it look like it is in its proper place. The Pioneer external Blu-ray drive for Mac and PC has a horizontal mounting.

Detailed review of Pioneer BDR-XD05B External Blu Ray Writer

VIDEO
Pioneer BDR XD05B USB 3.0 Blu-ray Burner

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

Great drive, fast read and write speeds. No problems with several weeks of use.

Reading/writing

This product allows me to read and write DVD discs with my HP Laptop.

Features

Plugs and works - portable - easy to use and compatible with both my PC and Max.
 

LG BP50NB40

Enjoy Your Favorite Movies

It wouldn't be that much of an exaggeration to say that almost everybody enjoys movies. Obviously, people tend to prefer different genres and very few could honestly describe themselves as cinema aficionados, but it would be ludicrous to deny the fact that watching movies is one of the most popular pastime activities around the world.

The only problem with all of this is that even though specialists kept on improving the format of the video every few years with the most recent one being Blu-ray, the world of personal computers and laptops have undergone a completely opposite trend with the majority of them no longer featuring even a CD/DVD drive, let along a Blu-ray one. Of course, you can always download a movie on your USB drive, but with the majority of movies nowadays coming out in a Blu-ray format, that could easily prove to be quite a challenge given that the average USB drive is incapable of containing a full-length movie in a Blu-ray format.

This is where external Blu-ray drives come in. If you're a part of the majority of people that own a personal computer which didn't come equipped with a DVD or a Blu-ray drive, this type of device would allow you to enjoy your favorite movies without any kind of inconveniences. And if you're currently in the market for one, we can wholeheartedly recommend the LG BP50NB40.

Review of LG BP50NB40 Blu-ray Rewriter Slim External Drive

Thin as a Stick

When it comes to any type of portable device, one of the first things that people tend to pay attention to is the size and the design of this product. And rightfully so, since a portable device is meant to be carried around and if the item at hand is too bulky or inconvenient, taking it with you can prove to be quite a challenge. Luckily for the potential customers, people behind this device at LG are aware of this phenomenon, which is exactly why this model features an incredibly sleek and stylish design black design and can be honestly labeled as one of the most mobile portable options on the external Blu-ray drive's market. With less than six inches in length, slightly above 6" in width and an incredible number of 0.6 inches in height, this device is almost paper thin and takes up virtually no space while the weight of 9.6 ounces on top of the overall dimensions will make carrying this Blu-ray drive around one of the easiest possible tasks out there. With the size of a pencil and the weight of an average apple, this device will make a great companion to bulky personal computers just as well as to some of the thinnest ultrabooks available.

LG BP50NB40 Blu-ray Rewriter Slim External Drive in the use

Jamless Play

When it comes to the performance aspect, the LG BP50NB40 Slim External Blu-Ray Drive is no slouch either. The device is an excellent tool if you wish to watch Blu-ray movies or write Blu-ray discs. One of the things you will absolutely enjoy about this model is that it comes with a feature called Jamless Play. With a catchy name like that, what the feature essentially does is that it provides you with a possibility to play content from scratched discs without facing any kind of issues. On top of that, this device also supports the BDXL format which is the latest Blu-ray format that allows you to write Blu-ray discs of up to one hundred gigabytes. When it comes to actually working with the discs, the model is capable of handling triple-layer ones on a speed up to 2x and features a reading and writing speed of up to 6x with the regular Blu-ray discs. In terms of compatibility, the drive supports all of the recent and most popular operating systems and it works with just about any computer or laptop. The last but not the least, the device also comes featuring a support for 3D Blu-ray disc playback meaning you can now enjoy your favorite Blu-ray titles on your PC in a new dimension by utilizing the 2D to 3D converting option. To sum it up, the LG BP50NB40 Slim External Blu-Ray Drive is the type of device that we can easily recommend to the kinds of people that appreciate design and mobility above anything else but don't want to compromise when it comes to functionality.

Detailed review of LG BP50NB40 Blu-ray Rewriter Slim External Drive

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Key Specs

Very happy with this blu-ray disc drive! Reads and writes discs with great speed! Well recommended!

Reading/writing

This disc reader/writer is fast and accurate. Easy setup.

Features

So far so good. Hard time finding an external player compatible with Windows 10 but this one seems to work ok.
 

MthsTec FBA BR01

Simplicity and Handiness

A high-res video content is not a problem today as and new formats allow watching movies on widescreen TVs and home projectors. Yet, a laptop or a PC may be unable to play a disc owing to the drive incompatibility. What to do? The answer is simple - to buy a portable Blu-ray drive. So, watching ultra-HD movies became much more affordable now. This MthsTec Blu-ray player will handle any disc thanks to the built-in laser. This device will let you save up on buying a laptop with a Blu-ray drive, as it's able to reproduce Blu-ray discs, CD and DVD carriers as well as record any info on them. Buying such a device, you'll be able to use any gadget that features no optical drive. By the way, laptops without drives are much smaller than those having them. Ultrabooks are bright examples that come in handy in trips thanks to their compactness. Any compact disc should be burned at a specific speed to provide a smooth and delay-free playback by a drive. The optimum speed for burning Blu-ray discs is 6х and 8x for DVDs. A properly recorded disc will deliver enjoyable watching and smooth reproduction of video and sound content without distortions and breaks.

Review of MthsTec FBA BR01 External Blu-Ray Player and DVD Burner Combo Drive

Enough Power

In general, any portable device connectable to a PC or a laptop needs a separate power source. The MthsTec Blu-ray drive is not an exception and it needs a free USB port to get sufficient power. So, one drive's USB cable serves for transferring data, while another one is dedicated to a power supply. It's recommended to use a USB 3.0 interface for a high-speed transfer capability which makes 5 Gbit per second. Comparing to USB 2.0, the difference in speed is huge, since it's able to deliver only 480 Mbit. Unfortunately, you may find the MthsTec useless if your laptop features only one USB port. The drive doesn't work with laptops having a single USB port, and a USB Hub may not be helpful as the drive may be incompatible with it too.

MthsTec FBA BR01 External Blu-Ray Player and DVD Burner Combo Drive in the use

Useful Tip

We recommend buying an HDMI cable to transfer the media content in a high resolution from your laptop or PC to a TV set. This cable will deliver videos and images in the resolution of up to 4K which is currently one of the most advanced digital standards.

Detailed review of MthsTec FBA BR01 External Blu-Ray Player and DVD Burner Combo Drive

What customers say about this product

Reading/writing

This USB DVD/Blu-ray drive works great. For DVDs it works right out of the box.

Features

As for performance, it's as described. I expected more vibration and noice but it's quieter than an old PS2!!!
 

What Is a Blu Ray Disc Drive?

One of the main tendencies of computer equipment development is the miniaturization of the elements and units as a whole: desktop PCs are extensively substituted by nettops, and notebooks are making room for ultrabooks. With that, the PC internals either get smaller or get transformed into the new format or get discarded. The same holds for the optical drives. Blu-ray technology being the latest widely adopted implementation of optical disc recording offers higher capacities (from 25 GB to 128 GB) compared to the CD and DVD iterations. The higher capacities are achieved due to higher data recording density, thus the discs and the drives themselves retain the same size. In terms of mounting, the Blu-ray drives, in general, are divided into internal and external drives just like CD and DVD drives.

Nevertheless, it is too early to scrap the optical drives including the external Blu-ray drives as a class. The Blu-ray drives, in particular, owe this vitality to a widespread usage of Blu-ray discs for commercial purposes. Movies, music, software and video games are released frequently on physical media along with their digital copies. On the other hand, the adoption of high-definition media formats such as 4K drives the media capacity increase as conventional DVD discs do not have enough capacity for accommodating a full-length movie in this format.

If you have a big collection of movies or music, which you’d like to share with your friends or take with you on a trip, we suggest you checking the external hard drives and solid state drives which can accommodate plenty of multimedia data and offer great portability.

What Features to Compare

The first factor we should consider is Performance. The Performance of an external Blu-ray drive is determined preeminently by disc reading and writing speeds, which differ from one disc format to another. Talking about disc writing and reading speeds we should focus on Blu-ray disc writing/reading speeds in the first place. A writing speed determines, for example, the period of time required for an external Blu-ray drive for laptop or desktop PCs to burn an HD movie to a disc (this opportunity is one of the main driving factors of buying a Blu-ray drive). The same applies to Blu-ray disc reading, but you should keep in mind that playing a movie released on a Blu-ray disc can be done on any external Blu-ray drive. Higher Blu-ray disc reading speeds are needed mostly to process non-multimedia data on Blu-ray discs such as games, software, etc. Please note that the Blu-ray optical disc data storage technology as the latest widely adopted optical disc technology provides a backward compatibility with the previous optical disc technology iterations, such as CD and DVD. This backward compatibility means that external Blu-ray drives can both read and write CD and DVD discs, though the speeds depend on a Blu-ray drive model.

The maximum Blu-ray disc reading speed offered by external Blu-ray drives lies in the range between 2х and 12х, maximum writing (burning) speed for BD-R often called write-once discs or non-erasable discs (single-layer) and BD-R DL (double-layer format that contains almost twice as much data as a single-layer disc) discs – up to 12х. As for the BD-RE (single-layer rewritable discs), the maximum supported writing speed is 3x for the most devices and 2x for burning the BD-RE DL (double-layer rewritable discs) format. The important thing is, despite all the inherent Blu-ray disc data integrity protection and error correction technologies, the higher the burning speed is, the higher the probability of data loss or incorrect burning is. Thus, if you have an opportunity and enough time, we recommend not to burn your discs at the maximum speed supported by your external Blu-ray drive for Mac-based or Windows-based devices. In this case, the writing of a disc will take more time but you are less likely to have data integrity issues; while the shorter writing time provided by the maximum supported writing speed may be a critical factor for those users who burn several discs a day. From this point of view, an external Blu-ray drive model that provides high burning speeds is excessive for non-commercial home or portable use. Indeed, with the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray disc of 25 GB and 50 GB for double-layer discs (we mean single-sided discs, you need to double the mentioned figures for double-sided discs) you manipulate a storage media capacity 5 times as large as one of DVD and 70 times as large as one of CD discs. That means that a single-sided Blu-ray disc can carry up to 135 minutes of HD video or up to 9 hours of SD video.

The Connection Interface and Power Supply are also important for an external Blu-ray drive as a portable device. This portability comes at a price of additional requirements, such as external power supply. Some external Blu-гау drive models require an external power adapter as the power supplied via a USB port used for a data exchange with a master device is not enough for the drive operation. Though some models can be easily connected to any PC, laptop or a netbook via a USB 2.0 or 3.0 slot and operated without additional power supply. The use of USB as both data exchange interface and a power supply is a big plus for an external Blu-ray burner because you can use the drive for reading or writing discs even if there is no power socket available and the laptop used operates on its battery.

Regarding the data exchange speed, the USB 3.0 is preferable to USB 2.0 as a connection interface of an external Blu-ray drive. The theoretical or peak data transfer speed supported by USB 3.0 interface is up to 5 Gbps, which is much bigger than the 480 Mbps, at which the USB 2.0 is capped. Bear in mind though that these theoretical data transfer maximum values greatly exceed the actual data rates, which are determined by an external Blu-ray drive itself.

The third important point, which needs to be clarified when choosing a portable Blu-ray burner is its Ergonomics. The ergonomics is important as it greatly affects the convenience of use and portability of a drive. Considering the fact that you may want to opt for a stationary use of an external Blu-ray drive (as an external device installed, for instance, near a laptop) you should pay attention to the drive’s mounting type – vertical or horizontal. The mounting type may be critical for an extended stationary drive usage that implies, for example, connecting multiple PCs or laptops to the drive or moving it around an office. As cloud data storage is not available without an Internet connection and is not supported by some equipment for presentations, external Blu-ray drives are still relevant, providing mobility, wide compatibility, and large capacities.

Sources:

1. Optical disc drive,  Wikipedia. January 4, 2017

2. Blu-ray Disc recordable, Wikipedia. February 6, 2017

3. Optical disc drive, archlinux.

4. Dennis Hartman What Is a Blu-Ray DVD Writer? Techwalla.com. March 31, 2015.

5. Blu-ray Drive buying Guide, eBay. March 10, 2016.

6. What is BD-R, BD-RE, BD-XL and Ultra HD Blu-ray? Online Tech Tips.

7. Robert Silva Blu-ray and HD-DVD Basics, Livewire. October 19, 2016.

8. Blu-ray, Wikipedia. February 11, 2017.

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