Best External Blu-Ray Drives

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 19, 2017
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 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Supported Disc Formats
Reading/ Writing Speed
OS Compatibility
Mounting
Size
 
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
PROS
This Asus portable Blu-ray burner uses the OTS technology that ensures high-quality disc burning. For an easy playback of Blu-ray 3D content on the drive, the Magic Cinema technology is used.
CONS
This multi-function Blu-ray drive is very bulky comparing to its peers.
OUR VERDICT
Numerous features that allow high-quality audio data output, enhanced video output, online video editing make this model a no-brainer for the lovers of movies and videos.
detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats
Blu-ray, CD, DVD
Reading/ Writing Speed
Blu-ray - 8x / 12x DVD - 16x / 16x CD - 40x / 40x
OS Compatibility
Windows OS
Mounting
Vertical, Horizontal
Size
9.5 x 2.5 x 6.4 inches
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
PROS
The AV connectivity mode provides a direct connection of the drive to any compatible display. This external Blu-ray drive uses one USB cable both for data exchange and power supply, thus permitting the drive to operate when connected to a portable device (ultrabook, tablet PC, etc.) via a USB port.
CONS
Despite the USB 3.0 compatibility, the native connection interface of the drive is USB 2.0.
OUR VERDICT
The bundled PowerDVD software that has a Blu-ray 3D playback support will bring you the most exciting and immersive video experience ever allowing direct connection to compatible 3D displays. A single-cord operation adds to the versatility of this portable drive.
detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats
Blu-ray, CD, DVD
Reading/ Writing Speed
Blu-ray - 6x / 6x DVD - 8x / 8x CD - 24x / 24x
OS Compatibility
Windows, Mac OS
Mounting
Vertical, Horizontal
Size
5.7 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
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

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.

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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.

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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


Pioneer BDR-XS06 Super Slim Slot
Pioneer BDR-XS06 Super Slim Slot
 

ASUS BW-12D1S-U LITE

Supported Formats and Speeds

This external Blu-ray burner by Asus supports Blu-ray disc burning at the maximum speed of 12x (burning a BD-R SL takes about 11 minutes) while maintaining a high-quality writing of discs with the OTS technology. This proprietary technology enables the BW-12D1S-U external Blu-ray burner to perform a test burn run before burning a disc; at that, the drive detects the type of a disc being burnt and estimates the relevant burning parameters and a temperature range. When a disc burning is complete the OTS saves the data about the written disc to apply the saved burning parameters to similar discs in the future. The drive has the Magic Cinema technology implemented, which makes it possible to play Blu-ray 3D content. The Asus BW-12D1S-U external Blu-ray writer is capable of converting standard 2D videos into 3D videos, performing data backup and encryption. In addition to that, this external Blu-ray drive for laptops and PCs is equipped with 4 MB buffer memory.
Review of ASUS BW-12D1S-U LITE Blu-ray External Burner Drive

Connection Interface and Power Supply

The modern USB 3.0 interface is used for connecting this external Blu-ray drive by Asus. The Asus BW-12D1S-U external Blu-ray burner uses a separate (included) power adapter for its operation, thus providing a reliable writing performance regardless of USB power fluctuations on a connected device. The data rate provided by the USB 3.0 is required to implement features the vendor has equipped this drive with. These convenience features are implemented using the bundled CyberLink software. The Cyberlink PowerDVD 10 application can convert 2D video into 3D on the fly and output the video stream via a USB 3.0 connection to a compatible video device.
ASUS BW-12D1S-U LITE Blu-ray External Burner Drive in the use

Ergonomics

Asus BW-12D1S-U portable Blu-ray burner allows for vertical and horizontal mounting. The availability of two mounting options is perfect for using the drive both with your laptop on the road or a desktop PC at home. The stylish black plastic case of this external Blu-ray burner has a diamond-shaped design. One of the case surfaces accommodates a stylish blue light indicator. This drive model is equipped with a tray load and comes with an additional stand. The overall dimensions of BW-12D1S-U external Blu-ray writer are 9.5 x 2.5 x 6.4 inches, which still keep it on a portable side.
Detailed review of ASUS BW-12D1S-U LITE Blu-ray External Burner Drive

VIDEO
Unboxing and Showing the ASUS External USB 3.0 12x Blu-ray writer. Features.
ASUS BW-12D1S-U LITE
ASUS BW-12D1S-U LITE
 

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
Pioneer BDR-XD05B
Pioneer BDR-XD05B
 

Samsung TSST SE-506CB/RSBD

Supported Formats and Speeds

The proprietary TrueTheater™ 3D technology supported by this Samsung portable Blu-ray burner enables you to convert regular DVD and 2D Blu-Ray movies into a 3D experience. At the 6x speed you can burn up to 25 GB (full BD-R SL disc) to a disc in 15-30 minutes. With that, you can burn an entire DVD disc at the maximum supported speed of 8x in less than 10 minutes. This Samsung external Blu-ray drive has a 4 MB buffer and is capable of transferring a decoded Blu-ray video stream via its USB 2.0 connection.
Review of Samsung TSST SE-506CB/RSBD External Blu-Ray Writer

Connection Interface and Power Supply

With this external Blu-ray burner, you do not need a dedicated power USB connection as the single USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 compatible) cable of the drive supplies it with power and provides a data transfer. The Samsung SE-506CB/RSBD supports the Smart Power technology. This in-house Samsung solution allows controlling the power supply of the external Blu-ray burner via a USB connection to your laptop. Which is very convenient if you encounter the lack of free USB ports in a connected device (for example, ultrabooks). The PowerDVD technology together with AV connectivity mode makes it possible for this USB Blu-ray reader to play regular Blu-Ray video or Blu-Ray 3D content on any compatible Samsung 3D display after connecting the drive directly to the display via a USB cable.
Samsung TSST SE-506CB/RSBD External Blu-Ray Writer in the use

Ergonomics

This drive has a soft case surface with black anti-scratch and fingerprint-resistant finish, which is very convenient for the use in an office by many employees at a time. This SE-506CB/RSBD external Blu-ray writer is equipped with semi-automatic tray load mechanism and has been designed for pairing primarily with notebooks. Due to its 5.7 x 5.7 x 0.7-inch dimensions, this Samsung external drive is easily transportable in a bag or a backpack. The SE-506CB External Blu-ray burner allows both horizontal and vertical mounting.
Detailed review of Samsung TSST SE-506CB/RSBD External Blu-Ray Writer

VIDEO
Unboxing Samsung SE-506 Slim Portable Blu-ray Writer + AV Connectivity note
Samsung TSST SE-506CB/RSBD
Samsung TSST SE-506CB/RSBD
 

MthsTec External

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 External Blu-Ray Player

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 External Blu-Ray Player 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.


MthsTec External
MthsTec External
 

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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