USB Optical Drives: Storage Options 6X BD-R External Slimline Blu-ray Writer

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storage_options_6x_bd-r_external_slimline_blu-ray_writerBlu-ray technology is well established now, yet few people harness the power of this powerful technology beyond it's use for video playback. Most mid to high-end laptops come with at least Blu-Ray playback facilities through a combi BD player, however the ability to backup up to 25GB at a time to a semi-permanent hard copy in the form of a Blu-ray disc (especially for the price of £1.20 from some sources) should make them a much more attractive form of backup for average home users. If you don't havea desktop however, and rely solely on a laptop, the chances are if you want to install a drive it may be a case of an expensive upgrade (if available) or alternatively the purchase of an external BD-R drive. There are benefits to either: with an upgrade you don't need to carry anything extra with you, whereas with an external drive you can use it between a number of PCs or Apple Macs maximising the use of the device.

One such external Blu-ray optical drive is the Storage Options 6X BD-R External Slimline Blu-ray Writer (see the specifications below):

General Details

  • Enclosure: External
  • Bezel Colour: Silver / Black
  • Speed: 6x BD-R
  • Buffer: 2MB
  • Package: Retail

    Write Speeds
  • BD-R: 6x
  • BD-RE: 2x
  • DVD-/+R: 8x
  • DVD-/+R DL: 4x
  • DVD-RW: 6x
  • DVD+RW: 8x
  • DVD-RAM: 5x
  • CD-R: 24x
  • CD-RW: 4x
  • As can be seen from the specifications, it isn't the fastest Blu-ray writer available on the market, however when you consider this is a slimline Blu-ray writer without the need for an external power supply (it runs directly from two USB2.0 ports) it makes it a far more promising proposal, especially when you consider that the average BD-R disc available for a reasonable cost is a 4X writable disc.

    The slimline external slimline Blu-ray writer is enclosed in a metal casing (far more robust than the average plastic casing used in the majority of external drive enclosures) and has two USB cables for connection to your chosen PC.  Bundled alongside the drive is a copy of CDBurnerXP, a very simple to use CD, DVD and Blu-ray authoring software which makes burning optical media a doddle.  Alternatively the drive is instantly recognised in Windows and the built-in Windows authoring software can be used.  Burn speeds with an average 4x BD-R were as expected (~25 minutes) and we had no coasters when we were testing the drive.

    The one downside of the package is the lack of any Blu-ray playback software, something that isn't supported natively in any version of Windows.  This means that if you want to watch movies using the Storage Options Blu-ray drive you will need to purchase a copy of PowerDVD or similar in order to get the required codecs for playback (put aside ~£40 for this).  However, despite this shortcoming the drive is one of the most reasonably priced slimline external Blu-ray writers available on the market (~£145 at the time of writing), is solidly built and functions flawlessly.  Since you don't need an external power supply the drive is truly portable and can be used on any laptop or PC virtually anywhere without the need for a wall socket whihc is great if you travel a great deal.