August 19th, 2010 by Brian Beeler
Samsung SE-S084D External DVD Drive Review
In mid-June Samsung released a rainbow array of ultra-thin external DVD drives. The drives come in seven colors and due to their minimalist take and sleek lines, the family picked up an iF Product Design Award. Designed for notebook and netbook users without an embedded optical drive, the Samsung SE-S084D promises to solve a lot of problems by being portable and able to handle most and DVD/CD reading or burning needs.
In terms of compatibility, the SE-S084D DVD writer works well with Windows and Mac systems. We tested the drive with a variety of notebooks and desktops and never had any issues with drive detection. The drive comes with an included two-prong USB cord for connecting to the computer, no external power supply is needed. The only problem is if you need two USB ports (USB 2.0) that are close together or the cord won't reach. This is likely not a problem in most cases, but worth pointing out.
The drive uses a tray to load media. I was initially concerned about the durability of the tray, but after using it repeatedly and trying to flex it out of place, the tray held and my concerns went away. This is certainly important considering travelling gear is often jostled and abused much more often than their desk-bound cousins.
When it comes to reading and writing disks, the drive offers the following speeds by media type: 24X CD-ROM, 24X CD-RW, 8X DVD±R recording, 5X DVD-RAM recording, 6X DVD+R Dual Layer recording, 6X DVD-R Dual Layer recording, 8X DVD+RW recording and 6X DVD-RW recording.
To assist with burning disks, the drive comes with Nero 9 Essentials. The software is easy enough to use and a pretty standard, but appreciated inclusion - the software runs roughly $25 on its own. What users end up with is a totally inclusive system for reading and burning disks, the only thing that's not in the box is the media itself.
Lastly it's worth noting that the Samsung SE-S084D works well as a bootable optical drive. We tested with the Acronis disk imaging software and it handled the duty well and each computer we tried it on booted without any problems, recognizing the USB optical device.
At the end of the day, the drive does what it says it's going to do, and does it with a little design pizazz that's rarely seen with pedestrian devices like portable optical drives. We find the Samsung SE-S084D to be a reliable performer and capable of being your go-to optical drive for computers that don't have one internally.
The only knock we have is that at $70 MSRP (due in September), the drive is a little expensive in a market where the average external drive, including Samsung's current generation product, runs about $50, but it will surely fall once it hits retail. Besides how many drives can you buy that come in blue, yellow, black, silver or pink?