You’re looking for an external Blu Ray drive, but you’re not sure what features you need and how much to spend. If you just want to play Blu Ray movies from your PC or Mac then you just need a Blu Ray player, but with prices coming down, you should really consider an external Blu Ray drive that you can also write to. They’re great for a lot of purposes including storing large amounts of data reliably and recording your favorite blu ray movies, videos, and music.
This article is about external Blu Ray drive writers which can not only play movies, but can also store data and allow you to “burn” your own Blu Ray movies. Their prices have come down to the point that even if you’re considering blu ray players and don’t think you will need the capability, Blu Ray writers give you the flexibility to burn your own HD-quality movies and videos and store huge amounts of data on a fairly non-volatile medium.
So what should you look for in an external BluRay drive writer? With Blu Ray writing, it’s all about speed and storage capacity. For speed you should consider a drive’s recording speed, data transfer speed, and buffer memory. For storage, look for BDXL support which allows you write to new large-capacity discs.
If you will often record more than one Blu Ray movie in a session, you’re going to want to spend the extra money to get the fastest writer you can afford. As with all technology, the landscape changes rapidly, but as of this writing 16X writers are readily available. The prices on these are still over the top, so look for a drive 6X or faster to keep the price in line.
Data Transfer Speed
Data Transfer Speed is very important for an external Blu Ray drive. When recording an HD movie or storing data, the data must transfer from your PC or Mac to the Blu Ray writer by way of USB. The newest and fastest iteration of USB is USB 3.0. It transfers data at up to 10X USB 2.0 and can therefore make a significant difference in recording speeds.
Buffer memory assists with the transfer of data by providing data to the read and write process in an even, consistent, and protected wa
BDXL format discs support 100GB and 128GB write-once discs and 100GB rewritable discs. A drive that supports this format will give you the most data storage equivalent to 27 DVDs and 5 single-layer Blu Ray discs.
It may not be a big consideration for you, but external drives have gotten smaller, thinner, and lighter making them more portable and easier to work with than ever before. It can be difficult to add one more external device to your already overtaxed workspace and you don’t want to have to carry a brick when you’re traveling, so we think the smaller and thinner, the better.
We took a look at online shopping reviews, manufacturers’ website reviews, and electronics forums to narrow our list to seven of the top rated, most popular Blu Ray writers available.
See if one of these great performers is the perfect one for your needs!
External Blu Ray Drive: 6 Top Rated Single Disc Blu Ray Writers
The LG Electronics BE14NU40 14X USB 3.0 Super-Multi Blu-ray External Rewriter is a fast, very popular external Blu ray drive that supports writing to BDXL discs, sports up to 14X write speeds, has a large 4GB buffer, and uses speedy USB 3.0 data transfer rates. In other words, this external Blu ray drive was built from the ground up for speed. Here are its main features.
- Ultra-fast BD writing speed at 14X saves time and maintains quality
- Large 4 MB buffer
- BDXL support writes up to 128GB of data on single quad-layer BDXL disc
- SUPERSPEED USB 3.0 produces 5 Gbps data transfer rates and supports simultaneous data send and receive
- Superior data protection using M-DISC technology which outlasts DVDs currently available
- Silent Play technology optimizes noise reduction by automatically controlling disc read speed
- Jamless Play technology avoids damaged or bad data sections of discs to automatically prevent stop video playback
- Embedded under-run prevention function
- Included Power BD-DVD 3D Software Bundle brings 3D life to all your 3D Blu ray movies using realtime 2D to 3D conversion
- Multi Blue Compatibility LG Super Multi Blue optical drives have Multi Blue compatibility and can read and write four types of disc formats including 16X DVD+R and DVD-R, RW DVD+R, RW DVD-RAM, and Blu-ray in one convenient package
Dimensions of this Blu ray disc player and writer are 6.42W x 1.97H x 10.24D inches (163W x 50H x 260D mm) and it weighs 3.3 lbs
- CyberLink Power2Go
- CyberLink PowerDVD
- CyberLink PowerBackup
- CyberLink PowerProducer
- Easy plug-n-play install and operation
- Very fast and reliable
- Quiet operation
- Power switch
- Open/Close button under the tray
- Some complaints on Windows 8.1 systems
With an ultra fast 12X Blu-ray writing speed, a beautiful diamond-shaped design, USB 3.0 data transfer performance, and ASUS’ exclusive Magic Cinema technology, the ASUS External 12X Blu-ray Burner has all the bells and whistles. Here are its primary features.
- 12X Blu-ray writing speed and high-quality burning from OTS technology
- Flexible and beautiful diamond-shaped, space-saving design provides for either horizontal or vertical placement on a detachable stand
- USB 3.0 data transfer speeds
- 4 MB buffer provides smooth playback and glitch-free recording
- Magic Cinema technology provides 3D Blu-ray entertainment, 2D to 3D conversion and DVD upscaling
- Built-in Dolby Digital EX and DTH-HD (5.1 channels) provides crystal clear blu ray audio with lossless pass-through
- Cyberlink Power2Go 7
- Cyberlink PowerDVD 10 with Magic Cinema
- Cyberlink PowerBackup 2.5
- Cyberlink InstantBurn 5
- Very fast
- Very well constructed and reliable
- Great compatibility with disc brands and formats
- Elegant good looks
- Noisy at high speeds
- Large size
- Power switch poorly located
- Short USB cable
Pawtec claims that their Pawtec Slim External Aluminum Slot-Loading BDXL Blu-ray Writer is the thinnest and lightest external optical drive of all bluray burners. This bluray player and burner features a sleek and modern thin design that looks great in its unique black finish. It also has USB 3.0 data transfer speeds and it’s not just aluminum colored; it is actually constructed from aluminum. It not only burns Blu-rays, it also is a DVD burner and a CD burner. Here’s what you need to know.
- 6X Blu-ray slot-loading Blu-ray drive and burner is one of the slimmest and lightest on the market and features beautiful aluminum body
- BDXL capable
- Capable of burning CDs (24X), DVDs (8X), and Blu-rays (6X) this model is not just a Blu-ray burner, it can also compete with DVD recorders
- Fastest USB3.0 data transfer rates
- Simple plug-n-play operation with either Mac or PC; can be operated with or without included USB power cable
Weighs less than 10 oz and is only 0.5 inches thick
- Easy to use
- Solid construction and materials
- Great value
- Slot loading is very convenient
- Ejection button doesn’t work for some
Archgon has built their Archgon MD-3102G-U3-K Slot-Loading Aluminum External Blu-ray Burner around the reliable and popular Panasonic UJ-265 drive. It features BDXL support, Cyberlink software, USB-powered, a rigid aluminum body, and USB 3.0 data transfer speeds. Here’s what you need to know.
- 6X slot-loading Blue ray drive and burner built-on Panasonic UJ-265 technology and featuring premium aluminum construction
- Ultra-fast USB 3.0 data transfer speeds
- Power-saving technology means USB-powered
- Plug-n-play operation on Mac or PC
- Bundled with Cyberlink Media Suite OEM version
Dimensions are 5.9 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches (150 x 138 x 18 mm) and it is lightweight at only 13.22 oz
- Very reliable operation
- Sturdy construction
- Beautiful black aluminum body
- Only needs one USB 3.0 port
Pioneer claims that their Pioneer 6X Slim Portable External Blu-ray Writer is one of the world’s smallest and lightest external Blu ray drives and writers. Despite the small stature of this optical drive, it comes packed with features like BDXL support, USB 3.0 data transfer rates, and a complete CyberLink software suite. Not the fastest Blu ray burner in our list, this model is very popular for its compact size, reliability, and reasonable performance. Here are its main features.
- One of the world’s smallest and lightest BD/DVD/CD portable burners supporting BDXL
- USB 3.0 data transfer speeds
- USB-powered, it needs no AC adapter
- Pioneer Auto Quiet mode uses high speeds for data transfer and lower speeds for music or movie playback
- CyberLink Media Suite 10
- PowerDVD 10
- PowerDirector 10
- Power2GO 7
- PowerDVD 10
Measures only 5.2W x 0.55H x 5.2D inches and weighs only 8.46 oz
- Plug-n-play installation and operation
- Fast burning
- Compact and lightweight size
- Some reports of loud operation
- AC power adapter not included
- Clamshell opening
Pioneer’s next generation of Blu-ray burner, the Pioneer Electronics USA BDR-XU03 Slim External Blu-ray Writer uses a slot-loading mechanism for easier disc insertion and removal, a magnesium drive body for light weight and durability, and supports BDXL burning for maximum storage capacity. It’s also a very compact and lightweight portable Blu ray player. Here’s what you need to know.
- 6X next generation ultra-thin, smooth slot-loading, magnesium construction Blu-ray burner
- 4 MB buffer provides for smoother data transfer and glitch-free playback
- BDXL support
- Professional look and feel
- Fast USB 3.0 data transfer rates
- Saves precious desktop space by supporting vertical or horizontal placement
- PowerRead feature provides smoother movie playback even when the disc has fingerprints or minor surface scratches
- Auto Quiet mode automatically adjusts disc rotation speed to reduce noise during movies or music playback
- PureRead technology automatically adjusts drive parameters to minimize glitch music playback
The BDR-XU03 measures a compact 5.2W x 0.47H x 5.2D inches and weighs in at a lightweight 0.54 lbs
- Quiet operation
- Quality construction and materials
- Beautiful design
- No LED indicators
- No eject button
- USB cable very short
External Blu Ray Drive Comparison Chart
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