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Comparison of 4 portable DVD drives using Surface Pro 2, 3, 4, Surface Book

sharpuser

Super Moderator
Staff member
[Fourth drive also tested - with Surface Pro 3, and Using with Surface Book - see discussion]

Here is a comparison of three portable DVD drives using my Surface Pro 2:

DRIVE 1 (LG) $49 :
LG Portable 8X Slim DVD+/- RW External Drive with Low Power Drain

DRIVE 2 (Buffalo) $95 :
Buffalo MediaStation Portable BDXL Blu-ray Writer BRXL-PC6U2B

DRIVE 3 (Samsung) $33 :
Samsung USB 2.0 Ultra Portable External DVD Writer Model SE-218CB/RSBS

DRIVE 4 (Samsung) $85 :
Samsung Portable Blu Ray DVD Writer Model SE-506

Tasks:
1) Write an audio CD and eject (via iTunes)
2) Rip an audio CD @ 192Kbps and store tracks on SD card (via iTunes)
3) Play DVD movie (via Windows Media Center Pack)

TASK 1 - Write an audio CD and eject (via iTunes)
DRIVE 1 (LG): 02:03
DRIVE 2 (Buffalo Blu Ray): 01:59
DRIVE 3 (Samsung): 01:51
DRIVE 4 (Samsung Blu Ray): 01:39 - BEST (tested on Surface Pro 3 i7 512)

TASK 2 - Rip an audio CD @ 192Kbps and store tracks on SD card (via iTunes)
DRIVE 1 (LG): 01:27
DRIVE 2 (Buffalo Blu Ray): 01:34
DRIVE 3 (Samsung): 01:21 - BEST
DRIVE 4 (Samsung Blu Ray): 01:19 - BEST (tested on Surface Pro 3 i7 512)

TASK 3 - Play DVD movie (via Windows Media Center Pack)
All drives performed similarly (software limited). DRIVE 1 (LG) was quietest.

All three drives worked well by plugging in only one USB connection.
- DRIVE 1 (LG) comes with a "Y" USB cord, to allow supplemental power, if users do not want to drain their device
- DRIVE 2 (Buffalo Blu Ray) also has a "Y" USB cord, which neatly tucks around the perimeter of the drive. Thickest drive.
- DRIVE 3 (Samsung) has a single USB 2.0 to mini-USB cord
- DRIVE 4 (Samsung) has a single USB 2.0 to mini-USB cord

All three drives weigh about the same, including the cords. DRIVE 3 (Samsung) feels sturdiest and most comfortable to handle.

- Based upon tasks performed, sturdiest frame, thinnest drive, use of USB port only for power, and smallest footprint, I prefer DRIVE 4 (Samsung Blu Ray). However, I recommend using the Surface Pro 2 or 3 power adapter for extended use. Drive 4 (Samsung Blu Ray) seemed to have the least drain on my Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 batteries.

- If more portability is needed, I prefer DRIVE 1 (LG) due to performance, quietness, and lowest cost by far. Rubber feet are a bit thicker on this drive, perhaps helping it to be the quietest.

If Blu-Ray is a must, DRIVE 2 (Buffalo) accomplishes this with a very lightweight drive, and tucked away cords, so they don't get lost.

Drives reviewed:
dvd_1_rotate.JPG

Note DRIVE 3 (Samsung) is thinnest.
dvd_2_rotate.JPG

Front and side views of the stacked drives show DRIVE 1 (LG) is quite compact. DRIVE 2 (Buffalo) is lockable
dvd_6.JPG
dvd_8.JPG

Handy cord storage on DRIVE 2 (Buffalo)
dvd_3.JPG

DRIVE 3 (Samsung) playing "The Red Balloon" DVD. Nice sturdy drive. Good texture on top face. Power Cover and Logitech Ultrathin mouse shown.
dvd_5.JPG


DRIVE 4 (Samsung Blu Ray) compared to DRIVE 2 (Buffalo Blu Ray). Samsung is lighter, faster, sleeker.
updated_DVD_1.JPG


updated_DVD_2.JPG


updated_DVD_3.JPG
 

beq

Member
Very helpful, thanks! Would you say that the LG has more compact dimensions than the Samsung (other than the thickness)? Does it also use a mini USB port like the Samsung, or (preferably) micro USB?


Also just curious do the LG and Buffalo state their maximum wattage/amp consumption anywhere in the box or manual?

I wish there's a way to easily compare the power specs, as it's usually not listed in vendor product pages...
 
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OP
sharpuser

sharpuser

Super Moderator
Staff member
No power specs in the packaging of any of these three. This is common among manufacturers when relying upon USB power, rather than separate adapters.

The LG slips in and out of my bag the easiest, because of its rounded corners. Yes, it seems these rounded corners make it a bit more compact.
I have added pics of the drives stacked together to my original post.
 
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OP
sharpuser

sharpuser

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi, revmike,

I bought my LG new from Amazon.com for $17.99 when LG announced a replacement for this drive which was M-Disc compatible (model GP30NB30). The replacement has some kind of issue, so its marketing never materialized.

For this reason, the price is back to about $49, and I have edited the original post. You can still get it for about $29 here, though.

Thanks. :)
 
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CrippsCorner

Well-Known Member
Samsung are usually bang on with style (apart from their phones) but it's good to see they perform well too :) very thorough testing man!
 

kundas1

Super Moderator
Staff member
Well just a heads up in case anyone was wondering... my buddy let me borrow his Asus Blu-ray portable drive and it does not work on the Surface 2...was excited to see it appear in the drives section but when inserting a Blu-ray movie it looses connection... ah well nothing lost in my eyes lol
 

gangolfus

Member
Well just a heads up in case anyone was wondering... my buddy let me borrow his Asus Blu-ray portable drive and it does not work on the Surface 2...was excited to see it appear in the drives section but when inserting a Blu-ray movie it looses connection... ah well nothing lost in my eyes lol
Windows doesn't natively support Blu-ray movie playback. You need 3rd party software to do so.
 

CrippsCorner

Well-Known Member
Really? That's terrible... never knew that. It really should considering Xbox One comes straight out the box with blu-ray support now.
 

beq

Member
There's a free Blu-ray add-on hack for VLC. Or if you already have something like AnyDVD HD then you can unlock and use regular video player apps IIRC.

I have the above but also got ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre (supposedly a less bloated alternative to Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra).

Also I think that different discs use different tech so the software you use needs to be regularly updated, otherwise it won't support some of the newest releases.
 

macmee

Active Member
This reminds me of an interview Steve Ballmer did, where he pulled a MacBook air out of an envelope and scoffed at it, poking fun at the fact that it lacked an optical drive completely.

[video=youtube;mVPEdYqT-_o]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVPEdYqT-_o[/video]

And now the Surface. One of his last biggest products before he got the boot-- no optical drive. It's funny how Microsoft was late to pickup on the fact that the ultrabook and portable computing market was going to explode, and it's ironic now that Microsoft is arguably ahead of Apple in the tablet market in terms of features (possibly in terms of sales by the end of this year, if their partners keep cranking out W8 tablets cheaper than toilet paper).


---

Anyway, great review thread. I'll make sure to bookmark it incase I need dvd access for something. Although, in the past I've normally just disassembled an external IDE hard drive and shoved in an optical drive in its stead.
 
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