7 Best External Bluray Drives | April 2017

We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. For easy desktop upgrades without tearing apart the insides, or for simple portable Blu-Ray support on your laptop, you will want a high quality external Blu-Ray drive. The lightest drives will use less power, often only requiring a USB cable, but they will burn at lower speeds. High-speeds often require larger models that plug into standard power outlets. Skip to the best external bluray drive on Amazon.
7 Best External Bluray Drives | April 2017
Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 6
Best High-End
★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
7
The Buffalo MediaStation is a 6x Blu-Ray reader and writer designed to match most PC laptops. It uses only a single USB cable and ships with CyberLink's Media Suite application, for both burning and watching your favorite movies.
  • no external power supply required
  • integrated usb cable won't get lost
  • older software will requires updates
Brand BUFFALO
Model BRXL-PT6U2VB
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
6
The Asus BW-12D1S-U boasts an eye-catching diamond shaped design that looks elegant on any tabletop while supporting some of the fastest write speeds. Also, it comes with the efficient Power Backup software to help you effortlessly backup important data.
  • super fast 12x blu-ray burning speed
  • bright activity indicator led
  • has a large footprint
Brand Asus
Model BW-12D1S-U/BLK/G/AS
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
5
The LG WP40NB30 is a great option for burning Blu-Ray discs on PCs, but it does not ship with Mac software, so users of OSX should consider a third-party application, such as Toast. Otherwise, it is a stable and reliable drive for both BD-XL and M-DISC formats.
  • capable of fixing damaged disc data
  • 4mb buffer underrun prevention
  • requires 2 usb ports
Brand Produplicator
Model 6.79E+11
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
4
The Archgon MD-3102G-U3 has a beautiful encasing and interface to its built-in Panasonic UJ-265, an extremely reliable drive for burning and watching movies. The manufacturer provides excellent support, and the drive ships with all the cables and software you need.
  • power-saving technology
  • brushed aluminum enclosure
  • slim slot-loading design
Brand Archgon
Model MD-3102G-U3BDRW
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
3
The HornetTek Super Drive is specifically designed for Mac users, but it will also function just as well on PCs. It is one of the first external optical drives to use USB-C, but you can still use it on older USB-A connections if you need to.
  • strong aluminum casing
  • 6x maximum write speed
  • includes required cables
Brand HornetTek
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
2
With its slim and lightweight design, the Pioneer BDR-XD05S is a great option for those who are constantly on the go. It is ideal for Mac users and supports read-only, write-once, and rewritable media of BDXL, BD, CD and DVD formats.
  • minimizes audio playback errors
  • discs will never get stuck inside
  • 3 colors to choose from
Brand Pioneer
Model BDR-XD05S
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
1
For the highest burn speeds possible over USB 3.0 connections, you need the LG BE16NU50, a beautiful slot-loaded model that is so powerful it requires its own dedicated power supply. Although this lightly limits portability, it is worth it for the faster speeds.
  • lovely design for any desk
  • 3d movie support
  • near-silent operation
Brand LG Electronics
Model BE14NU40
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Zipping Toward Obsolescence

There's a scene in Zoolander in which Maurie Gold, played with effortless crotchety aplomb by Jerry Stiller, reveals to the film's villain that all the incriminating evidence that was just destroyed by an idiot male model is backed up at Gold's house on a Zip Drive.

I just saw the film again for the first time in a decade, and the mention of a Zip Drive sent me reeling. If you don't recognize the format, you're not alone. Zip Drive was a short-lived, and ultimately unnecessary data storage method. It used proprietary disks and a proprietary drive, which was almost never found on the spec sheets of any available computer. Like these external Blu-ray drives, they existed outside the tower or laptop, connected by an old USB 1.0 cord.

Blue-ray is certainly a more popular and more useful format that Zip Drives ever could have been, and both their drives and their discs are a lot more common. We know that the drives we've evaluated here for you connect by a much faster USB 3.0, but other than that, how exactly do they work?

Well, the thing that makes Blu-ray significantly different from DVD is the light used to read the data off the disc. Traditional DVD players read their discs with red lasers, the wavelength of which is approximately 650 nanometers. Blu-ray, as its name implies, employs a blue laser, which has a shorter wavelength of approximately 405 nanometers, allowing it to be more sharply focused.

Blu-ray and DVD discs work about the same way, a lot like vinyl records, in which the grooves read by a needle translate back into the musical vibrations that imprinted them in the first place. The finer lasers on Blu-ray drives can accurately read smaller grooves in the disc, allowing more information to squeeze its way onto the format.

When that laser reads the information in the grooves, it heads through your USB port and to your video card, where your computer translates it back into the image captured by the camera, or back into whatever data you've stored on the disc.

Zip Drives faded rather quickly, but the size, efficiency, and popularity of Blu-ray discs and movies ought to make investing in one of these external drives a safe bet.

Drive Yourself Crazy

From the outside, most of the external Blu-ray drives on our list look a lot alike. One functions as a vertical disc drive, so it stands on its side as opposed to laying flat, but beyond that, it's tough to make a choice among them based on looks alone.

In addition to reading Blu-ray discs, these drives can also read and write to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray. Those write speeds will differ from drive to drive, so if you've got a high-quantity bootleg operation in the works, you'll want something that can write fast.

You should also look into the types of Blu-ray discs supported in reading and writing processes. If you fell victim to the agonizing and nearly inexplicable differences between DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and the other suspicious disc formats that cropped up around the advent of the DVD player (VCD, anyone?), you know that slight differences in the design of a disc can leave your intentions for it in a lurch.

The same is true of the layering process on Blu-ray discs, which allows you to write multiple lines of grooves on a single disc, potentially quadrupling its capacity. Just make sure you pick the proper hardware to handle the job, as not all of the drives on our list support that kind of work.

The Tale Of An Ugly Twin

Technologists at Sony and Pioneer knew that the DVD format had a ceiling to it. They knew that the beam cast by their red laser diodes could be better focused if it were simply a different color. They also knew that the thirst to store and share ever-increasing file sizes was one that would not, and still will not, be quenched.

In 2000, the companies unveiled the first prototypes of DVR discs that read and wrote with a blue laser. By February of the following year, the inventors filed an intellectual copyright on the logo, and Blu-ray was born.

Shortly after its birth, however, an ugly twin came screaming forth from the birth canal. For all intents and purposes, it was an identical twin, but sometimes there are identical twins that somehow don't seem to get the same share in beauty or ability. This ugly twin needed a name, and the industry cooked up a moniker as ugly as the child: HD-DVD.

The companies vied for supremacy in the marketplace for a short while, with Microsoft mistakenly taking HD-DVD's miserable side. The first editions of their XBox 360 systems had external HD-DVD players available for purchase, though not built into the system tower itself.

Sony, on the other hand, launched its Playstation 3 with a Blu-ray drive built in, and sales of Blu-ray discs and drives so thoroughly outpaced those of HD-DVD, that the ugly twin found itself a handy burlap sack and promptly threw itself in the river, leaving Blu-ray to reign supreme.



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Last updated on April 18 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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