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Choose Smarter: Ten…portable optical drives

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HP DVD556s


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What if you don’t need a fancy Blu-ray drive but still want a good external burner? No problem, there are a good few to choose from. For instance, HP’s DVD556s is a compact DVD burner not much bigger than a jewellery case, so it is just the job for carrying around with an ultra-portable.

It has a USB 2.0 port but you will have to make sure you have two USB ports free to provide the drive with enough power to burn DVDs. The drive supports burning DVD+/- R and +RW up to x8 speed and DVD–RW and DL+/-R discs at up to 6x speed.

HP Dvd556

Reg Rating 75%
Price £37
More info HP

Lite-On eSEU206

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Not quite as slim as Buffalo’s BR-PX68U2 drive, the Lite-On eSEU206 Blu-ray combo drive writes Blu-ray media at 6x for a single layer discs, dropping to 4x for a dual layer. It burns DVD single layer and DVD+RW media at 8x, DVD-RW at 6x and dual layer DVDs at 4x speeds.

The drive comes with LightScribe as well as Lite-On’s own SmartBurn and Smart-X technologies, which endeavour to deliver the best write quality and read performance possible. At 145mm x 15mm x 21mm and weighing 350g, it is easy to carry around. Lite-On bundles Cyberlink’s Blu-ray diagnostic suite with the drive, to ensure authoring is hassle free.

Lite-On eSEU206

Reg Rating 80%
Price £84
More info Lite-On

LG BP40NS20


RH Numbers

Yet another portable drive on a familiar theme: compact, USB 2.0 interface and a 6x speed Blu-ray burn speed. The maximum write speed of the drive is 6x for BD-R and BD-R dual layer and BD-RE dual layer discs, while BD-RE discs are written to at a maximum of 2x speed.

The drive’s case is made out of a silver coloured plastic with a UV coating that makes it more resistant to scratching – useful if it spends its life in and out of a notebook bag. The drive supports Lightscribe labelling technology and comes bundled with CyberLink’s Blu-ray disc suite.

LG BP40NS20

Reg Rating 75%
Price £99
More info LG

Plextor PlexEasy (PX-650US-135)


RH Numbers

Now for something a little different. Plextor’s PlexEasy is a DVD burner with a secret: it can be used to back up or transfer data onto CDs or DVDs without the need for a PC anywhere near it. It manages this neat trick by supporting PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol), which is what many digital cameras and smartphones use to print images.

It transfers images or data from a supported device to the optical media using its USB 2.0 port. If that isn’t enough, it also has a flash card reader built in compatible with SD/SDHC/MMC types. The LCD display and three control buttons on the PlexEasy let the user control the copying process. In normal, plugged-into-a-PC mode it will burn a DVD at 8x speed.

Plexeasy

Reg Rating 80%
Price £81
More info Plextor

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Next page: Plextor PX-B120U

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