Manufactmn Samsung Website: goo.gl/DsOobz Required spec Windows XP+, Mac OS X10.4.6+, 1.6GHl+,2GB RAM, USB port.
W ith so many laptops and such now being sold without an optical drive there’s surely an opening in the portable market for those users who still require content to be delivered on a disk. The optical disk may well be dying out, in favour of digitally delivered media, but that day is going to be some way off yet. Samsung, therefore, has released a new portable DVD writer with ultra-portability in mind.
The SE-B18AB is an extremely lightweight and compact unit, measuring just 148 x 17 x 138.4mm and weighing 260g. It’s a USB, bus powered, slot loading DVD writer with such features as Lightscribe, 1MB cache, 190ms DVD access time, eight-speed DVD write and an included disk with Power2Go, PowerDirector and PowerDVD (trial versions) bundled on to it.
In terms of design, it’s a pleasing looking product finished in a brushed silver aluminium look with a black bezel and four large rubberised feet to stop it skittering across the desk. It’s fairly sturdy, and doesn’t feel like it’s about to disintegrate in your hands with the slightest of handling.
On the whole, it’s quite good, but in use it does have a few issues that need addressing. For one, the supplied USB cable is very short, true it’s designed for use with an Ultrabook or something, but it’s just a little too short for our liking.
Secondly, it’s rather noisy when reading a DVD or CD. You can really hear the disk spinning up and when in full use it’s actually quite distracting – especially if you’re using this on the commute into work or in a quiet office.
Burning a disk is slightly more silent, for some odd reason, but not by a huge amount.
It’s also quite slow to burn a full DVD, the 1MB buffer seems like something you’d find from a product of several years ago and doesn’t do much to help speed things up. It’s enough to stop any underrun issues although, in truth, the writing software these days is so good an underrun is something that doesn’t tend to crop up much.
In truth, the SE-B18AB is a better than average external USB DVD writer. It’s certainly portable enough, and is A/tta t I slow, and noisy, but generally ttfs okay suitable for storing in the laptop bag, but it doesn’t offer much beyond the norm. It’s fairly cheap, and can be picked up for a reasonable price if you shop around. Cheap, fairly cheerful and certainly handy if you own a laptop or Uitrabook without any kind of optical drive built-in.