Samsung External DVD Writer Review

August 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

Recently, I found that I could find uses for an optical drive on my new 2011 Mac mini, so I set out to find one.  Apple has a very svelt looking unit, but it had some bad reviews, and was a touch pricey at almost $80.  It was nice looking though.

I picked up the Samsung SE-SO84D Ultra-Slim External DVD Writer (Silver) for just under $40 before shipping.

It’s an extremely small unit, and it pops open just by touching a slightly indented section of the front.  It’s not a slot loader, like the Apple unit, but loads by way of a tray.  It doesn’t have a separate power brick, but a Y USB cable, with two ends to attach to available USB ports.  I attached the middle connector to my 24″ Apple Cinema Display monitor, and it provided enough power for the unit, so I didn’t need to attach the second connector (though I’ve read that some people do end up needing both connectors to power the unit).

Compatibility:  Since I believe Samsung has produced some of the SuperDrives Apple has used in the past, it isn’t a suprise to me to find that the Samsung drive was recognized right away by Mac OS, and (so far) has performed as well as the drive included in any of my previous Macs.

Design:  I’ll put it in a way anyone over 35 should understand…  Apple = Ginger.  Samsung = Mary Ann.  For those under 35, that means the Apple drive is sexier, but the Samsung drive isn’t bad either.

Quality:  This Samsung drive doesn’t seem as sturdy as I’d expect the Apple drive to be, but since I’m not throwing it into a laptop bag to jet around the country, it’s probably plenty sturdy enough for my use.

Noise:  This drive isn’t quiet, but rather very loud when spinning up a disk.  This is another point that I’d expect the Apple drive to win on, but considering my occasional use, I can live with the noise.

Price:  Samsung wins this one, hands down.  You could just about buy 2 of these for the price of one Apple drive.

So, of the 5 criteria I’ve covered, the Apple drive won on three (design, quality, and noise), we had one draw (compatibility), and Samsung won big on one (price).

I’d suggest that anyone looking for an external drive should seriously look at this Samsung unit, especially if it’s destined for only occasional use, and will live on a stationary surface.  For the money, it’s hard to beat.

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Entry filed under: Mac.

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