Best External Blu-Ray Drives in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 28, 2018
An external Blu-ray drive is a portable storage device for writing and reading data on such modern high-capacity media as Blu-ray discs and DVD/CD discs. With a simple USB connection to your PC/laptop, these compact devices offer great mobility. Be sure to check out these 5 best external Blu-ray drives we've selected for you. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Supported Disc Formats
Reading/ Writing Speed
OS Compatibility
Mounting
Size
Warranty
 
PROS

This Pioneer external Blu-ray burner is one of the thinnest and lightest DVD/Blu-ray external writers. It's a one-of-a-kind model that supports the BDXL format. BDXL supports 128GB Quad Layer and 100GB Triple Layer Blu-ray media.

CONS

It's a bit noisy when burning a disk. 

OUR VERDICT

The Pioneer BDR-XD05TS external Blu-ray drive features exclusive technology for quick detection, fast burning, and smooth playback even if a disc is a bit damaged. Both video and sound play flawlessly.

detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats

Blu-ray, BDXL, CD, DVD

Reading/ Writing Speed

Blu-ray - 6x 

DVD - 8x  

CD - 24x

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS

Mounting

Horizontal 

Size

14.8 x 133 x 133 mm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

No external driver required for playback. Simply connect the 3.0 USB cable to your netbook or computer and it will detect this Blu-ray player automatically. Plus, it's designed with a forced ejection hole, so you won't need to worry about the disc being stuck inside.

CONS

The instructions aren't very clear. 

OUR VERDICT

TOPELEK offers a basic optical drive which is very portable and easy to take to your office. It'll be useful to those who want to burn Blu-ray discs, watch 3D Blu-ray movies, or create backup disks. 

detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats

Blu-ray, CD, DVD

Reading/ Writing Speed

Blu-ray - 6x

DVD - 8x

CD - 24x

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS, Linux

Mounting

Horizontal

Size

25 x 165 x 250 mm

Warranty

30 days money-back guarantee, 18 months worry-free warranty

PROS

Jamless Play feature provides you with a possibility to play content from scratched discs without facing any kind of issues. On top of that, this device also supports BDXL, the latest Blu-ray format that allows you to write Blu-ray discs of up to one hundred gigabytes.

CONS

The device does not support the latest USB protocol.

OUR VERDICT

The LG BP50NB40 Slim External Blu-Ray Drive is the type of device that we can easily recommend to all people that appreciate design and mobility above anything else but don't want to compromise when it comes to functionality.

detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats

Blu-ray, CD, DVD

Reading/ Writing Speed

Blu-ray - 6x 

DVD - 8x 

CD - 24x

OS Compatibility

Windows

Mounting

Horizontal

Size

14.6 x 144 x 156 mm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

With this drive, you'll be able to burn M-DISC DVDs or Blu-ray discs (4.7 GB or 128 GB capacities). Today, these are the most durable disks out there. M-DISCs are designed to provide enormous archival media longevity and are claimed to store data up to enormous 1,000 years.

CONS

Some users claim that USB cables are rather short. 

OUR VERDICT

The Buffalo BRXL-PT6U2VB portable drive is ideal for netbook users who travel frequently and need a small and efficient solution for storing, editing, and watching high-definition content. It comes with a rich software suite from CyberLink.

detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats

Blu-ray, CD, DVD

Reading/ Writing Speed

Blu-ray - 6x

DVD - 8x

CD - 24x

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS

Mounting

Horizontal

Size

14.4 x 138 x 152 mm 

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The device is equipped with 2 USB ports - one is for connection, and the other is for power supply. The charging cable needs DV 5V 1A or 2A plug, which means that you can even use your phone's plug.

CONS

It writes to common DVDs and CDs only.

OUR VERDICT

This is an excellent player for Blu-Ray, DVD, and CD discs. It's very portable and excellent for those who often take their laptops plus a vast collection of films on any trip. It quickly burns CDs and DVDs, yet it's unable to write on Blu-ray disks.

detailed parameters
Supported Disc Formats

Blu-ray, CD, DVD

Reading/ Writing Speed

Blu-ray - 6x

DVD - 8x

CD - 24x

OS Compatibility

Windows, Mac OS 

Mounting

Horizontal

Size

22 x 173 x 210 mm

Warranty

180 days money-back and 1 year worry-free warranty

Pioneer BDR-XD05S

Best Overall Blu-ray Drive

The BDR-XD05 disk burner is the next generation product from Pioneer. It boasts the increased power laser that is capable of burning/reading BDXL-format discs. Using this external Blu-ray drive along with BDXL discs allows you to achieve incredibly disc capacities of 128 GB Quad Layer (write-once discs) and 100 GB Triple Layer (rewritable discs). So, if you want to store your data at such a scale, this model will be a perfect option. It's also worth mentioning that this external Blu-ray burner can read and write Single, Dual, Triple, and even Quad-layer BD-R discs without problems. Naturally, it also easily handles writing and/or reading data from standard DVD and CD formats. It takes roughly 40-50 minutes to rip a movie in DVD-Fab and 12-15 minutes to burn an entire Blu-ray disc at 6x speed.

This BDR-XD05 external drive uses the PureRead 2+ technology for re-reading discs with scratches, fingerprints, or other damages. It really retrieves audio and video data with maximum precision. The PowerRead is one more useful proprietary technology that lets this Blu-ray drive proceed to the next segment of the video rather than trying to re-read its damaged area. As a result, the disc will play both video and sound flawlessly without stuttering. This nifty device comes with a high-speed USB 3.0 Y-cable which will be of great use for people who have older computers. Also, it comes with an install disc which is simple to install.

The only con, at least in our opinion, is that the BDR-XD05 has no storage case where you could keep the drive and the cord together and protect it from damage when on the road. Still, most people do not regard it as an issue so we couldn't mark it down from its best overall title. It's an excellent Blu-ray drive for people who often travel and search for a compact thing and for those who want to upgrade to one of the fastest drives for ripping Blu-rays/DVD disks.

Review of Pioneer BDR-XD05S

Extremely Portable

The Pioneer BDR-XD05TS is not only one of the fastest optical drives on the market, it's also one of the smallest and lightest. It has a compact clamshell design that's easy to carry around during any trip. It doesn't take much space and fits perfectly inside a notebook bag. The metal casing ensures a decent anti-shock protection during the transportation. And its silver finish goes perfectly well with Apple desktop PCs and MacBooks.

Pioneer BDR-XD05S in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

TopElek GDGEPC072AS

Basic External Drive for Home Use

If you want to enjoy high-resolution video content on your laptop or home computer, the TOPELEK portable Blu-ray drive is a solid fit. It's a pretty basic external drive that can make watching ultra-HD movies more affordable and more enjoyable. This device will save you lots of money on buying a sophisticated PC or laptop with a Blu-ray drive, since it's able to play back Blu-ray discs, CDs, and DVDs equally well. Simply hook it up to the USB port of your computer and it'll be detected automatically. What is notable is that it uses your PC, laptop or a netbook as a power source and doesn't need an additional power supply. This drive requires only one USB 3.0 connection for both data and power transfer. The device is capable of handling the latest USB 3.0 technology, meaning you'll be able to transfer data much faster (up to 10 times the speed of USB 2.0) and without lags. Of course, it also supports older USB 2.0 and USB 1.0 versions.

Needless to say, the TOPELEK external Blu-ray drive can not only read Blu-ray discs, CDs, and DVDs but burn them as well. The writing speed makes 24x for CD-R (16x for CD-RW), 8x for DVD-R (6x for DVD-RW), and 6x for BD-R (SL/DL). Whatever task you choose, it will work faultlessly. For extra safety, it's designed with a forced ejection hole. So, you won't need to worry that your disc might get stuck inside.

Right after the setup, the driver is very logical to operate. Of course, it's worth noting that you will need to download the appropriate software to use it to the fullest. Luckily, you can find lots of free software on the Internet to test which works best with this Blu-ray player. The TOPELEK external drive is compatible with every version of Windows, Linux, as well as Mac OS, meaning it's a great choice for any customer.

Review of TopElek GDGEPC072AS External Bluray Drive (USB 3.0, for Mac, Windows 10, Laptop, PC)

Premium Design

The TOPELEK drive looks sleek and stylish, and you might be amazed at how small it is. Being just 25 x 165 x 250 mm, transporting this model won't certainly be a challenge. Thanks to the high-quality materials it's made of, it's completely scratch-proof and very durable. Plus, the polished metal chrome gives it a premium appearance. It has an absolutely stunning design with some of the cleanest aesthetics.

TopElek GDGEPC072AS External Bluray Drive (USB 3.0, for Mac, Windows 10, Laptop, PC) in the use

 

LG BP50NB40

Enjoy Your Favorite Movies

It wouldn't be that much of an exaggeration to say that almost everybody enjoys movies. Obviously, people tend to prefer different genres and very few could honestly describe themselves as cinema aficionados, but it would be ludicrous to deny the fact that watching movies is one of the most popular pastime activities around the world.

The only problem with all of this is that even though specialists kept on improving the format of the video every few years with the most recent one being Blu-ray, the world of personal computers and laptops have undergone a completely opposite trend with the majority of them no longer featuring even a CD/DVD drive, let along a Blu-ray one. Of course, you can always download a movie on your USB drive, but with the majority of movies nowadays coming out in a Blu-ray format, that could easily prove to be quite a challenge given that the average USB drive is incapable of containing a full-length movie in a Blu-ray format.

This is where external Blu-ray drives come in. If you're a part of the majority of people that own a personal computer which didn't come equipped with a DVD or a Blu-ray drive, this type of device would allow you to enjoy your favorite movies without any kind of inconveniences. And if you're currently in the market for one, we can wholeheartedly recommend the LG BP50NB40.

Review of LG BP50NB40 Blu-ray Slim External Blu-Ray/ DVD Writer

Thin as a Stick

When it comes to any type of portable device, one of the first things that people tend to pay attention to is the size and the design of this product. And rightfully so, since a portable device is meant to be carried around and if the item at hand is too bulky or inconvenient, taking it with you can prove to be quite a challenge. Luckily for the potential customers, people behind this device at LG are aware of this phenomenon, which is exactly why this model features an incredibly sleek and stylish design black design and can be honestly labeled as one of the most mobile portable options on the external Blu-ray drive's market. With less than six inches in length, slightly above 6" in width and an incredible number of 0.6 inches in height, this device is almost paper thin and takes up virtually no space while the weight of 9.6 ounces on top of the overall dimensions will make carrying this Blu-ray drive around one of the easiest possible tasks out there. With the size of a pencil and the weight of an average apple, this device will make a great companion to bulky personal computers just as well as to some of the thinnest ultrabooks available.

LG BP50NB40 Blu-ray Slim External Blu-Ray/ DVD Writer in the use

Jamless Play

When it comes to performance aspect, the LG BP50NB40 Slim External Blu-Ray Drive is no slouch either. It is an excellent device if you wish to watch Blu-ray movies or write Blu-ray discs. One of the things you will absolutely love about this model is that it comes with a feature called Jamless Play. With a catchy name like that, what the feature essentially does is it provides you with a possibility to play content from scratched discs without facing any kind of issues. On top of that, this device also supports BDXL, the latest Blu-ray format that allows you to write Blu-ray discs of up to one hundred gigabytes. When it comes to actually working with discs, the model is capable of handling triple-layer Blu-ray disks at 2x speed and features a reading and writing speed of up to 6x with the regular Blu-ray discs. In terms of compatibility, the drive supports all of the recent and most popular operating systems and it works with just about any computer or laptop. The last but not the least, the device also comes featuring a support for 3D Blu-ray disc playback meaning you can now enjoy your favorite Blu-ray titles on your PC in a new dimension by utilizing the 2D to 3D converting option. To sum it up, the LG BP50NB40 Slim External Blu-Ray Drive is the type of device that we can easily recommend to the kinds of people that appreciate design and mobility above anything else but don't want to compromise when it comes to functionality.

Detailed review of LG BP50NB40 Blu-ray Slim External Blu-Ray/ DVD Writer

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Buffalo BRXL-PT6U2VB EU

Store Your Data through Milleniums!

If you already own some pieces of Buffalo tech, you know that the company makes top-grade stuff and never cuts corners. And this Blu-ray writer is another top drawer from the manufacturer. It’s a very portable option for storing, watching, and editing high-definition content. It really stands out from the crowd as one of the most compact solutions on the market supporting BDXL format discs that provide data storage up to incredible 128 GB. And with the accelerated writing speed, it will take no more than an hour to backup huge data files. As for DVD disks, you can burn them at 6x speed, and it will take you approximately 45 mins to write a dual layer DVD disc, while the single layer discs need less time. What we particularly admired about this modes is that it can write even M-DISC format. M-DISCs are designed to provide enormous archival media longevity and are claimed to store data up to incredible 1,000 years. The M-DISC format is supported by DVD and Blu-ray discs, so the available recording capacities are from 4.7 GB to 128 GB. We would like to point out that the long-lasting M-DISCs are readable in conventional drives.

The Buffalo BRXL-PT6U2VB uses a speedy USB 3.0 connection and needs a free USB port to get power. In other words, one USB cable serves for transferring data and the other one is dedicated to a power supply. Overall, the driver is perfect for laptop users who travel frequently and want to take their favourite collection of films with them. It’s also a good choice for those who need a small and unobtrusive driver for home or office use. It’s extremely slim and fits into any bag without the hassle of additional power cords and plugs. It can go just anywhere with you!

Review of Buffalo BRXL-PT6U2VB EU Ultra thin Portable Blu Ray Writer

Ready for Use Right Out-of-the-box

Unlike most other models offered for sale, this one already comes with a very comprehensive software suite from CyberLink. The software has numerous tools for photos and videos, which allows you to edit media content, authorize, watch 3D films and play back videos. This rich software is rather expensive to purchase separately and it can save you dozens of pounds. The only gripe is that the menu is too small and a bit difficult to read. Still, the Buffalo BRXL-PT6U2VB is a fully-featured product that can be used right out-of-the-box with no extra costs.

Buffalo BRXL-PT6U2VB EU Ultra thin Portable Blu Ray Writer in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

PiAEK External

Plug and Play

Although PIAEK isn’t a big name on the electronics market, the company produces high-quality computer peripherals for a reasonable price. And this External Blu-ray Drive is no exception. It has no extra frills yet does its job perfectly. It can read CD discs at up to 24x speed, DVD discs at up to 8x rate, and Blu-Ray disc at up to 6x. This is an optimal speed for smooth playback of video content, including high-resolution 4K format and 3D films. However, take note that though the player reads Blu-Ray, DVD, and CD discs, it writes only to common DVDs and CDs.

As for the writing capabilities, the device can burn a Full HD film (it’s approximately 4 GB) to a DVD disc in about 15 minutes. It also supports 8.5G, 4.7G, 700M normal CD/DVD formats. Speaking of OS compatibility, the drive works with WIN XP, VISTA, WIN7, WIN8, WIN10, and MAC OS. It’s backwards compatible with USB 3.0/USB2.0/USB1.0. Needless to say, it's advisable to use a USB 3.0 interface for a stable, high-speed data transfer that makes 5 Gbit per second rather than 480 Mbit of USB 2.0. A USB cable, as well as a charging cable, is included in the set. Like many other portable devices connectable to a PC, it needs a separate power source. You’ll need to plug the charging cable into DV 5V 1A or 2A plug. The great news is that you can use your phone's plug. Just plug and play!

Review of PiAEK External Blu-Ray Reader, CD/DVD Writer (USB 3.0, Mac OS, Windows)

Some Precautions

The manufacturer suggests you stick to these rules to get the most out of its performance.

  1. The manufacturer prohibits using this Blu-ray writer/burner with some models of tablets (mostly those from Microsoft Surface Series) that have low voltage endangering malfunction of the drive.
  2. In order to play Blu-ray discs smoothly it's important to make sure that the software installed on your computer supports Blu-ray format. If it doesn't, the manufacturer advises installing only professional soft like PowerDVD, Macgo Blu-ray Player for Windows, MAC Blu-ray Player for MAC OS. Take note that player software isn't included in the package and you will need to buy it additionally in case compatibility issues occur.
  3. If the PIAEK player doesn’t read Blu-ray discs, set the Blu-ray drive region to your country.

PiAEK External Blu-Ray Reader, CD/DVD Writer (USB 3.0, Mac OS, Windows) in the use

 

What Is a Blu Ray Disc Drive?

One of the main tendencies of computer equipment development is miniaturization of the elements and units as a whole: desktop PCs are extensively substituted by nettops, and notebooks are making room for ultrabooks. With that, the PC internals either get smaller or get transformed into the new format or get discarded. The same holds for the optical drives. Blu-ray technology being the latest widely adopted implementation of optical disc recording offers higher capacities (from 25 GB to 128 GB) compared to the CD and DVD iterations. The higher capacities are achieved due to higher data recording density, thus the discs and the drives themselves retain the same size. In terms of mounting, the Blu-ray drives, in general, are divided into internal and external drives just like CD and DVD drives.

Nevertheless, it is too early to scrap the optical drives including the external Blu-ray drives as a class. The Blu-ray drives, in particular, owe this vitality to a widespread usage of Blu-ray discs for commercial purposes. Movies, music, software and video games are released frequently on physical media along with their digital copies. On the other hand, the adoption of high-definition media formats such as 4K drives the media capacity increase as conventional DVD-ROM discs do not have enough capacity for accommodating a full-length movie in this format.

If you have a big collection of movies or music, which you’d like to share with your friends or take with you on a trip, we suggest you checking the external hard drives and solid state drives which can accommodate plenty of multimedia data and offer great portability.

What Features to Compare

The first factor we should consider is Performance. The Performance of an external Blu-ray drive is determined preeminently by disc reading and writing speeds, which differ from one disc format to another. Talking about disc writing and reading speeds we should focus on Blu-ray disc writing/reading speeds in the first place. A writing speed determines, for example, the period of time required for an external Blu-ray drive for laptop or desktop PCs to burn an HD movie to a disc (this opportunity is one of the main driving factors of buying a Blu-ray drive). The same applies to Blu-ray disc reading, but you should keep in mind that playing a movie released on a Blu-ray disc can be done on any external Blu-ray drive. Higher Blu-ray disc reading speeds are needed mostly to process non-multimedia data on Blu-ray discs such as games, software, etc. Please note that the Blu-ray optical disc data storage technology as the latest widely adopted optical disc technology provides a backward compatibility with the previous optical disc technology iterations, such as CD and DVD. This backward compatibility means that external Blu-ray drives can both read and write CD and DVD discs, though the speeds depend on a Blu-ray drive model.

The maximum Blu-ray disc reading speed offered by external Blu-ray drives lies in the range between 2х and 12х, maximum writing (burning) speed for BD-R often called write-once discs or non-erasable discs (single-layer) and BD-R DL (double-layer format that contains almost twice as much data as a single-layer disc) discs – up to 12х. As for the BD-RE (single-layer rewritable discs), the maximum supported writing speed is 3x for the most devices and 2x for burning the BD-RE DL (double-layer rewritable discs) format. The important thing is, despite all the inherent Blu-ray disc data integrity protection and error correction technologies, the higher the burning speed is, the higher the probability of data loss or incorrect burning is. Thus, if you have an opportunity and enough time, we recommend not to burn your discs at the maximum speed supported by your external Blu-ray drive for Mac-based or Windows-based devices. In this case, the writing of a disc will take more time but you are less likely to have data integrity issues; while the shorter writing time provided by the maximum supported writing speed may be a critical factor for those users who burn several discs a day. From this point of view, an external Blu-ray drive model that provides high burning speeds is excessive for non-commercial home or portable use. Indeed, with the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray disc of 25 GB and 50 GB for double-layer discs (we mean single-sided discs, you need to double the mentioned figures for double-sided discs) you manipulate a storage media capacity 5 times as large as one of DVD and 70 times as large as one of CD discs. That means that a single-sided Blu-ray disc can carry up to 135 minutes of HD video or up to 9 hours of SD video.

The Connection Interface and Power Supply are also important for an external Blu-ray drive as a portable device. This portability comes at a price of additional requirements, such as external power supply. Some external Blu-гау drive models require an external power adapter as the power supplied via a USB port used for a data exchange with a master device is not enough for the drive operation. Though some models can be easily connected to any PC, laptop or a netbook via a USB 2.0 or 3.0 slot and operated without additional power supply. The use of USB as both data exchange interface and a power supply is a big plus for an external Blu-ray burner because you can use the drive for reading or writing discs even if there is no power socket available and the laptop used operates on its battery.

Regarding the data exchange speed, the USB 3.0 is preferable to USB 2.0 as a connection interface of an external Blu-ray drive. The theoretical or peak data transfer speed supported by USB 3.0 interface is up to 5 Gbps, which is much bigger than the 480 Mbps, at which the USB 2.0 is capped. Bear in mind though that these theoretical data transfer maximum values greatly exceed the actual data rates, which are determined by an external Blu-ray drive itself.

The third important point, which needs to be clarified when choosing a portable Blu-ray burner is its Ergonomics. The ergonomics is important as it greatly affects the convenience of use and portability of a drive. Considering the fact that you may want to opt for a stationary use of an external Blu-ray drive (as an external device installed, for instance, near a laptop) you should pay attention to the drive’s mounting type – vertical or horizontal. The mounting type may be critical for an extended stationary drive usage that implies, for example, connecting multiple PCs or laptops to the drive or moving it around an office. As cloud data storage is not available without an Internet connection and is not supported by some equipment for presentations, external Blu-ray drives are still relevant, providing mobility, wide compatibility, and large capacities.

Sources:

1. Optical disc drive,  Wikipedia. January 4, 2017

2. Blu-ray Disc recordable, Wikipedia. February 6, 2017

3. Optical disc drive, archlinux.

4. Dennis Hartman What Is a Blu-Ray DVD Writer? Techwalla.com. March 31, 2015.

5. Blu-ray Drive buying Guide, eBay. March 10, 2016.

6. What is BD-R, BD-RE, BD-XL and Ultra HD Blu-ray? Online Tech Tips.

7. Robert Silva Blu-ray and HD-DVD Basics, Livewire. October 19, 2016.

8. Blu-ray, Wikipedia. February 11, 2017.

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Publish Date: 2018-09-28 07:37:24