The standard 3.5" optical drive has been dying a slow death for many years. I can't honestly say I've used one in any system build in the last few years. That's not to say I don't use optical drives, because I have been using external solutions like today's product, the Samsung SE-218GN, for years.
With many new products like the MacBook Pro, Surface Pro 3 and others no longer coming equipped with an optical drive as standard equipment, external solutions like the Samsung SE-218 have become quite popular. I've used a number of solutions like these over the last few years and one thing that has become apparent is vendors are starting to slim these solutions down.
The Samsung SE-218GN in house today features read speeds of 8x for all DVD standards, while CD read speeds peak at 24x. Write speeds for the 218GN come in at 6x for double layer media (DVD DL) and 8x for DVDR and RW.
In addition to this, Samsung has deployed a few unique characteristics with this model, one of which includes Smart Power Technology, enabling this solution to utilize a single USB port, rather than multiple ports for additional power.
MSRP of the Samsung SE-218GN is listed at $39.99 with a one-year warranty.
Packaging for the SE-218GN shows an image of the writer on the front. At the bottom, we find compatibility for OS X and Windows along with M Disc.
Scope of delivery includes a USB cable, reading materials, and installation disc.
Above, we get a close-up look at the SE-218GN. Notice Samsung has relocated the eject button to the top of the drive.
The back of the unit houses the mini-USB port.
The bottom of the drive houses model information, along with firmware revision. Our drive is using firmware TS00.
Above, we put the SE-218GN through some read tests using a Verbatim DVD+R. The drive did well reading uncached 64K blocks, where it was able to touch 6x read speeds.
Having been using a MacBook Pro as my daily system for the last eight months, there are certainly times when a solution like the Samsung SE-218GN is handy to have. The build quality of the drive is quite good and it's much quieter than my aging 3.5" external solution. The only downfall I did find is the unit didn't want to power up completely when connecting it to front mounted USB ports on my desktop system, of course that easily fixed by plugging into the rear I/O panel of the motherboard.
Over the past few weeks, I have transferred quite a bit of data from my old DVD backups to my NAS using the SE-218GN and I can honestly say this drive has had no issues reading any of those discs, and some are beat up pretty good. A feature I do like is the top placement of the eject button, giving more room for a button and not just a sliver of plastic like most solutions deploy.
Overall, the SE-218GN is a great addition to your arsenal of storage solutions and one you can tuck away anytime it's not in use.
PRICING: You can find the Samsung Electronics Ultra-Slim Optical Drives SE-218GN/RSBD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||95%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||95%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||93%|
The Bottom Line: Samsung's SE-218GN DVD writer/burner has to be one of the best external optical storage solutions to come through the lab. It employs great build quality, performance and ease of use in a simple, sleek package.
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