Samsung External DVD Writer (SE-S084D) Review

by Jerry Jackson Reads (57,769)

Samsung recently launched its newest external DVD drive for notebook and netbook users. The “super slim” Samsung SE-S084D promises to be the perfect travel companion for ultraportable laptops without optical drives. Available in multiple colors with chrome accents, is this latest accessory worth $69.99? Keep reading to find out.

The Samsung external SE-S084D DVD Writer is one of the lightest and thinnest optical drives on the market today. Available in seven colors, Samsung raves that this drive was the 2010 winner of a iF Product Design Award. That said, the design of the SE-S084D is clean and simple. This accessory is basically just a plain colored plastic shell that surrounds the laptop-sized DVD drive. The only superfluous design elements are the giant “SAMSUNG” logo printed on the top of the drive and the thin strip of chrome that embellishes the front.

When we previously reviewed the previous generation of this DVD writer, the Samsung SE-S084, we said the boxy shape wasn’t particularly attractive and that we would have been more impressed with the design if Samsung moved to a more rounded look. Well, Samsung designers must have read our comments (or user reviews published on various retail websites) because the new SE-S084D certainly isn’t boxy looking.

With a compact size (20 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than conventional mobile DVD writers), this drive gives netbook users the option to watch movies or record data onto CDs and DVDs while traveling. The weight of the external drive can make a difference, as some of the ultraportable notebooks on the market are only light weight because of the lack of an optical drive. The new Samsung drive is smaller from front to back than the HP LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD +/- R/RW drive (model 580684-001) and weighs almost 40 percent less than that external drive.

Samsung se-so84d Samsung se-s084d

In Use
The SE-S084D DVD writer is compatible with Windows 7 and Mac OS and features “Buffer Under Run” technology to prevent errors that result from writing speeds that exceed data transfer speeds, while also enabling PC multi-tasking.

The SE-S084D writes DVD +/-R at 8x speed, DVD +R Double Layer at 8x, DVD +RW at 8x, DVD-RW at 6x and DVD-RAM at 5x.  It can also burn CD-R/RW. In real world use, this means the new Samsung provides roughly equivalent performance to the previous model.

We tested the drive with the native Windows 7 file burner to test various operating conditions. In our testing, we used an Alienware M11x (R1) with Intel SU4100 processor as primary test notebook and the 10″ Sony VAIO W as our netbook candidate. Each test consisted of burning files to the drive, with a single USB connection while the computer operated on battery power. In each test case the files burned in approximately the same time, and we never ran into problems using just a single USB connection. Each DVD image was 2.32GB, and it took just over three minutes from start to finish to burn each disc.

The only other potential issue you may face when using this external optical drive is the need for a second USB port. Samsung provides a “Y” cable with two USB connectors (one for data and one for power) if your netbook doesn’t provide enough power over a single USB port. We tested the drive with thee Intel Atom-based netbooks and four notebooks in our lab and all of them were able to power the drive with a single USB port. Still, it’s nice to have the option if your older laptop needs it.

Conclusion
The Samsung SE-S084D is an attractive portable USB DVD-burner that works well with notebooks and netbooks alike. The new design makes this burner look as fresh as other USB optical drives on the market, and it does its job as intended. While Samsung does warn that some computers may not supply enough power to operate the drive using a single USB connector, we found the drive to work just fine on notebooks and netbooks around the office. The $70 price tag is a little high considering the price of other options on the market, but street prices will likely come down in the months ahead.

If you have an ultraportable laptop and don’t already have an external optical drive then the new Samsung SE-S084D is a smart accessory to add to your bag.

Pros:

  • No drivers needed on most notebooks and netbooks
  • Small and lightweight design
  • Available in multiple colors

Cons:

  • Feels a little fragile


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