ASUS SBW-06D5H-U Review
Up until now, all of the ASUS optical drives which I have reviewed, have been strictly for DVD’s and CD’s. Well that’s about to change as they have released their very first slim external Blu-ray drive! And like all of their devices, it has just a random codename. Well at least I think it’s random. It’s called the ASUS SBW-06D5H-U! Which as I just mentioned is their very first small sized Blu-ray drive. And that definitely makes their optical drive line more interesting as well. So let’s get started with the review.
- Dimensions: 149×144×15 mm / 5.9×5.7×0.6″
- Weight: 265 g / 0.58 lbs
- Loading type: Tray
- Blu-Ray Writing Speed: Up to 6x BD-R
- DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD-R
- CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-R
- Features: M-DISC
- Compatibility: Windows, Mac and Linux OS
In The Box
- ASUS SBW-06D5H-U
- MicroUSB Type B to USB-A Y cable
- MicroUSB Type B to USB-C cable
- CyberLink software
ASUS does also have another Blu-ray drive which I reviewed over a year ago. But the reason I hyped up the SBW-06D5H-U so much is because I would consider it their first truly portable one. Sure the BW-16D1X-U is also an external drive but it’s also huge. At least 4 times the size of the SBW-06D5H-U. I mean the dimensions alone speak volume (149×144×15 mm / 5.9×5.7×0.6″ vs 243×165×64 mm / 9.6×6.5×2.5″). And thank to that, it also weighs much less (265 g / 0.58 lbs vs 1.16 kg / 2.56 lb). Which as I mentioned at the beginning, makes this their only slim and portable drive for Blu-ray discs!
Compared to its competitors however, it’s nothing impressive. Brands like Pioneer and LG all have their own drives as well that are just as small. What makes the ASUS model stand out is the overall design of it. And surprisingly enough the design does add uniqueness to it. While most drives have a really simple square shape with sharp edges, the SBW-06D5H-U is smooth and curved. It creates this really sleek and modern looking feel to it. I haven’t seen any other ASUS drive have anything similar to it.
Even the front panel of the disc tray is so well made that it took me some time to understand where it actually is. It blends right in with the overall design and they have even made it go around the corner so that it would fit better. That’s dedication. Most brands just have a rectangular panel that slides out. Nothing special. The only reason I was able to realize where the tray on the ASUS drive is, was by the eject button. Which is just a round button that stands out from the concaved panel. There’s an emergency eject pinhole right next to it as well.
Most burners also have a small LED indicator light there that shows when the drives working. Well the SBW-06D5H-U on the other hand has a hole right through the back right corner and inside there is a circular blue LED light. It works well with the glossy black surface. Which does have a downside too. The surface is a complete fingerprint magnet. Anytime you touch it you’ll want to immediately wipe it clean. That’s unfortunately the downside of these sleek glossy drives.
I’ll praise any type of device that comes with a USB-C cable. Until that becomes the standard at least. There are so many optical drives that still don’t include it. And in the worst case scenario, they just include a Y cable, which is my least favorite one. Well with the ASUS SBW-06D5H-U you get both the good and bad. ASUS has included two cables. One USB-C to MicroUSB Type B and USB-A Y to MicroUSB Type B. And since I have a USB-C port on my computer, then that’s what I’ll always be using. A Y cable requires two open ports and I find that to be such a waste. What I’m not a fan of is the MicroUSB Type B connector, which attaches directly to the drive. I have had a Samsung drive before that had the same type of connector and I wasn’t happy with it as it always felt a bit loose. I haven’t had that problem here yet but it’s just something I always keep in mind.
Compatibility wise, the drive is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. ASUS doesn’t specifically mention anything about Linux but other people have tried it with Ubuntu and it worked without any problems. So I added that in there as well. And for burning discs you won’t need to download any programs either. ASUS has included the CyberLink Power2Go 8 and Nero BackItUp but you don’t really need to use those. They are also compatible with only the Windows OS. If you want to watch some Blu-ray media however, then you do need a compatible program as unfortunately Windows does not have a built-in player for Blu-rays. You can use VLC for example, which is completely free to download and use.
In terms of writing your own discs, the SBW-06D5H-U is just as fast as every other portable Blu-ray drive. It’s capable of writing BD-R discs at up to 6x and DVD-R discs at up to 8x. CD-R discs maximum speed is the standard 24x. So there’s really nothing special about the speed. Also the only feature that it pretty much has it that it supports M-DISC as well. Just like again most of its competitors. It’s basically the same as a DVD, just that it has a much longer lifetime, 1000 years apparently. I have never used an M-DISC and I don’t play to either so it’s a pretty useless feature for me. Overall I have nothing to complain about in terms of the performance. It works just as you would expect it to.
If you are bored of the typical external drive design then the ASUS SBW-06D5H-U is the drive for you. Its design is the only thing that makes it unique and stand out from the other drives. I also really like that they have included a USB-C cable as well. Unfortunately most brands still don’t do that for some reason. Performance wise it works just as well as its competitors. There’s no difference in that area. So the only reason to pick this Blu-ray drive is its sleek and modern design.