ASUS SDRW-08U5S-U Review

ASUS SDRW-08U5S-U Review

There aren’t many optical drives that known brands have released over the past couple of years. Mostly because there hasn’t been any progress in the tech so they can still sell their old drives. And that’s not a bad thing as generally it means that there are a lot of reviews out there, so that you always know what to get. Surprisingly though, I haven’t managed to find many reviews about the ASUS SDRW-08U5S-U DVD drive. So, I decided to write my own.

Technical Specification

  • Dimensions: 140×136×13 mm / 5.5×5.4×0.5″
  • Weight: 265 g / 0.58 lbs
  • Loading type: Tray
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD-R
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-R
  • Features: M-DISC, Verical placement
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

In The Box

  • ASUS SDRW-08U5S-U
  • MiniUSB to USB-A Y cable
  • Software bundle

Design

When I first took a look at the SDRW-08U5S-U, I thought ASUS had made some kind of a mistake. Either thar or it was the long series model number of either the ZenDrive U9M or U7M DVD drives. And that’s because it looks exactly like it. Well apart from the fact that there’s no black version, such silver and rose. But once I started looking closer, I noticed that there are actually some actual differences that do make the SDRW-08U5S-U a pretty unique external DVD drive.

But first the design. So the ASUS SDRW-08U5S-U is advertised as an ultra-thin drive and perfect for ultra-books! And not only that, they have even added that it’s the world’s thinnest 8x DVD writer. Well I definitely wouldn’t go that far. Maybe that was the case when it was first released in 2013, but that’s definitely not the case anymore. That said, it’s still not thicker than the newest drives either as the hardware has been made as small as possible. So even though the drive it self is 7 years old, the tech behind it hasn’t changed at all. Which is why you’ll notice that the overall dimensions (140×136×13 mm / 5.5×5.4×0.5″) are close to what the other best external DVD drives have.

ASUS SDRW-08U5S-U Design

The entire case of the drive is made out of really nice plastic. It’s actually strong and decently thick, as in the drive doesn’t bend what so ever. Which in my opinion is important for these slide out disc tray type of drives. I also really like the top side, which has this type of circular textured surface. It’s also the side that has the silver or rose color, depending on which type you get. And if you have seen the ZenDrive U9M before, then you’ll know why I thought they were the same.

Now what’s actually difference is the bottom and the side area. So usually the bottom area has 4 rubber pads and the sides are completely smooth. Well this drive also has them on the bottom but in addition to that, it also has 2 pads on one of the side. That’s because this drive can also be used vertically! Which to be honest, is a very unique design feature. And in order to achieve that, ASUS has also added a plastic leg that blends into the case that you can just flip out. I haven’t seen this on any other drive before.

Performance

In order to use the SDRW-08U5S-U, you need to plug it into your computer with the included cable. Unfortunately, you get one of the Y cables, as in it has a MiniUSB connector on one end and 2 USB-A connectors at the other. So, you do need to have 2 available USB ports right next to each other on your computer. And since the cables pretty short, then you need to have enough space around it as well.

Once that’s done, the drive will start immediately and you can make the tray slide out by pushing the eject button at the front. You don’t need to install any programs or drivers to use it as your computer will recognize it immediately. ASUS has included a bunch of programs though, such as the CyberLink Power2Go 8, PowerBackup 2.6, Nero BackItUp and E-Green. You don’t actually need any of those to use the drive. So it’s up to you whether you install them or not. They are also only compatible with Windows. The drive it self can be used with all operating systems though. And yes that includes Windows, Mac, Linux and of course Chromebook.

In terms of read/write speed, the SDRW-08U5S-U doesn’t have any advantages or disadvantages. As in it performs just as well and just as fast as any of the other optical DVD drives that are currently sold. You’ll notice the exact same speed ratings on all of its competitors. The standard 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. Like I said before, the optical drive tech hasn’t received any upgrades in decades so this is currently the fastest speed there is.

Conclusion

Despite being outdated, the ASUS SDRW-08U5S-U is an actually interesting external DVD drive. Not only does it look very good but I also like the idea of having the ability to place it vertically. Does that mean that I would buy it over the ZenDrive U9M for example? Most probably not. And that’s because the U9M looks exactly the same and it comes with a USB-C cable. Which I prefer over a Y cable any day. Not to mention that it’s harder to find the SDRW-08U5S-U as well. Regardless though, it’s a good drive to have.