ASUS ZenDrive U7M Review
ASUS is one of the most common brands I have recently reviewed. They have so many different optical drives that it seems like it will take a while before I get to try all of them. So today I have picked up the ASUS ZenDrive U7M, which is their most basic external DVD drive. It features a beautiful and compact design, which is paired up with the latest M-DISC burning technology. And that’s great but they also have the U9M version. So is it actually worth buying it? That’s what we are going to find out!
- Dimensions: 143×136×14 mm / 5.6×5.4×0.6″
- Weight: 228 g / 8.04 oz
- DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
- CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
- Features: M-DISC, SAO
- Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems
In The Box
- ASUS ZenDrive U7M
- MiniUSB to USB-A Y cable
- 2x M-DISC 4.7 GB DVDs
- ASUS DVD Suite
I have always praised ASUS for their beautiful design and the ZenDrive series is the proof of that. The drive is made out really nice quality plastic and covered with a circular texture. It adds a really nice touch to the surface and even makes it look sort of matte. Plus the silver ASUS logo in the center adds the final touch as well.
The overall size of the DVD drive is 143×136×14 mm / 5.6×5.4×0.6″. As you can see it’s incredibly thin and that makes it easily transportable. Plus it weighs only 228 g / 8.04 oz as well. So you can either keep it in your laptop bag or have it on a desk. Both options work.
What you do need is some free space in front of it. It has a front loading tray that slides out when you push the eject button. There is also a tiny pinhole next to it that you can use to open up the tray without having to connect it to a power source. It comes really handy if you happen to forget a disc inside.
The ZenDrive U7M does come with a bunch of extras. First the package includes a somewhat short MiniUSB to USB-A Y cable. The Y cable requires you to have two open USB ports on your computer. One of the connector is used to deliver power and the other is for transferring data. You also get two 4.7 GB M-DISC DVDs. Their lifetime is much higher than a standard disc so you can save your favorite photos for even a 1000 years!
In addition to that, you also receive a disc with a bunch of programs. The software bundle includes CyberLink Power2Go 8, CyberLink PowerBackup 2.5, Nero BackItUp and E-Green. None of these programs are necessary but they can definitely be handy.
The ASUS ZenDrive U7M is an incredibly straightforward device. You take the drive, attach the cable, connect it to your computer and you are good to go. You don’t need to install any drivers or programs. Not even the software bundle that’s included in the package. Your computer will recognize it immediately. And it supports both Mac and Windows operating systems.
Once the drive is ready, you can insert your optical disc and close the tray. The green LED light should start blinking immediately and the drive should show up on the computer. You will also notice some buzzing sound coming from the drive as well. I’d say that it’s more silent than most other drives. But you can still hear it, especially when you are using it on full speed.
In terms of speed, the U7M has a maximum read and write speed of 8x for DVDs and 24x for CDs. It’s just as fast any of the other drives I have reviewed. Well the ones designed for DVDs at least. The technology has pretty much been capped. If you want something even faster, then you’ll need to take a look at Blu-ray drives instead. But they are also 3x more expensive. So there’s that.
The only thing that I dislike is the Y cable. In my opinion, ASUS should had just switched it for a USB 3.0 standard and used a single connector. Especially since most computers nowadays only have USB 3.0 ports.
U7M And U9M Differences
The only difference between the U7M and U9M, in terms of design, is that the U7M is only available in two colors: black and silver. The U9M version has also got a gold version as well. So it comes down to personal preference here. Everything else is the same though.
In terms of performance, it’s exactly the same. There is a second difference with the connector. The U9M drive is also compatible with the USB-C standard and the package includes a cable for that as well.
Overall the U7M is in a tough position. The ASUS ZenDrive U9M basically cost just as much, has an extra color option, a faster access time for CDs and extra compatibility with USB-C. And the support for USB-C also makes it more future proof. So overall the U9M is a much better choice in my opinion.