ASUS ZenDrive U9M Review

ASUS ZenDrive U9M Review

Over the recent years, USB-C has been getting more and more popular. And I doubt that's going to change in 2020. The new port standard simply holds so many different possibilities that the normal USB-A doesn't. But the issue still is availability. And I'm not talking about the availability of the port as basically all new laptops and computers include at least one. I’m talking about the accessories.

I recently ran into a problem with my new laptop. I needed to plug in my external DVD drive but I couldn’t because I didn’t have any USB-A ports anymore. So that’s when I discovered the ASUS ZenDrive U9M! It’s a beautiful and most importantly affordable external DVD drive that comes with both USB-A and USB-C cables! You can read more about my thoughts in the review below.

Technical Specification

  • Dimensions: 143×136×14 mm / 5.6×5.4×0.6″
  • Weight: 245 g / 8.64 oz
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: M-DISC, USB-C and USB-A compatible, SAO
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

In The Box

  • ASUS ZenDrive U9M
  • MiniUSB to USB-A Y cable
  • MiniUSB to USB-C cable
  • ASUS DVD Suite

Design

For me, ASUS has always been the brand that makes the nicest looking computer parts. And it seems that they have taken the same position with their external optical drives as well. The ZenDrive U9M looks exactly what you’d expect from an ASUS device – simple and sleek!

The external drive is basically entirely made out of plastic. Really nothing special about the material. What makes it look nice is the finish. There’s a bit of a texture on the surface and you can also choose between 3 different colors: gold, silver and black. I went with the black version.

ASUS ZenDrive U9M Design

Another plus for the U9M is the portability. It has a dimension of 143×136×14 mm / 5.6×5.4×0.6″! Plus it weighs only 245 g / 8.64 oz. So you can easily bring it with you everywhere you go. Or you can also just keep it on the desk as well. Both ways work. There are rubber pads underneath the drive so it stays in place.

There is only one visible button on the drive and that’s the eject one on the front. Pressing that makes the disc tray slide out. There’s also a small pinhole next to it which is there for „emergencies“. Such as your computer crashes and you need to get the disc out. It opens up the tray without requiring any power.

ASUS ZenDrive U9M Cables

Now before we get to the actual performance, ASUS has added two different cables to the ZenDrive U9M. The first one is a 2x USB 2.0 to Mini USB cable. It’s a Y cable that I’m not a fan of. The reason is that you need to use two USB ports on your computer to run the drive. It basically uses one port for data transfer and the other for power. I don’t get it why they couldn’t just solve it with one connector. That’s why I prefer the USB-C to Mini USB cable. All you need is one port and that’s exactly how it should be.

Performance

In terms of performance, the ASUS ZenDrive U9A works just as well as any other external DVD drive. It has a maximum read and write speed of 8X for DVD’s. For CD’s it’s 24X for both as well. Which is the standard for modern DVD drives.

The main difference is in the features. First of all the U9M supports M-DISC. The M-DISC burning technology saves all of the written data for much longer than any other device. It’s average storage lifetime is rated at over 1000 years, compared to a normal DVD’s 7 years, that’s insanely good. Now I personally have never used M-DISC’s but it doesn’t hurt to have the possibility.

What I do also like is that ASUS has also included a DVD SUITE disc with the drive. It includes a bunch of useful programs. Such as Power2Go 8, PowerBackup 2.5, Nero BackItUp and E-Green. You can use them to get the most out of the drive. Plus, you can also use the Power2Go program to create Blu-Ray discs as well if you ever get a Blu-Ray drive in the future. So they are definitely good to have.

And yes, the U9M is compatible with both Windows and Mac OSX operating systems. Plus it doesn’t require downloading any extra drivers. Just plug it in and the drive is ready to go.

Conclusion

Overall the ASUS ZenDrive U9M is a solid external DVD drive that works just like you’d expect it to. What makes it special is the USB-C connection. There’s only a handful of USB-C DVD drives available at the moment. And that’s definitely the one thing that sets this model apart from the others. So if that’s why you are looking for an optical drive, then I can definitely recommend the ZenDrive U9M!