Best External Blu-Ray Drives For Mac & Windows

Blu-Ray is the next generation optical disc that was created due to increasing need for something better than DVD. They have much more space and they can even be used to view 4K movies. That is something that is impossible with DVD’s. But they also require compatible optical drives. Ever since Apple first started removing drives from their laptops, other companies have started doing the same as well. That has left a void for those who still want to use write and view discs. Thankfully that void that void has been filled by external drives. They are small, portable and easy to use. All they require is a USB 3.0 port. And to make your life even easier, I have put together a list of the best external Blu-Ray drives.

Model: Amazon Rating: Blu-Ray Write Speed: Power Source: Compatibility: Price:
Pioneer BDR-XD05S 4.1/5 6x BD-R (SL/DL) USB 3.0 Windows and Mac operating systems Check Amazon
LG BE16NU50 4.5/5 12x BD-R (SL) USB 3.0 and AC power cable Windows and Mac operating systems Check Amazon
Pioneer BDR-XS06 3.9/5 6x BD-R (SL/DL) USB 3.0 Windows and Mac operating systems Check Amazon
MthsTec 3.7/5 None, only reading USB 3.0 and AC power cable Windows and Mac operating systems Check Amazon
ASUS BW-16D1X-U 3.4/5 12x BD-R (SL) USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 Windows and Mac operating systems Check Amazon

1. Pioneer BDR-XD05S

Pioneer is a name that is mostly associated with speakers and audio products. Despite the increase in streaming, optical discs are still a huge part of the both the music and movie industry. So it makes sense that Pioneer has also created external drives for Blu-Ray discs. Their BDR-XD05S is in my opinion the best drive available. It does everything well and has a good price. Everything is balanced and that’s what makes it the best external Blu-Ray drive.

Pioneer BDR-XD05S best external Blu-Ray drives

The Pioneer BDR-XD05S has a pretty simple optical drive design. It has a dimension of 133×14.8×133 mm / 5.2×0.55×5.2″ and it’s fully made out of decent quality plastic. Definitely nothing fancy about it. You can also choose between 2 colors: black and silver. For some reason the silver version is currently cheaper on Amazon. Unlike most other external drives, the Pioneer BDR-XD05S doesn’t have an optical tray that slides out. Instead with a push of a button, the cover opens up and you can place your Blu-Ray disc right onto the drive.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 133×14.8×133 mm / 5.2×0.55×5.2″
  • Weight: 230 g / 0.5 lbs
  • Blu-Ray Writing Speed: Up to 6x BD-R (SL/DL)
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW (SL)
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: Auto Quiet mode, PowerRead, USB3.0
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Power Source: USB 3.0

And that’s pretty much all the information required to know how to use it. You do of course also need to plug it to your laptop or PC. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows devices. Connecting is simple as well, just make sure you have a USB 3.0 port as the drive requires it to be connected to it. USB 2.0 is too slow for the drive. The best part about the Pioneer BDR-XD05S is that it is capable of both reading and writing Blu-Ray, DVD and CD discs. So it’s pretty much an all in one external drive. The writing speed is up to 6x for Blu-Ray discs, 8x for DVD and 24x for CD’s.

Pioneer has also included some extra features. For example the Auto Quiet mode which adjusts the disc rotation speed based on the noise generated. It makes sure that the drive is as silent as possible. There is also PowerRead which somehow ignores any fingerprints or minor scratches on a disc and creates smoother playback. According to Pioneer, the BDR-XD05S is the best external Blu-Ray drive for the Mac operating system. And I have to agree with them, you can use Finder to both read and write all Blu-Ray, DVD and CD discs. The only time you need a separate software is if you are planning to watch a Blu-Ray movie.

The Pioneer can do everything well and that’s why it is the best external Blu-Ray drive in my opinion.

2. LG BE16NU50

LG is another famous brand that is mostly known for TV’s and screens. They also have decades of experience with optical drives. I remember seeing LG CD drives back when they first came out. They have now also built one of the best external Blu-Ray drives available. The BE16NU50 is also the fastest and most expensive option. So if money isn’t an issue and you are looking for the very best, then the LG BE16NU50 is what you are looking for.

LG BE16NU50

The LG BE16NU50 is meant to be a stationary drive. Despite being external, it’s not exactly portable because of it’s size and weight. It has a dimension of 160×50×222 mm / 6.3×2.0×8.7″ and weighs 1000 g / 2.3 lbs. That’s really have for an external drive. There is also a reason for that. The entire drive is made out of aluminium and has a really nice silver finish. The front part even has some texture which makes it nicer. The front also has a button that makes the optical tray slide out. There is also a LED indicator which lets you know when the drive is working.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 160×50×222 mm / 6.3×2.0×8.7″
  • Weight: 1000 g / 2.3 lbs
  • Blu-Ray Writing Speed: Up to 12x BD-R (SL)
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 16x DVD+RW (SL)
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: SilentPlay, Software bundle, M-DISC, USB3.0
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Power Source: USB 3.0 and AC power cable

If you are looking for the fastest and most powerful external Blu-Ray drive, then LG BE16NU50 is the one for you. It has a write speed of up to 12x for BD-R type Blu-Ray discs with single layer writing. Up to 8x with double layer writing. That is seriously fast and no other available drive can match that. It can also both read and write DVD and CD discs. It can write up to 16x single layer DVD’s and 8x double layer.

The speed does come with a cost. Besides a USB 3.0 connection, it also requires a second power source. The drive comes with a USB 3.0 cable and a AC power cable. Also despite having SilentPlay feature, the drive does get pretty noisy still while writing. It’s nothing too bad but I felt like I should still mention it. The drive is compatible with Mac and Windows devices. You can also use the drive to burn 3D movies onto the Blu-Ray discs. There is a software bundle included with the drive which has the Power BD-DVD 3D to help you with that. It also includes programs such as Power2Go, PowerProducer and MediaEspresso.

3. Pioneer BDR-XS06

Not all optical drives have to look the same. Pioneer has also released the BDR-XS06 which has a slot system. The unique designs and quality are the reason why Pioneer has two best external Blu-Ray drives.

Pioneer BDR-XS06

The BDR-XS06 is the new portable external Blu-Ray drive from Pioneer. It features a completely new slim design. It reminds me of the Apple Superdrive and it most definitely looks amazing next to Macbook Pro’s and iMacs. The slim design and weight make it easy to bring the drive anywhere you want. It has a dimension of 135×20.3×135 mm / 5.3×0.7×5.3″ and weighs 280 g / 0.6 lbs. What I really like about the drive is the silver aluminium like finish. It looks exactly like the body on a Macbook Pro. The body is still made out of plastic though but they definitely fooled me at first.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 135×20.3×135 mm / 5.3×0.7×5.3″
  • Weight: 280 g / 0.6
  • Blu-Ray Writing Speed: Up to 6x BD-R (SL/DL)
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW (SL)
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: Auto Quiet, PowerRead, Slot tray, USB3.0
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Power Source: USB 3.0

The Superdrive design also means that instead of an optical tray sliding out, the drive has a slot. All you have to do is push your disc into the slot and the drive will place it onto the tray itself. If you want to get your disc back, you either need to eject from your computer or push the button on the front. It’s a pretty smooth solution and definitely adds style points for the drive.

Pioneer BDR-XS06 can both read and write Blu-Ray, DVD and CD discs. All you need to do is connect it to a Windows or Mac laptop/PC via a USB 3.0 cable that’s included with the drive. Make sure that your device has a free USB 3.0 port. USB 2.0 won’t work for Blu-Ray as it’s too slow. The best part is that it doesn’t require any software to burn files onto the disc. If you are planning to watch a Blu-Ray movie though, then you’ll need a program for that.

The drive also has some features which make it more user friendly. Pioneer has included the Auto Quiet mode which adjusts the speed of the disc based on what you are currently doing. For example it runs faster during data transfer and lower while playing music or watching a movie. There is also PowerRead which ignores surface scratches and fingerprints to provide a smoother playback. The write speeds are also decent. The drive can write Blu-Ray drives at a speed up to 6x for BD-R, 8x for DVD and 24x for CD.

Design and usability wise, the Pioneer BDR-XS06 is definitely one of the best external Blu-Ray drives for Apple devices.

4. MthsTec

The best external Blu-Ray drives don’t have to be expensive. While they do cost more than DVD drives, there also some budget friendly options. Such as MthsTec, which is definitely the best bang for buck Blu-Ray player available.

MthsTec

Out all the best external Blu-Ray drives in this list, the MthsTec has definitely got the simplest design. It’s fully made out of plastic and has a black and silver finish. It has a dimension of 150×20.3×145 mm / 5.9×0.7×5.7″ and weighs 340 g / 0.75 lbs. So it’s a pretty portable drive that you can take anywhere. It’s also more like other external DVD drives. It has an optical tray that slides out when you push the button on the front. There is also a LED indicator which lights up when the drives working.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 150×20.3×145 mm / 5.9×0.7×5.7″
  • Weight: 340 g / 0.75 lbs
  • Blu-Ray Writing Speed: None, only reads
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW (SL)
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Power Source: USB 3.0 and AC power cable

Using the MthsTec is a bit more complicated than the other external drives on my list. It uses two USB ports to function. One for transferring data and the other for powering the drive. It comes with two cables USB 3.0 – MiniUSB and USB 2.0 – DC 3.5mm. The USB 3.0 cable is used for transferring data, it’s a must if you are planning to use Blu-Ray. The DC 3.5mm to USB 2.0 is solely for powering the drive. So essentially you need to have at least two free USB ports, one being the 3.0 version. So it does make things more complicated.

Another thing is that the MthsTec can only read Blu-Ray discs so forget burning anything onto them. It can only write to DVD’s and CD’s. So definitely a more basic solution. The drive does work with both Mac and Windows devices. You only need to get a compatible movie player if you are going to watch Blu-Ray format movies. There’s plenty of free ones available so that’s not an issue.

Honestly the only reason I added the MthsTec to the list of the best external Blu-Ray drives was because of the price and it works. It really is the best budget option but I would personally spend a bit more and get something better. For example the Pioneer BDR-XD05S isn’t that much more expensive and you get so much more for the price. Plus the Pioneer only uses one cable, which means not having to use two USB ports.

5. ASUS BW-16D1X-U

ASUS is a very well known computer company. They make everything from GPU’s to motherboards and tablets. They have also created one of the most unique looking external Blu-Ray drives. The unique design and placement of the drive caught my eye immediately.

ASUS BW-16D1X-U

ASUS does everything well and so is the case with their best external Blu-Ray drive. While it’s not exactly portable due to its dimensions (243×63×165 mm / 9.6×2.5×6.5″) and weight (1160 g / 2.55 lbs) , the drive still looks fantastic. It’s body is made out of black plastic. Parts of the body actually have this glossy piano black and the other parts matte black. It’s a pretty stylish color combination. It has a more modern gaming type of look that definitely looks amazing next to a gaming PC. The back of the drive has a power connector, port for a USB cable and an ON/OFF slider.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 243×63×165 mm / 9.6×2.5×6.5″
  • Weight: 1160 g / 2.55 lbs
  • Blu-Ray Writing Speed: Up to 12x BD-R (SL)
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW (SL)
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: CyberLink Power2Go 8, CyberLink PowerBackup 2.5, USB3.0
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Power Source: USB 3.0 and USB 2.0

The sharp corner on top of the charger also has a light. It turns blue when you turn on the drive. There is also a slight hidden eject button added into the case. It’s placed on the front of the driver, right next to the compartment with the ASUS logo. When you press it, the compartment door opens and an optical tray slides out. Once you place the disc onto the tray, all you have to do is give the tray a slight tap and it will slide back in. Oh and all of that is dead silent and smooth.

So yeah in order to use the ASUS BW-16D1X-U, you need to have a free USB 3.0 port. It comes with two cables: USB 3.0 and an AC power adapter. The drive is quite big so it requires extra power. Plus it’s pretty powerful. It has a writing speed of up to 12x for Blu-Ray BD-R single layer. It can also write DVD’s (16x DVD+R) and CD’s (24x CR-RW). So overall it’s pretty much as fast as the LG BE16NU50 drive.

The ASUS external drive is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems. It also comes with CyberLink Power2Go 8 and CyberLink PowerBackup 2.5 software for burning files to discs. You don’t have to use any of the software though. It’s pretty much a plug and play device which doesn’t require any installing. Another great thing about is that it’s surprisingly silent. I could barely hear anything while writing data onto the discs. So that definitely get’s a thumbs up from me. Overall, the ASUS BW-16D1X-U is one of the best external Blu-Ray drives for home use.

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