The 8 Best External DVD Drives For Mac & PC

Best External DVD Drives

DVD drives are becoming harder to find every year. Laptops are becoming thinner and most of them have completely dropped DVD burners. Especially the ultrabooks, where companies are also trying to keep the costs low. But DVD’s are far from dead. In order to still use them, companies have created external optical drives that can be connected to your device via USB. The best external DVD drives are slim and really easy to use. There is almost no difference between a built in and external!

It doesn’t matter if you have a Windows or Mac, the external drives work with every operating system. I recently built my PC and I noticed that even the newer cases don’t have slots for a DVD drive. The world is definitely moving towards cloud storage and USB drives. But plenty of software and even games are still released on discs. Plus downloading from the internet takes up extra space. Or maybe you have a DVD collection you’d still like to be able to watch. The best external DVD drives solve all these problems

For example you can go with our top rated drive, the Dell DW316. I have also put them into a list below that has more in depth information.

1. LG Electronics GP65NB60

LG Electronics is a South Korean electronics company. They are most known for their fantastic TV’s but also home appliances and even mobile phones. They also make smaller electronic devices, such as optical drives. Their GP65NB60 is Amazons best selling external DVD drive! It is also one of the top rated ones and for a good reason.

LG Electronics GP65NB60 Best External DVD Drives

The LG GP65NB60 has an Ultra-Slim design. It has a dimension of 141×14×136.5 mm / 5.6×0.6×5.4″ and weighs only 200 g / 0.4 lbs. The design is super sleek, it’s fully made out of nice tough plastic and you can choose between 4 different colors: black, gold, silver and white. It also has some nice structured edges. The slim design means that you can literally place it anywhere you want. Plus it’s convenient to carry it around as it doesn’t take up any space. It’s basically as thick as a pencil. It also has a button on the front for opening up the external DVD drive. There is also a LED light next to it that indicates if the drive is reading your discs. The back of the drive has a MiniUSB port. The drive comes with a MiniUSB-USB2.0 cable.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 141×14×136.5 mm / 5.6×0.6×5.4″
  • Weight: 200 g / 0.4 lbs
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: SilentPlay, MiniUSB to USB cable
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems, TV

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Another reason why the LG Electronics GP65NB60 is the best external DVD drive, is because of how easy it is to use it. Just plug the drive into your laptop, PC or TV via the USB cable. And can also be used on a TV. So you can use it to watch DVD’s straight from your TV. That’s a feature that not all external DVD drives have. LG has also got a feature called Silent Play technology. It reduces noise during playback by recognizing the media type and adjusting the speed for optimal performance. And even when compared to other external DVD drives, it’s really quiet.

The external drive is also compatible with the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Mac OS X(10.7.5). The drive can also be used to burn discs. It has an up to 8x Writing Speed of DVD’s and 24x of CD’s.

More information: LG GP65NB60 review

2. Samsung SE-218GN

Samsung is another South Korean electronics company that is most known for their mobile phones. They have also got one of the best external DVD drives, which isn’t that surprising as they also make some of the best SSD drives.

Samsung SE-218GN

With the dimension of 147×14×141 mm / 5.8×0.6×5.6″, the Samsung SE-218 is pretty much as slim as an optical drive can be. The drive has a black plastic case, which is made out of good quality materials as it looks pretty good and feels high-end. This is definitely the plus of Samsung products. It is also really well built so it can also handle travelling. Making it also a nice little portable drive.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 147×14×141 mm / 5.8×0.6×5.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 6x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, Nero Express software
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

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The SE-218GN has also got a button on the front which is used to eject the drive tray. It only works when the drive is plugged in with the MiniUSB cable. There is also a tiny manual eject hole which can be used if you left a disc into your drive. You’ll have to use a needle or a paper clip to reach the button inside the hole. The external DVD drive has also got a MiniUSB port on the back which is used for connecting it to your laptop or PC.

The Samsung SE-218GN external DVD drive doesn’t require any setting up. All you have to do is connect it to your PC or Laptop with the MiniUSB-USB2.0 cable that comes with it. You can also use the drive to burn files onto DVD discs. The writing speed of dual-layer DVD’s is up to 6x and for CD’s up to 24x. This is definitely pretty basic and nothing special. You also get a copy of Nero Essentials 10.0 with the drive. It includes the Nero Express burning software, Nero Backup and Nero InCD. Also the drive does work with both Windows and Mac. I have also read that it has worked with some Android tablets as well, but I haven’t been able to test that out myself.

3. Dell DW316

Dell is an American company that is most known for their computers and desktop screens. Especially for their business solutions for both private and public companies. Dell is also one of those companies that has dropped DVD drives from their cheaper end laptops and ultrabooks. So it’s no surprise that they have also released an external DVD drive. Which is also in my opinion one of the best available!

Dell DW316 External DVD drive

The DW316 external DVD drive has a pretty standard Dell design. If you are familiar with Dell laptops then you’ll know what I mean by that. It’s body is fully made out of high quality plastic. It also comes in one color: black. Like most other highly rated external DVD drives, the DW316 has also got an Ultra-Slim design. That makes it possible to take anywhere you want without having to take an extra bag. It has a dimension of 144.7×136.5×14 mm / 5.7×5.4×0.6″. Another thing that I quite like about it’s design is the curved corners. They make the optical drive’s design more interesting and sleek.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 144.7×136.5×14 mm / 5.7×5.4×0.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, CyberLink Media Suit software
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

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The front of the drive has a button for opening the drive tray. There is also a tiny LED light there that indicates if the drive is working. On the back, there is a MiniUSB port for connecting the drive to your device. The drive comes with a MiniUSB-USB2.0 cable.

The Dell DW316 is a plug and play external DVD drive. As in you don’t need to install any external software or go through a crazy setup process to use the drive. Just plug it into your PC or laptop with the USB cable and that’s it. The drive also comes with a pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suit software. It’s pretty useful for burning files onto discs. It has a writing speed of up to 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. So it’s as fast as LG GP65NB60. Both of them are pretty similar and definitely the best external DVD drives. The only difference is the design and the LG is a bit more quiet. So eventually it comes down to taste on which to pick.

More information: Dell DW316 review

4. ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U LITE

ASUS is a Taiwan based company that is extremely well known for their fantastic computer hardware. Especially if you take a look at their GPU’s, which are almost always highly rated. But besides that, they also have plenty of different computer accessories. From displays to gaming keyboards and everything in between.

ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U LITE

The SDRW-08D2S-U LITE is one of their best selling and most popular external DVD drives. What makes it so great is the size. It’s actually one of the smallest external drives that you can buy. It has a dimension of 142×142×20 mm / 5.6×5.6×0.8″ and it weighs only 280 g / 0.62 lbs. Being easily transportable is a huge plus for it.

In addition to that, it doesn’t look bad either. Yes it’s made out of normal plastic but it comes with a diamond texture finish. This gives it a premium look, which I must agree with, does look really nice. Especially when the light shines on it.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 142×142×20 mm / 5.6×5.6×0.8″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, M-DISC
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

This model uses the typical tray loading mechanism. There is an eject button on the front, which makes the tray slide out. The back side has a mini USB port. And yes, the drive does come with a mini USB to USB cable as well.

Also the SDRW-08D2S-U LITE does not require any installation. Simply plug it into your laptops or PCs USB port and it’s good to go. It has a maximum write speed of 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. As you have probably noticed from this article, this is the max you can get from external drives. So yes, in terms of performance, there’s really nothing to talk about. It does absolutely everything it’s supposed to without any issues.

5. ASUS ZenDrive U9M

ASUS actually has quite an impressive line-up of optical drives. Their newest one is the ZenDrive U9M, which is a modern take of external DVD drives! Not only is it one of their best-selling models but it also looks incredibly nice.

ASUS ZenDrive U9M

In my opinion ASUS has found the perfect balance between a modern design and simplicity with the ZenDrive series. Yeah you can say that it’s plain and there’s really nothing going for it, but yet it still looks fantastic. It’s pretty much the epitome of sleek.

The drive has a simple square design with slightly rounded edges. The drive is made out of plastic but they have somehow given it a metallic finish. Which makes it look like it’s actually made out of aluminium. It’s a really nice touch in my opinion.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 142.5×135.5×14 mm / 5.6×5.3×0.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB-A cable, MiniUSB to USB-C cable, M-DISC, CyberLink Power2GO 8 and PowerBackup
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

In terms of technology, the U9M has a simple tray loading mechanism. There’s a typical eject button and an emergency pinhole on the front for opening the drive. The back side has a Mini USB port. However, instead of just getting a typical USB-A to Mini USB cable, you also get a USB-C to Mini USB cable! Which means that you can use this drive if you have a USB-C port as well.

There’s really not much to talk about in terms of performance. It works just the same as any other of the top external DVD drives. It has the standard writing speed of 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. Perhaps the only notable feature is that it supports M-DISC and disc encryption. Plus it also includes two programs: CyberLink Power2GO 8 and PowerBackup.

6. Lenovo DB65

If you have ever owned a Lenovo business grade laptop then you already know how good the brand is. They make amazing laptops with incredible build quality. And this time, they have even created an external DVD drive that looks very similar to their laptops. A fantastic companion if you already have one of their computers and require an optical drive

Lenovo DB65

What I like about Lenovo is that they enjoy pushing boundaries. When I first looked at the Lenovo 4XA0E97775 I thought that it was kind of bulky. But when I looked at the dimensions, I was actually shocked. Not only is it incredibly small but it’s actually the thinnest external DVD drive that you can buy! And it has a tray loading mechanism! This ultra slim size factor is definitely a plus side for most people as you can comfortably bring it with you anywhere you go.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 144×137×14 mm / 5.7×5.4×0.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, Power DVD
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

The overall design is really simple though. It’s made out of black plastic that has a brushed steel finish on the top. It reminds me more of the style they use on their consumer grade laptops. As with all tray drives, it has an eject button on the front and a Mini USB port on the back.

The Lenovo DB65 doesn’t require installing any drivers. It works right out of the box. Simply plug it into any USB port and you are done. The package does also include a program called Power DVD. It can be used to burn files onto the discs. As far as the read/write speed goes, it’s as fast as the rest of the drives I have listed here. The typical write speed of 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. Also you won’t find any fancy modes from it either. It’s a simple portable DVD drive that simply does everything that it’s designed for.

7. Apple USB SuperDrive

Apple was one of the first companies to really incorporate the slot loading mechanism into their devices. While other brands still had tray loading drives on their laptops, Apple already had MacBook Pro’s with the slot drives. Unfortunately that didn’t last that long as companies started making thinner laptops, which didn’t have enough room for optical drives.

Apple USB SuperDrive

That’s why Apple created the USB SuperDrive, an external optical drive for reading and writing both CD’s and DVD’s! It was the first external drive to have their fantastic slot loading mechanism. It’s one of the reasons why it’s still sold till this day!

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 139×139×17 mm / 5.5×5.5×0.7″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: Attached USB cable, Slot disc tray
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

Besides that, it’s also one of the best looking optical drives by far. It’s made out of the exact same grey aluminium as the MacBook Pro. Which is also means that it’s incredibly durable and you don’t need to worry about it breaking apart in a laptop bag. The build quality is just fantastic. If you have the money then the Apple USB SuperDrive is more than worth it.

But that’s really about it. All of the technical specifications match the other DVD drives. It has the same 8x DVD write speed and 24x CD write speed. Don’t expect it to be any faster or better in terms of performance. So whether it’s worth it, comes totally down to your budget and if you like the way it looks.

8. VersionTech SuperDrive

Most external DVD drives are pretty much the same. They have a rectangular design, a MiniUSB port at the back and a disc tray that slides out. VerisonTech has changed that by creating an external DVD drive that looks exactly like the SuperDrive found in Macbook Pro’s. So if you are looking for something unique, then the VerisonTech SuperDrive is definitely the best external DVD drive for you!

VersionTech SuperDrive

The VerisonTech SuperDrive has a pretty cool design. At first I actually thought it was made out of aluminium, until I actually touched it and realized that it was plastic. That’s how good of a job VersionTech has done at keeping the SuperDrive as close to matching a Macbook Pro as possible. It has also got a Slim design, with the dimensions of 182.8×180.3×33 mm / 7.2×7.1×1.3″. There is also a large rubber ring on the bottom the drive, which stops it from sliding around. A pretty nice and useful addition. Unlike most other best external DVD drives, the VersionTech doesn’t have a MiniUSB port on the back. It is simply attached to a USB cable that can’t be removed. Also the front side has a slot instead of a disc stray. There aren’t any eject buttons or LED lights.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 182.8×180.3×33 mm / 7.2×7.1×1.3″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: Attached USB cable, Slot disc tray
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

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The same principle applies to the VersionTech SuperDrive as any other external DVD drive if you want to use it. Just plug the USB cable into your Windows or Mac device. It works with both. The only thing that somewhat annoys me is that you can’t remove the cable. Which means that you are limited to where you wish to use it. With a laptop its simple, but with a PC it can be difficult, depending on where your PC is located.

Next just slide a disc into the slot. You need to push in around 3/4th of the disc until the drive pulls it in. Just like you’d see on an Apple SuperDrive. I do want to note that the noise level depends mostly on the surface you place it on. While burning a disc, the DVD drive kept moving around a wooden table because of how light it is. Once I played a rubber mat underneath it, the drive became pretty quiet. The drive has a write speed of up to 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. Oh and if you wish to get your disc back, then you’ll have to use the eject button on your computer screen.