Pioneer BDR-XS07S Review

Pioneer BDR-XS07S Review

Most of the optical drives that are sold online look pretty much the same. Like sure there are differences in design but generally they just have the same idea. You get a rectangular plastic device that has the disc tray slide out. Well apparently Pioneer has chosen to stand out. I recently wrote a review about one of their drives that had the cover lift up, like on a CD/DVD player. Well this time I’m going to review the Pioneer BDR-XS07S, a portable Blu-ray drive that has a slot style disc input. The exact same solution that can be found on the Apple SuperDrive!

Technical Specification

  • Dimensions: 135×135×18 mm / 5.3×5.3×0.7″
  • Weight: 280 g / 9.88 oz
  • Loading type: Slot
  • Blu-Ray Writing Speed: Up to 6x BD-R
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD-R
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-R
  • Features: M-DISC, BDXL, PowerRead, Auto Quiet mode
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

In The Box

  • Pioneer BDR-XS07S
  • USB-C to USB-A 3.0 cable
  • Manual

Design

At this point, I can say that Pioneer is really good at making aesthetic looking optical drives. And the BDR-XS07S is a clear example of that in my opinion. Once you take it out from the box, the first thing you’ll notice is the silver aluminium looking drive. And when you pick it up, you’ll feel the weight of it too (280 g / 0.62 lbs). Well surprise, it’s not actually made out of aluminium but a type of premium plastic that has this insanely realistic aluminium finish. It’s really well done and looks perfect next to a Mac.

The overall size though is surprisingly small (135×135×18 mm / 5.3×5.3×0.7″). Like it’s actually smaller than most of the best drives for DVDs. Not to mention the Blu-ray drives. I’m guessing that slot design requires less overall size than the tray solution. And since it doesn’t have a disc tray slide out, then you also don’t need as much space around the front. Obviously enough to be able to insert the disc.

Pioneer BDR-XS07S Design

Build quality wise, the BDR-XS07S is a premium device. And I don’t mean that just because of the aluminium look or the quality of the plastic. Like the drive it self is solid all around. Starting from the long rubber stripes at the bottom that keep it from sliding across the desk. And they have even added a USB-C port at the back as well! It’s definitely a step forward from the Micro USB Type B port that they used on the earlier versions. Kudos to Pioneer for doing that. Oh yeah and the back side also has an optional DC power input next to the USB-C port. The power cable isn’t included.

Performance

So although the drive has a USB-C port, you still need to have a USB-A port on your computer. That’s because Pioneer has included a USB-C to USB-A cable (length 35 cm / 1.1 ft) with the BDR-XS07S. I’m not sure if it will work with any other USB-C to USB-C cable as I haven’t tried but I don’t see why not. The USB-A type port is enough to both power and work the drive as long as it’s USB 3.0. So make sure that you have a spare one. And yes, it’s a single connector drive so you only need to have one available port on your computer!

The setup process is incredibly easy. Just connect both ends of the USB cable and you are ready to go. It works straight out of the box without having to install and drivers or programs. And it’s compatible with Windows and Mac computers. That said, if you do have the latest Mac OS Catalina then you may need to update the firmware. It’s available on the Pioneer website. Now if you want to watch or burn Blu-rays though then you might need programs for that. Mac has that support natively built in so you don’t need anything. But on Windows you can use VLC and configure it to watch Blu-ray movies. Unfortunately, Pioneer hasn’t included any programs with the drive.

Pioneer is known for their so called Auto Quiet mode that lowers the read speed of the disc when you play music or watch a movie for example. That’s because you don’t need the maximum read speed of 6x for Blu-rays or 8x for DVD’s to consume that type of media. And since the speed is lower, the drive will also be less noisy. Now the write speeds are exactly the same and the drive does get pretty loud when you burn at full speed. In terms of overall speed, it’s standard for this size of external Blu-ray drives. If you want faster write speeds then generally you need to look at bigger devices that use an external power source. And also if you want to get the promised 6x speed from this drive, then you have to use a USB 3.0 port on your computer. It’s not achievable through a USB 2.0 port.

Conclusion

The Pioneer BDR-XS07S is possibly the smallest Blu-ray drive that I have reviewed. Not the thinnest but definitely the smallest in terms of footprint. It differs from the rest of the drives with the slot loading mechanism. If you have owned or used a SuperDrive before then you know how nice it is. Just insert the disc and the drive smoothly pulls it in. Like the process it self feels premium compared to a normal drive. This obviously comes at a cost, which is the price. So if you don’t mind paying more and want a Blu-ray drive that fits the design of a Mac, then this is the one to check out!