We purchased the The 4 Best External Desktop Blu-ray Drives so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full products reviews.
Because computers with built-in optical drives are becoming increasingly rare, external disc drives have become the preferred method of reading, writing, and playing back disc media. These Blu-ray drives aren’t the same as Blu-ray players; in addition to playing Blu-ray movies on your computer, they can also write and read data stored on Blu-ray discs.
This physical media can be used to securely store computer backups or to free up space on your hard drive by offloading photo libraries and old files. Many of these drives also support archival-quality disc formats, which you can use to save important data.
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Best Overall: OWC Mercury Pro 16X Blu-ray, 16X DVD, 48X CD Read/Write solution
Based on sheer speed, the OWC Mercury Pro (Check latest price on Amazon) is our favorite external Blu-ray Drives. Its read speeds were more than twice as fast as the majority of the drives, which is a significant improvement in performance. He put the 16x write speeds to the test, and the results were equally impressive: a 13GB image library burned onto a Blu-ray disc in under 20 minutes from start to finish.
The Mercury Pro is the best Blu-ray player we’ve tried if you want to read or burn a lot of Blu-rays. However, James cautioned that it is not a substitute for a dedicated Blu-ray player. While videos look great on the connected laptop, the quality is lost when the laptop is connected to a television.
This is a somewhat bulky device that is too heavy to truly be portable, measuring 8.6 x 6.6 x 2.3 inches and weighing almost 4 pounds. The aluminum construction is attractive and durable, but it’s best left at home.
Blu-Ray Write Speed: 16x | Blu-Ray Read Speed: 12x | 4K UHD Support: No | Compatibility: Mac, Windows
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Best for Backups: ASUS BW-16D1X-U Blu-ray Drives
The ASUS BW-16D1X-U (Check latest price on Amazon) is a Blu-ray player that can read and write discs (as well as DVD and CD formats). The 16x write speeds and included backup software, however, are its main selling points. Asus includes access to the NeroBackup online program, which allows you to back up data from your Android device to Blu-ray disc.
It also comes with CyberLink Power2Go 8 software, which simplifies the process of burning data to discs and offers data encryption as an option to protect your files and personal information. This software does not appear to work on Macs, according to our reviewer James.
Both M-Disc and BDXL disc formats are supported by the BW-16D1X-U. M-Disc is a proprietary archival disc format with a 1,000-year data retention guarantee. BDXL (Blu-ray Disc Extra Large) is a type of Blu-ray disc that can store more than five times the data of a regular Blu-ray disc, making it an efficient storage format for large files. As a data backup solution, this Blu-ray drive can support these archival and high-capacity formats.
Blu-Ray Write Speed: 16x | Blu-Ray Read Speed: Not listed | 4K UHD Support: No | Compatibility: Mac, Windows
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Most Portable: Pioneer BDR-XD05B Blu-ray Burner
The Pioneer BDR-XD05B Blu-Ray Burner (Check latest price on Amazon) is a small, light device that’s best for occasional reading and writing. Although the 6x read and write speeds are slow, the drive performs admirably and takes up very little space.
The BDR-XD05B is a good device to have on hand if you need to copy discs or burn files to Blu-ray on a regular basis. The biggest drawback is that it’s only compatible with Windows.
This device is extremely portable, weighing only 8 ounces. However, during his testing, our reviewer James noted that the lightweight construction feels flimsy. It also doesn’t perform like a dedicated Blu-ray player, as do most of these drives.
Blu-Ray Write Speed: 6x | Blu-Ray Read Speed: 6x | 4K UHD Support: No | Compatibility: Windows
Best for Storage Formats: LG WP50NB40 Ultra Slim Portable Blu-ray Writer
In terms of size, the LG Ultra Slim Portable Blu-ray/DVD Writer (Check latest price on Amazon) lives up to its name. This drive is only two inches thick, making it one of the smallest on our list. It’s a good choice for anyone who needs to store data on archival or high-capacity Blu-ray discs.
Although the write speeds aren’t the fastest, it supports both M-Disc and BDXL discs and costs less than many other drives that use this technology. M-Discs are archival media (a Verbatim M-Disc is included with this drive), and BDXL discs are high-capacity Blu-ray formats that hold several times the data of standard Blu-rays.
One disadvantage is that it necessitates two USB connections: one to your computer and the other to a power source. Because of the short length of the included cords, connecting it to a wall adapter may be difficult.
Blu-Ray Write Speed: 6x | Blu-Ray Read Speed: 6x | 4K UHD Support: No | Compatibility: Mac, Windows, Vista
The Final Word
Because of its super-fast read and write speeds and durable build, the OWC Mercury Pro is our top pick. The ASUS BW-16D1X-U is ideal for backups and data storage because it supports archival and high-capacity disc formats, as well as data encryption.