Blu-Ray could have had its wings clipped by the streaming age, but it has endured, especially among movie buffs. Blu-Ray has streaming services and DVDs beat when it comes to audio and video quality. Since Blu-Ray discs hold a lot more data than DVDs, they can produce a higher-quality picture. Plus, unlike with streaming, you never have to worry about buffering, or your favorite title no longer being available.
Beyond movies, Blu-Ray is a great format for backup and data storage — the discs are relatively affordable and have a large and long-lasting storage capacity.
What to Consider Before Buying a Blu-Ray Optical Drive
There are two major categories when shopping for a Blu-Ray optical drive. There are internal drives, which are meant to be installed in your computer tower. Of course, these options are only practical if you have a desktop. If you only rely on a laptop, you’ll want to look to an external drive, which can simply be plugged in using a USB cable. These options are often compact and can be taken on the go with relative ease.
How We Chose a Blu-Ray Optical Drive
There are plenty of options out there, but not all of them are equally reliable. That’s why we turned to name brands like Asus, Pioneer and LG. We looked for internal and external drives to suit different setups. These options let you burn, rip, and play Blu-Ray discs, and they also work with DVDs and CDs. That compatibility is especially handy, considering how many laptop brands are doing away with the disc drive. Since many people need optical drives for data storage, we found some options that write quickly, meaning you won’t spend all day transferring files.
These are the best optical drives to buy.
1. Pioneer BDR-XD07B Portable Burner & DVD Player
This option is big in potential but small in size. The compact, square frame makes it easy to pack and take on the go, and this unit also comes with a zippered carrying case. This drive can read and write Blu-Ray discs, including BDXL discs. Since this unit relies directly on USB, you don’t need to plug in an AC adapter.
Pros: Versatile option for CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. Compact and portable size, includes a zippered carrying case.
Cons: Included Cyberlink software may cause some issues, as it may be an outdated version.
2. ASUS Powerful Blu-ray Drive
This option from Asus is a good external drive and is suited to work with different systems such as Mac or PC. The unit utilizes USB 3.0 for fast transfer speeds, and it has a writing speed of up to 16x. And if you’re burning important data, you can add additional encryption for protection.
Pros: Good external option. Eyecatching design. Fast write speeds. Utilizes USB 3.0.
Cons: Works for Mac, but may not be a seamless process.
3. LG Electronics Blu-ray Internal Rewriter
Another internal option is this LG Blu-Ray drive, which is compatible with multiple Windows operating systems including Windows 10. Like the other options, it works with CDs and DVDs as well. It’s designed to run silently, too.
Pros: Wide compatibility, supports M-Disc, good for ripping.
Cons: No software included.
4. ASUS Computer Blu-Ray Writer
This drive is a powerful option; it writes at 16X speed, and it has built-in backup memory, so it’s good for quickly reading and writing discs. It’s designed to be used with a PC tower, rather than as a portable laptop option.
Pros: Easy to install, many users found that they didn’t need to install any new software.
Cons: Needs to be modified to be able to play 4K.