6 Best External DVD Drives for MacBooks and Windows Ultrabooks

Modern computers have come a long way and these devices are more sleek and portable than ever before. Understandably, OEMs had to trim down the chassis and remove features like optical drive bays to make the machines more travel-friendly. That said, some users still need a medium to access DVD drives, be it for watching a movie, installing software, or burning a disc. As such, it makes sense to invest in the best external DVD drives for your PC.

Best External DVD Drives for MacBooks and Windows Ultrabooks

Thankfully, we’ve done the legwork for you. So, today, we’ll look at some of the best external DVD drives and highlight their features, compatibility, and overall value for the money. Whether you own a MacBook or a Windows system, our list of the best external DVD drives should suffice your needs. But first,

1. LG GP65NB60

  • Read/Write Speed: 8X DVD | Interface: USB 2.0
  • Disk Compatibility: CD, DVD | Supported OS: Mac, Windows
The LG GP65NB60 is an external DVD drive that is designed to work with both Windows and Mac computers. It’s easily one of the slimmest and most portable DVD drive options out there, and it also happens to be the most affordable external bay as well.

The LG GP65NB60 is a slim and lightweight device, making it easy to carry around. Also, it is compatible with a variety of disc formats, including DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, and CD-R/RW.

In terms of appearance, it is available in a handful of colors, such as white, black, gold, and silver. The DVD drive also comes with CyberLink’s software suite that allows you to play DVDs and burn CDs and DVDs.

Owing to its slim design, some users have stated that the drive bay can get a little bit loud. Despite that, LG remains one of the most reliable brands in the space. As such, if you don’t want to spend a ton of money, the LG GP65NB60 is easily one of the best external DVD drives out there.

2. ASUS ZenDrive U7M

  • Read/Write Speed: 8X DVD | Interface: USB 2.0
  • Disk Compatibility: CD, DVD, M-DISC | Supported OS: Mac, Windows
As unbelievable as it sounds, the ASUS ZenDrive U7M manages to fit in a DVD drive inside an even slimmer profile than the LG GP65NB60. You still get the same performance, along with access to a couple of software suits.

Similar to the LG GP65NB60, the ASUS ZenDrive U7M is an ultra-slim external DVD drive reader and writer. It’s specifically designed to work with portable machines, such as slim laptops and MacBooks.

In terms of the software package, the ZenDrive comes with Cyberlink Power2go 8. It essentially simplifies the disc-burning process and provides optional encryption functionality to safeguard private files. Additionally, it includes Nero BackItUp, which is an online backup solution for smartphones and tablets.

One unique aspect of the ASUS ZenDrive U7M is that it supports M-DISC as well. In fact, you even get two of those discs included in the package. So, if you want to back up important data, these discs can come in super handy.

3. Hitachi-LG Multi OS

  • Read/Write Speed: 8X DVD | Interface: USB-C
  • Disk Compatibility: CD, DVD | Supported OS: Mac, Windows, Android, Linux, Fire OS
Why should external DVD drives be restricted to just Windows and MacOS devices? If you wish to access your DVD drive on your Android smartphone, or even on your Fire TV, the Hitachi-LG Multi OS External DVD drive is the one for you.

Boasting wide compatibility across various different operating systems, the Hitachi-LG Multi OS is easily one of the most versatile products on this list. Thanks to its USB Type-C connectivity, not only is it easier to plug into your Android smartphone, but you can also hook it up to your modern laptops, most of which don’t feature a traditional USB-A port anymore.

The drive also comes with the UD Link app for your smartphone. The app allows you to automatically back up data from your smartphone to an optical disc. The same app can be downloaded to your Fire TV from the Amazon app store as well and you can then play content from the disc drive onto your smart TV.

Do note that watching movies via the Hitachi disk bay requires an additional app called the TrueDVD+ app. Unfortunately, it is a paid application. Making matters worse, the app doesn’t work at times. A better workaround is to download the UD Link app coupled with the VLC media player, both of which are available for free. That way, you can easily enjoy DVD playback on your Android without having to pay for any apps.

4. Dell DW316 USB DVD Drive

  • Read/Write Speed: 8X DVD | Interface: USB 2.0
  • Disk Compatibility: CD, DVD | Supported OS: Mac, Windows
If there’s one brand that can not only rival but even outsmart LG’s reputation in the external DVD biz, it’s Dell. With over 13,000 user ratings, the Dell DW316 USB DVD Drive is Amazon’s Choice for the best external DVD drive. And for good reason too.

Regarding the unit’s performance and compatibility, the device draws parallels to the aforementioned options on this list. You get 8x DVD speed, and it’s compatible with a variety of disc formats, including DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, and CD-R/RW.

The unit also comes with a detachable cable, which makes it easy to replace in case the bundled one goes kaput. Speaking of which, the device also gives users access to the CyberLink Media Suite software. For those unaware, the Media Suite software is a powerful app that can be used for DVD playback, while also allowing you to easily burn your own CDs and DVDs.

Understandably, Dell’s offering doesn’t quite stand out. However, given the brand’s expertise in the field, you can rest easy knowing that the DW316 will stand the test of time.

5. ASUS BW-16D1X-U

  • Read/Write Speed: 16X DVD | Interface: USB 3.0
  • Disk Compatibility: CD, DVD, Blu-ray | Supported OS: Mac, Windows
Featuring a stylish look and offering support for Blu-ray discs, the ASUS BW-16D1X-U is one of the fastest-performing external DVD drives on this list. The unit definitely has some heft to it, but what it misses out on portability, it more than makes up for in the performance department.

The ASUS BW-16D1X-U features a USB 3.0 interface, which means it can transfer data at faster speeds than competing USB 2.0 devices. It’s also plug-and-play, meaning that you can simply connect it to your computer’s USB port and start using it without having to install any additional software.

Spec-wise, the device offers double the speed of the previously mentioned external disk drives on the list. To wit, the unit gets 16X read/write speed. It also comes bundled with the CyberLink Power2Go 8 software which you can use to burn discs as well.

Understandably, the ASUS BW-16D1X-U is not as slender as some other options on the list. To that end, the device comes enveloped in a beefy box, which weighs 2.6 lbs. What’s more, is that it requires an external power supply as well, with the USB port being used for connectivity.

6. OWC Mercury Pro

  • Read/Write Speed: 24X DVD | Interface: USB 3.1
  • Disk Compatibility: CD, DVD, Blu-ray, M-DISC | Supported OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
If you want the absolute best performance from your external DVD drive, look no further than the OWC Mercury Pro. Yes, it is expensive, but it’s also robust, highly versatile and the unit works with Windows, macOS and even Linux systems seamlessly.

Similar to the ASUS BW-16D1X-U, the OWC Mercury Pro also supports Blu-ray discs. What’s more, the unit also benefits from stupendously fast read/write speeds of 24X DVD and 48X CD for DVDs and CDs, respectively. Add to that, similar to the ASUS ZenDrive U7M, you also get support for M-DISCs here.

If you’re looking for the best external DVD drive for a laptop, keep in mind that this isn’t exactly portable. This also requires an external power supply and is quite heavy at 5.73 lbs.

However, the device’s humungous form factor has its advantages too. For starters, some consumers have stated that the external DVD drive is whisper quiet, regardless of whatever disc it is reading. Also, it offers a robust build quality. The body is made up of sturdy aluminum that’s built to last. And while most slim external optical drive readers tend to slip due to their internal vibrations, you won’t run into the same issue with the OWC Mercury Pro.

FAQs for Best External DVD Drives

1. What does 8X DVD speed mean?

8X DVD speed refers to the maximum rate at which a DVD drive can read or write data to a DVD disc. It means that the DVD drive can operate at eight times the standard DVD data transfer rate, which is 1.32 MB/s. As a result, an 8X DVD drive has a maximum data transfer rate of 10.56 MB/s, making it eight times faster than a 1X DVD drive.

2. What is the difference between a DVD player and a DVD drive?

A DVD player is a standalone electronic device that is designed solely for the purpose of playing DVD movies or other video content on a TV or display screen. On the other hand, a DVD drive is a peripheral device that is typically connected to a computer or laptop. It allows the user to read or write data to DVD discs, such as installing software, backing up files, or watching movies on the computer.

3. What is an M-DISC?

An M-DISC is a type of optical disc that uses a patented inorganic rock-like material instead of organic dyes found in traditional DVD and Blu-ray discs. This inorganic material is more stable and durable. What’s more is that it is designed to withstand extreme environmental conditions, such as high temperatures, humidity, and sunlight. As a result, they are typically used for long-term archival storage of important data. They are designed to last for up to 1,000 years, which is way more than a traditional optical disc.

Read and Write DVD Drives with Ease

Whether you need a DVD drive for watching movies, installing software, or burning discs, there are plenty of options on the market to suit your needs. From budget-friendly options to high-end drives with advanced features, we hope our list has helped you find the best external DVD drives for your laptop.

Last updated on 29 March, 2023

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