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on 25 March 2013
Let me start this review by saying i was a bit hesitant about buying this particular drive because it had a low number of stars on the rating, upon further research the reason for this seems to be negativity centred around the fact its not a USB 3 connection, since i didn't need a USB 3 connection and since USB 2 is fast enough for blu ray burning i went ahead and bought this, please be aware the back of the box does still mention USB 2/USB 3, i tend to think its badly worded and just means you can connect the USB 2 port of the burner to a USB 3 port on a computer, anyways it arrived ahead of schedule although the packaging seemed a bit flimsy, just a cardboard box, thankfully it was not damaged, i was surprised at just how small the drive was when i took it out of the box it came in, i like that its small though, it adds to the portable nature and means i can easily put it away when not using it.

You don't need to use the supplied software which comes on a disc, indeed i recommend a free program you can download off the internet called ImgBurn, i don't recommend installing the free software but its up to you, i should add i specifically bought this drive for blu ray burning and not for viewing blu ray movies on a TV or computer monitor.

I bought Panasonic single layer 25GB and dual layer 50GB discs to burn with this drive, i have read independent test data from two sources that show LTH ( organic dye layers ) Verbatim discs which are sold on Amazon do not have long term reliability especially if exposed to light and these same tests show Panasonic is a brand which will last long term, because of this i bought the Panasonic, i have burned several discs and so far not a single coaster, very pleased about that, there is nothing wrong with buying Verbatim discs, they are a good brand but don't buy the LTH variety if you want to back up important files.

The blu ray burner gets its power from your computers USB socket, no plugs required, just insert a blank disc, click ImgBurn and you are ready to burn, i chose 2X speed because with large files there is less chance of a bad burn if you choose lower speeds, when you consider the price of this drive i think it's a bargain.

The build date for my burner which you can find on the underside of the drive is February 2013, this means its brand new and not old stock, the latest firmware was already in the drive.

I have now tested the USB AV play mode by connecting it to a Samsung 60 inch plasma, i followed the instructions that say hold eject for three seconds, it does not work, it is not recognized by the Samsung TV, i can confirm other USB devices are seen and play fine and that includes USB thumb drives and USB hard drives, its possible this is an HDCP compliance issue and the disc i tried needs an HDMI out from the burner, it does not even work with DVD feature films and they do not require an HDMI out, i consider this a flaw because it claims to work and doesn't, i also think it would have been easy enough to put an HDMI out on the burner, i now change the star rating to 4, i won't be using it for AV on the TV since i have a dedicated blu ray player for that, some people might want to, do not buy this if you want to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster and need to connect by USB to your TV, if all you need is a burner then this does a great job.
1717 comments| 108 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 December 2013
Purchased this bluray drive to use in conjunction with my Apple iMac, and it works perfectly out-of-the-box. I'm using a combination of MakeMKV and Handbrake to rip my bluray collection into iTunes, and for those purposes this drive is exactly what I needed. The only thing I haven't been able to do is get it to actually play blurays on my computer, but that's not really the primary function of this device for me so I'm happy.

UPDATE, Feb 2014...

Sadly, my success with this drive was radically curtailed when it stopped reading bluray discs completely. DVDs and CDs were fine, so I can only imagine the blu-ray laser stopped working. The drive was just constantly seeking to try and recognise the disc. If, after about 10 minutes, it did manage to read the table of contents and display the disc on the desktop, it then wouldn't read the rest of it, just reporting errors constantly. There was nothing wrong with the discs - they worked perfectly in every other bluray player I tried them in. Had to send the drive back, and still haven't got round to purchasing a replacement. It probably won't be a Samsung. Score changed to three stars, in the hope that this isn't a widespread problem.
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on 3 March 2014
I had lots of home movie projects that were shot in HD but I had only been able to put to standard definition DVD.
The Samsung Blue Ray recorder enabled me to copy them all on to two 25 GB Blue Ray disks & quality is excellent.
I have a Mac and it literally was plug in and play although I did not use the software that came with it after reading other reviews.
The player is a bit lightweight and the tray mechanism is a tad disappointing,which is the reason for 4 stars, but it works like a dream.
I have only used it to record, so can't comment on ability to watch Blue Ray disks.
If you have a Mac, then don't hesitate to buy this item.
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on 8 September 2013
Before I got this product I wasn't too sure whether the materials used would be of top quality after reading some of the reviews on here. I was wrong, the product itself looks gorgeous and it looks good on my table alongside my new Samsung Ultrabook (Windows 8). I wouldn't say I am an expert with writer drives however my ultrabook didn't come with one and the thought of watching my blu ray collection on my laptop was a winner for me.

I like the slim design of the drive, it is very light because it is made out of plastic but that doesn't mean it feel tacky. It has tiny intricate raised dimples across the glossy top and sides rather than a smooth surface as you would expect by looking at the stock images. It is prone to getting some fingerprints, I have clammy hands so I am used to it yet it is not as prone as a glossy laptop screen. Even if you get lots of fingerprints on it, it is easy to wipe off with a glasses cloth or microfibre cloth. Looks just as new afterwards!

In the box you also get a USB to mini-usb 2.0 cable which I measured to be 21.5 inches in length, which is quite short but ok for my needs. Note that this cable isn't a y-cable as one would expect. From my experience when I played the dark knight blu ray and Looper DVD on it worked fine out of my single usb 3.0 port (enough power from there).

Installing the software was a nightmare, on Windows 8 when you plug it in the system will try to install Windows' Universal/generic drivers - my system thought it would be ideal to install a 2006 driver which is outdated! I put the CD in which came with the drive but it wasn't straight forward, after 30 mins I got tired of it so I turned to the internet. For me it was a lot easier to download the driver straight from samsung - just search the model on their support and downloads section of the website, and you will see the latest driver. So I installed the driver, restarted my computer, and et voila Blu Ray Driver was recognised and it worked like a dream.

I've burnt 300MB of uni work onto a Verbatim BD-RE 25gb disc (97p each in Curry stores atm! Yes they are rewritable!) and had no problems what so ever. Took about a couple of mins to transfer my files over which I thought was quite quick. After reading from some reviews that the player software that came with it was rubbish I didn't install it at all and instead installed a trial version of CyberLink PowerDVD 13 which I have to admit is fantastic - reads my blu ray films and DVDs easily. I watched some special scenes of the Dark Knight Rises Blu Ray with my Logitech X230 2.1 speakers hooked up and it was incredible. I didn't have a full 1080p laptop screen either, mine was only a 15.6" 1366 x 768 HD and the picture looked great close up and sitting 2 metres away in my bed. You can definitely tell the difference on this screen between DVD and Blu Ray, but the thing was the DVD didn't look bad either as the software upscales it!

Also, I know some Mac users have some issues ejecting the drive on their OS but it works flawlessly on Windows 8, press the button any time and it will eject, and another thing I noticed was if the disc tray was empty and you click on the Blu Ray D:/ drive icon on My Computer the drive automatically ejects. It's little simple things like that which makes me a happy consumer of this product. The rubber grips underneath work as they should so it stops you worrying about it getting jogged as it is burning files. When it loads a disc it might sound a bit loud at first but it isn't that bad - I couldn't hear it when i was watching a movie.

All in all, excellent product which looks great however poor software CD supplied and no free DVD Blu Ray Film player software. The usb 2.0 cable isn't a y-cable but it was okay for me with a USB3.0 port. Please note, that it does use a lot of battery power when playing a blu ray, on standard use my laptop lasts 6 hours on half brightness however with the blu ray drive playing a blu ray it lasts around 4, so if you were thinking of watching a film on the go this is something you should consider - don't leave it plugged in when you are not using it to save power. It would have been bonus if this product came with a case to stop dust and to put it away in a drawer but I've instead set the nan the task of knitting me one!

I hope this helps everyone.
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on 14 March 2013
It's really a 7 out of 10 product. On the big plus side I simply plugged it into my macbook pro (I use OS 10.6.3) and it worked. I had pre-downloaded the mac blu-ray player 'macgo' through which I play the discs. Additionally the samsung reads all my pre-burned DVD-r and DVD+r discs, and it plays regular DVDs. It restored my macbook pro into a multi-region dvd player. Mac's idiot firmware had prevented my VLC player (and Mactheripper) from working on my expensively bought collection of region 1 DVDs (mostly Criterions) - Such 'copy protection' stopped me from buying DVDs (I stopped when I'd bought several hundred) and it's the reason why I have only bought 3 blu-ray discs. I won't buy anything now that is 'region-locked'. BUT I can play multi-region DVDs again by popping them into this and using the VLC player to play them.
On the negative side, the player is made from what seems to be one step up from 'cd box' plastic i.e. it feels very frail. It is also quite noisy and since it is plugged into my laptop this would be a distraction when watching a film without wearing headphones. Also, very bizzarely, an extremely bright blue light flashes on off when you play a disc. If you are watching a film in a darkened room this gives the effect of having a police car in the room with you. I've had to put five strips of packing tape over the light to stop the 'disco' effect, and that rather ruins the looks of the thing.
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There are only a few options when looking at external slimline Blu Ray burners, in fact I'm quite amazed how few there are. I was really only looking for a Blu Ray player but there are even fewer of those from named brands so I decided it was worth the extra to buy a burner.

I'm running this under Windows on a MacBook Pro Retina and I'm happy to report it works well, using just the single USB 3.0 port to supply power and transmit data.

I have a older USB drive which sometimes decides it needs one of those Y usb cables to work properly, not so with this. I'm also pleased to report that pushing the eject button doesn't send the device scurrying across my desk like the older USB dvd drive does. Oh and this Samsung doesn't have an annoying bright blue LED that could burn your retinas like some other drives I could mention.

I have been using it quite a bit over the last couple of weeks and am very pleased with the performance so far.
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on 18 March 2014
I bought this for my MacBook Pro (quite an old model, it's about 6 or 7 years old now) since its own DVD drive finally gave up on me. I decided that there was little point trying to replace the internal DVD drive, and that by getting an external drive I could use it on whatever laptop I get next (MacBooks have done away with optical drives and I think eventually others will follow), and make the move up to Blu Ray while I was at it. I bought this one because it was a popular model, Samsung are generally a reliable brand, and the price was good.

The unit is very small and light. It takes power via USB, which means you need to have enough power available from your computer, i.e. you can't have other power-draining things plugged into the same socket. Also, while it's fine for normal DVDs when plugged into either socket, Blu-Rays take a lot more power to read, so I found that I could only play those when the player was plugged into the left-hand socket on my MacBook Pro. I'm not sure if this is a problem with more recent MacBook models, but in my case there's obviously a difference in the amount of power available from each socket. It's a little inconvenient to have to re-arrange USB cables but it works. If it's a problem, you may want to consider finding a drive that has its own power source - though of course then you'll have to have a free plug socket.

The other major concern for Mac users is that Apple do not support Blu Ray, and are unlikely to do so, since they don't have the rights to the code (which is owned by Sony) and are trying to push for everything to be digital-only, and of course to be bought through iTunes. You can't just load up the Apple DVD Player software and play the disc, it won't recognise it - although you can play regular DVDs just fine. Don't be misled by the Mac-Compatible symbol on the box; it simply means that this drive will work with a Mac. The software on the disc that comes with this drive is PC only. There is software available (easy to find through Google) that will play Blu Ray discs, but you have to pay for it, which is an unexpected cost. Also, at present, although the software plays the movies perfectly well, it doesn't handle disc menus properly yet; instead the software will create its own makeshift menu. It's fine but it takes away a little from the experience of the disc. Also, this isn't a criticism of this particular piece of hardware, since Mac users will have this problem whatever drive they buy, but it's something to be aware of.

The drive can be a little bit noisy - not bad for regular DVDs, but it becomes louder when reading Blu Rays. However the most amount of noise actually came from the computer itself. Reading HD movies obviously uses a lot of processing power, and when watching a Blu Ray the computer fan seemed to be running at full pelt. Usually I can tune out noise from drives when watching something, but this actually became distractingly loud and so the only option was to either turn the volume up - which is not a great option because of neighbours and also because movies tend to have quiet moments as well as loud moments - or use headphones. Again, I imagine this is a general problem with Blu Ray drives rather than something relating to this particular unit.

So, most of the issues relating to this are to do with using Blu Ray on a Mac in general, and the unit itself is seemingly as good as any. Take the above pros and cons into account before deciding whether or not to get a Blu Ray drive for your Mac, but aside from that the only real factor to consider is whether you'd rather look for one with its own power supply.
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on 4 November 2014
I bought this to use with my Macbook Pro and found it works very well despite only being USB 2.
I did not use the supplied software so I can not comment on that. The unit seems well made, and is very light.
I have burnt numerous CDs and DVDs using iTunes and Toast. But my main need was for it to burn my videos to Blu Ray disk. Thankfully that worked brilliantly also.
For Blu Ray play back on a Mac I used 'Free Mac Blu Ray Player'.
For me this is a very good product so far. Recommended.
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on 22 March 2013
I bought this after my Panasonic External Blu Ray writer simply stopped working the day after the return window closed. It was definitely a previously returned item due to the damage on the back USB ports after close inspection. But this SAMSUNG Blu Ray writer arrived brand new out of the box and performs superbly. With more functions than the PANASONIC which is grossly over priced at £299. This writer has a good scratch resistant casing and is solidly built but is still light and portable. It has burned all my Blu Ray discs perfectly so i am more than happy it. So if you want a good reliable quality Blu Ray writer at a decent price this SAMSUNG is for you. Just one niggle !!!! the software disk that comes with it has mostly burning programs that need to be bought to use, but there is free burning software you can download off the net. I use CDBurnXP other than that this is a Great piece of kit.
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on 29 April 2013
First of all, SE-506BB is not SE-506AB. There is insufficient information on Amazon web pages, so please be aware these are two different products. The prices are different too. I only bought the cheaper SE-506BB, so I don't know what's included with SE-506AB.

Secondly, the SE-506BB came with a straight USB2 cable. It does not come with the Y-split USB2 cable which can draw additional power from a second USB port. So please ensure your PC/notebook/MAC meets the USB2 specification, or suspect something if BD-R burning frequently fails.

From experience: if burning disk image (ISO file, for example), please de-fragment the ISO file itself first; if burning multiple files, either prepare a disk image from them or avoid working on other activities; preferably reboot OS before burning.

2X speed works for me. I got 22GB written correctly onto the BD-R 25GB (single layer). TDK media supports 4X speed but I do not plan to burn at that speed. My PC is less than 3 years old, from a well known brand name, so that may mean something in the way it implemented the USB2 specification.

Finally, the built and exterior of this unit is good. It may not survive being sit on accidentally or dropped from table height, but it feels sturdy enough to be carried around. It was checked into the airline luggage, and went through X-ray at the airport, and it still works.

At the back, only one mini-USB port. In front, an activity light, a slightly protruding eject button light grey in colour, and a hole for emergency reset.
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