The Samsung SE-S084C is a no-frills, USB-powered optical disc burner, that writes to DVDs at eight-speed.

Are the days of the optical disc truly numbered? We certainly see plenty of netbooks and even nettops that lack the requisite slot or tray to read a disc these days. But there remain occasions when it's essential to work with CDs and DVDs, such as installing an operating system, ripping a music CD or burning a DVD.

For those situations, the Samsung SE-S084C is just the ticket, a no-frills USB bus-powered CD/DVD burner. It's little bigger than a standard CD jewel case at around 14 by 16cm, and just under 2cm high.

It's a tidily finished but lightweight design - our sample Samsung SE-S084C was finished with a glossy black plastic top and black bottom, sandwiching a grey ridged edge. And if standard-issue black bores you, it's also available in pink, blue or white finishes.

The full gamut of optical media is covered for both reading and writing, if you'll excuse Blu-ray Discs which still command a grand premium for disc readers alone. So reading music CDs, and writing to CD-R and CD-RW is a cinch, the first two at 24-speed while rewritable CDs is still comparatively slow at quad-speed.

For DVD media, the SE-S084C both reads and writes most formats at 8x speed. Supported formats included both ‘+' and ‘-' versions of write-once and rewrite DVD, along with the less common DVD-RAM format.

In our tests, the little Samsung SE-S084C drive performed flawlessly, capable of upgrading OSes on various netbooks, burning discs and reading music CDs, all without hitch. It spun up quickly and without too much turbine wind effects.

Also included in the Samsung SE-S084C package is a disc of handy software from Nero, principally Express Essentials 8 plus sundry related apps such as Nero Vision Express Essentials 5, Nero BackItUp Essentials 3 and ShowTime Essentials 4. Only missing from the box was any kind of soft case to help keep clean what the unit when it's on its travels.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Samsung SE-S084C: Specs

  • External CD/DVD rewriter
  • mini-USB 2.0 port
  • max write speeds: 8x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 6x DVD±R DL
  • 5x DVD-RAM, 4x CD-RW
  • max read speeds: 8x DVD-ROM/DL, 24x CD-ROM, 24x CD-RW
  • 160ms random access CD/DVD
  • 2MB buffer
  • 141x157x19mm
  • 341g
  • External CD/DVD rewriter
  • mini-USB 2.0 port
  • max write speeds: 8x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 6x DVD±R DL
  • 5x DVD-RAM, 4x CD-RW
  • max read speeds: 8x DVD-ROM/DL, 24x CD-ROM, 24x CD-RW
  • 160ms random access CD/DVD
  • 2MB buffer
  • 141x157x19mm
  • 341g

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung SE-S084C is a straightforward but highly effective solution to adding optical disc read and write capability to a laptop or PC that lacks the option already. At less than £40 it presents a ideal solution for efficiently dealing with nearly every disc duty.

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