We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Storage Devices Reviews
15,669 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

Asus SBW-06C1S-U Slim review

£111 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Asus

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

Asus’ SBW-06C1S-U is a slim external Blu-ray writer that’s almost small enough to fit into a coat pocket.

Asus’ SBW-06C1S-U is a slim external Blu-ray writer that’s almost small enough to fit into a coat pocket. It’s powered entirely from the USB bus, with no need for an external mains adaptor. It weighs only 380g, so could be a good choice of portable backup drive.

A Y-cable plugs into two USB 2.0 ports on the computer to draw enough power for a reliable burn. If you’re using a laptop, ensure it has enough ports and is fully charged.

Asus has tried to make the drive look more appealing than the usual black box with a few lights. It’s covered in glossy black plastic and, rather than use a standard LED status indicator, a criss-cross of transparent lines glow blue when the drive is in use. This looks far better than the LEDs at the front of most optical drives we’ve seen.

At four-speed, our 21GB image burned to disc in 30 minutes and 18 seconds. Using six-speed media the Asus managed 22 mins 7 secs. Both results were the slowest in our group test. Unlike other slim external Blu-ray writers, the drive was quiet when the disc was spinning.

How we tested

When using any backup medium, reliability is the number-one concern. If a BD-R disc recorded by a particular drive is unable to be read by another Blu-ray burner or playback device, it’s useless.

Since Blu-ray films are unable to be copied without first removing their AACS encryption, we used Nero Video to create a 21GB encryption-free Blu-ray video (BDMV) disc image, made up of several smaller files.

We then used Nero Burning ROM to copy this disc image to four-speed TDK and six-speed Verbatim discs. For each drive, we recorded how long it took to complete this test. If the BDMV then played in a standalone player, it was recorded as a successful burn.

We also paid attention to how noisy the drive was in operation, and the write speeds offered by Nero. It’s possible to exceed the disc speed rating with some drives.

Most important is whether a disc can be successfully burned at the top speed that both the media and drive support. Today’s media tops out at six-speed, and it’s essential that a Blu-ray drive can provide a sustained data rate to match – particularly when using cheap media.

We also used the free ImgBurn utility to measure performance. We didn’t test the drives’ CD and DVD performance.

Asus SBW-06C1S-U Slim Expert Verdict »

External Blu-ray writer
USB 2.0
6x BD-R SL
2x BD-RE
4x BD-R DL
8x DVD-R
24x CD-R
16x CD-RW
24x CD-R
21GB burn time: 4x media = 30 mins 18 secs, 6x media = 22 mins 7 secs
works with Windows XP/Vista/7
requires two USB 2.0 ports for power (Y-cable supplied)
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 8 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

The Asus is a good external Blu-ray writer, provided you have enough USB ports on your laptop to power it. Its performance in our tests with both four- and six-speed media was slow, but reliable. This drive is also quiet, portable and affordable.

  • TDK TB150U external Blu-ray drive review

    TDK TB150U external Blu-ray drive

    This is Its more than up to the job and, indeed, faster than its rivals, but you can do better for your money.

  • Freecom Blu-Ray Combo Pro 33980 review

    Freecom Blu-Ray Combo Pro 33980

    The Freecom Blu-Ray Combo Pro 33980 is a slick external Blu-ray Disc drive.

  • Buffalo MediaStation BR-X816U2 review

    Buffalo MediaStation BR-X816U2

    Buffalo's BR-X816U2 Blu-ray writer is the older and significantly cheaper sibling of the BR3D-12U3, but identical in appearance.

  • Plextor PX-LB950SA internal Blu-ray drive review

    Plextor PX-LB950SA internal Blu-ray drive

    Plextor’s PX-LB950SA is by far one of the fastest internal drives we've tested when using four-speed TDK media, but its lead over its rivals narrows with six-speed Verbatim discs.

  • LaCie d2 Blu-ray Professional review

    LaCie d2 Blu-ray Professional

    The LaCie d2 Blu-ray Professional BD-R, BD-RE Drive is an external optical drive that can burn data to Blu-ray discs, as well as single and dual-layer DVD and CD media.

IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 off Retina iMac with new model