There’s no doubt that the usage of optical disc drives have been decreasing over the years. In fact, new computers have started shipping without the drive that has made way for slimmer and aesthetically pleasing devices. However, there comes a time where we require the optical disc drive (installing an OS or a game) only to find it missing or even if you have it integrated, it’s already defunct. Thankfully, external disc drives come to the rescue and one of them is Asus’ Zen Drive (SDRW-08D3S-U).
This offering from Asus complements your slim and shiny Ultrabook and even comes with AVWHERE that enables content playback on USB-equipped TVs and tablets.
The 083DS-U has a very eye-catchy design. Asus bundles the DVD writer with a stand, which the user can use it to mount it vertically or use it without stand by placing it conventionally. The front side of the drive is adorned in silver finish with glossy black plastic that gives the drive a very premium look.
As for the sides, the front side hosts the disc tray with an eject/AVWHERE button whereas the back sports a miniUSB port that is used to power the device.
Using the external drive is fairly easy. Just plug the miniUSB end of the included USB cable into the drive and the other full size USB into the computer. Since it’s plug-and-play, the PC detects and installs the requisite drivers. I tested it on a Windows 8 tablet and it worked without issues. 083DS-U is able to read and write DVDs (up to 8X) and CDs (up to 24X) and is bundled with two software – Cyberlink’s Power2Go 7 burning software and E-Green utility. With Power2Go you can not only burn/erase data on the optical disc but can also encrypt it. E-Green on the other hand, tells how much power the drive has saved along with other details that basically assures drive’s eco-friendliness.
Now that we’ve talked about its core feature, let’s talk about AVWHERE. This feature allows to play multimedia content onto your Smart TV or any tablet. However, to make this work, you’ll have to make sure the TV or tablet it will connect to has a 1) full size USB port and 2) the connected device supports content present in the Asus drive. For instance, a video file in the inserted DVD won’t play if your Smart TV does not support video playback via USB.
AVWHERE can be activated with a long press on the eject button (detailed video below) and works like a charm with the Smart TV or a tablet.
There are plenty of options when it comes to standalone external DVD writers but what makes Asus’ offering apart is AVWHERE, making it a better option than the competitive products in the market.
The Asus drive retails for Rs. 3,500.
Pros: Attractive Design, AVWHERE
Cons: Using AVWHERE could be confusing to first-timers