The optical disc lives! Samsung announces new slim USB DVD drives

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Let me tell you a secret -- I am gaga for optical drives and discs. I know, it's a weird thing to be enamored with. If you listen to pundits and "experts", the world is transitioning to the cloud and flash drives. Optical media such as CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays are relegated to spend the rest of eternity in the graveyard with floppy and zip disks, right? Wrong.

Say what you will, but I am not ready to give up on those shiny round discs. Yes, when backing up photos, I do use the cloud, but I also back up to Blu-Ray (BD-RE). Why? Redundancy is the key to smart backup. Maybe your files will forever be safe in the cloud, but why not store them locally too? Today, Samsung announces two new USB DVD drives aimed at consumers with Ultrabooks and tablets that do not have integrated drives. Surface Pro 3 users, take notice.

"The new drives are engineered to be compatible with all major operating systems including the new Windows 8 and latest Mac OS versions. Capable of reading and writing files at a variety of speeds across different data media types, the drives include Buffer Under Run technology to prevent errors that can be caused when writing speeds exceed data transfer speeds, while also enabling PC multi-tasking", says Samsung.

The company further explains, "measuring 148.6 x 14 x 146mm (SE-208GB) and 148 x 14.4 x 143(SE-218GN), the drives are ideal for Ultrabook users that need optical media for easy access to stored documents, photos and multimedia content. These new drives feature a new external ODD design by placing the eject button on top of the case to maximize the ease of pressing the eject button instead of on the front bezel".

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Unfortunately, beyond the fact that the drives are really thin and can read and write CDs and DVDs, not much else is known. Samsung has not produced a proper spec sheet to list all features. Sadly though, they definitely cannot handle reading or writing Blu-Ray which is a major disappointment for Ultrabook users looking to store large amounts of data or watch a movie in that format.

I am particularly interested for two usage cases -- Surface Pro 3 and my Chromebook. Microsoft's tablet has a USB port, which will work wonderfully with either of these drives. But wait -- a Chromebook? Chrome OS can't even handle optical drives, right? True, but if you run a Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu, on a Chromebook, you actually can read and write to optical media.

Pricing and availability is not yet known, but one thing is certain -- they are both sexy as hell. The black one (SE-218GN) in particular would look gorgeous plugged into the Surface Pro 3. Oh yeah...

Do you still use optical media? Tell me in the comments.

Photo credit: Warut Chinsai / Shutterstock

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