A single wire connects the ASUS SBC-04D1S-U to the PC or laptop computer that powers it and displays its content, which has distinct advantages as well as disadvantages.
Obviously, being able to connect a Blu-ray drive to a computer via a single USB cable without having to rely on an additional AC adapter is a boon. Anyone carrying around a laptop bag which already holds the laptop’s power brick and an external USB drive is aware what a difference a single power supply can make when it comes to packing that bag full safely.
It does everything a BD drive should do. It reads CD, DVD, and Blu-ray formats, though it only writes CD and DVD. It reads Blu-ray discs at a maximum 4.8X speed and DVDs at 8X. The SBC-04D1S-U features a program which speeds up USB performance, and thankfully, an option to turn down the light on the front of the drive.
The downside of course, is that while a USB connection is the only thing needed to run the drive, it’s the only connection offered at all. Having the option to run the drive from an adapter would have been a nice touch, especially for those using their laptops on battery power.
The SBC-04D1S-U is expected to ship late this month with an MSRP of $199.