The Plextor B310U BD is a slick, glossy black external DVD/CD burner, and Blu-ray disc ROM.Â It cuts DVDâ€™s at 16x and CDâ€™s at 48x.Â It can read Blu-ray at 6x, but note that it does NOT write blu-ray â€¦ if youâ€™re looking for that youâ€™ll have to step up to a pro model (and pay quite a bit more).
Stepping through the basics, Iâ€™ve got to say that the installation was one of the easiest that Iâ€™ve done in a long time!Â You connect it up to your USB and then turn it on.Â Thereâ€™s no driver disks, no need to download stuff off the Internet, you literally just plug itÂ in, wait a minute and itâ€™s ready to go!Â I installed it in this manner on both my Dell Latitude loaded with XP and also an Acer with Vista Home Premium with the same results.Â It brings the â€˜playâ€™ back to â€˜plug and playâ€™ like itâ€™s meant to be!
After installation, I found that the B310U was recognized and usable by all native windows and any 3rd party apps I threw at it, including iTunes, Windows media Player, Roxio, and the included CyberLink BD Suite and PlexUTILITIES.Â The latter software was very user-friendly and easy to understand.Â If you donâ€™t already have a video compilation tool, data or audio burning suite that youâ€™re using you wonâ€™t find much to be disappointed with in Plextorâ€™s offering.Â Itâ€™s not an extremely comprehensive or deep set of tools like you would find with Roxio Creator or Adobeâ€™s video suites or the like, but itâ€™s a lot more than I expected would be thrown in the box as a party favor â€“ it really does stand on itâ€™s own as a decent set of tools for both video and audio, DVD and CD burning.
The speed of the unit was really great â€“ it nailed the specs and even seemed to exceed the 16x and 48x given â€¦ it certainly blew away the speed Iâ€™m used to for my built-in DVD burner Iâ€™ve got in the Latitude.
I also grabbed a Blu-ray disc to view, and it performed well using the PlexUTILITIES suite on my screen.Â My laptop doesnâ€™t have great video, but it certainly had a nice high-def feel to it and the system played flawlessly and without hesitation throughout â€œNight at the Museumâ€ for the kids.
I had a tough time writing this review â€“ itâ€™s so much easier to get motivated about writing something when thereâ€™s a problem, or it doesnâ€™t do what itâ€™s supposed to â€¦. and that just isnâ€™t the case here.Â If I struggle to find something wrong, itâ€™s simply a lack. I had hoped that the unit would include a bit more advanced Blu-ray playback capabilities and it seems that for just a little bit extra they could have thrown in the ability to play back Blu-ray direct to TV, or put in a remote and IR to make watching on your PC a little more like â€˜regularâ€™ movie watching.Â This may not be a fair ding against the B310U however, as it clearly wasnâ€™t designed as an entertainment unit (even though their features page says â€œTurn your PC into a Hi-Def Entertainment Systemâ€), but as a storage device.Â As a storage device/burner it performs extremely well â€“ get it for itâ€™s outstanding capabilities on that front, and consider the Blu-ray playback an extra and I donâ€™t think youâ€™ll be disappointed!
Overall Rating – 4 out of 5 Chips