Faster than a speeding bullet...

Chris Jenkins tests out the zippiest external Blu-ray burner on the market

While a Blu-ray/HDD recorder can cost you around £400, if you have a laptop, it may make more sense to add an external Blu-ray burner to it at half the cost. Buffalo’s 12X external drive is ideal.

It’s a fairly chunky drive that measures 6.3(w) x 2.0(h) x 8.7(d) inches and weighs in at 2.65lbs.

It doesn’t support Firewire, but does support both USB versions 2.0, and 3.0, which is 10x faster. For the purposes of our test we used our MSI GT640 laptop, along with Buffalo’s Interface ExpressCard, which has two USB 3.0 ports.

The drive runs under Windows 7, Vista and XP, and for Blu-ray playback requires graphics card and display support for the protection protocols COPP and HDCP. It also supports 3D, using NVIDIA’s GeForce technology. It will, of course, also play and burn CD and DVD (universal) discs too. Also supplied with the package are an external power supply, USB cable and the installation software. Everything went smoothly – it’s just a pity there aren’t that many 12x BD-R discs around, and Buffalo recommends only those made by Panasonic.

Highs

Faster than the standard 8x Blu-ray drives, it makes the tedious BD burning process almost bearable.

Comes with a wide range of software in the form of CyberLink Media Suite for Windows, featuring support for 3D Blu-ray, 2D to 3D DVD conversion and DVD upscaling.

Lows

Requires USB 3.0 to reach its best speeds, otherwise it operates at more like 8x even with a Turbo USB 2.0 chipset (40x read/write for CD-R).

Doesn’t support Mac OS.


Buffalo Mediastation
Price:
£200 Approx

Overall 4/5