IMG_4780 [lr] [lrsm]With netbooks becoming very popular over the past year it's no surprise that the lack of a disc drive on them has come up a time or two. Our friends over at Plextor have been known for their amazing disc drives for some time, foreseeing the need for portable drives early this year they released the PX-610U. The PX-610U is available in both a PC and mac version with appropriate software and coloring to match each. The main feature of the PX-610U is its lack of an external power supply or multiple USB ports. Using a slim laptop drive Plextor hopes to of brought a solution for thoughts who are looking for easy to use and portable disc drives. Today I have the opportunity to check it out myself.

Product Name: PX-610U

Review Sample Provided by: Plextor

Review by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

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Features

Portability and Performance With Plextor’s Slim External USB PX-610U DVD drive, your productivity is increased through portability. Supporting 8X write speeds, the PX-610U is the perfect addition to any laptop. Encasing an internal battery solution, the PX-610U requires only a single USB connection for power, data transfers, and disc burning. No longer are you struggling with multiple cables, adapters, or outlets. Truly a self-powered DVD±RW drive, the Plextor PX-610U is the ultimate in portability and performance.

Power Software for all your digital media needs. Take control of several powerful features of Plextor drives. With the power of PlexUTILITIES for Windows® you now have extra support for your Plextor hardware. PlexUTILITIES allows you to view basic and advance drive information as well as offering high quality audio and multimedia capabilities. By allowing you to measure and control the burn quality of every disc on a Windows® platform, PlexUTILITIES makes coasters a thing of the past. The distinctive design in PlexUTILITIES allows ease of use for newcomers without compromising on the powerful features that experienced burners demand.

PlexUTILITIES also features: Viewing Basic and Advanced Drive Information which lists the drive’s hardware, including serial number, firmware version and jumper settings, and shows the capabilities of the drive. Concurrently, it reveals extensive information about the inserted disc— like format, sessions and tracks, manufacturer, and CD TEXT.

Permitting Drive Identification and Control which allows you to control different features of your Plextor drive.

Measure Disc Burning Quality which tests the quality of a written or pressed disc by counting the number of errors, measures the mechanical characteristics of blank media, shows the write quality by checking the jitter rate and the beta value of written media, and measures the quality of the written DVD media by checking the pits and lands for compliance with the DVD specifications.

Automatic software and firmware updates immediately notifies you of pending updates to your Plextor drive so that you always have the most current applications. The new Roxio Creator® 10 CE gives you creative inspiration and the tools you need to enhance your digital lifestyle. Create, share and enjoy your movies, memories and music. Auto-fix camera phone photos. Encode HD video fast. Burn HD DVD or Blu-ray discs. It’s the best software for all your digital media needs. Certified for Windows Vista™

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Specifications

PX-610Upc_Spec PX-610Upc_Spec2

Packaging

Plextor packaged the PX-610U into a surprisingly big box considering the slim size of the drive. The box is similar in size and style to the PX-b310SA Blu Ray drive that I reviewed earlier this year. The front of the box has a large picture of the drive on the front along with both the DVD-/+R and DVD-RAM speeds I very large font. On the other four sides you will find everything else you need to know including the specifications, descriptions of the included software, and system requirements. Inside the package as I expected the disc drive took almost no space inside. The drive is protected with recycled paper molds along with being bagged in a foam bag to prevent scratches. The instructions, software, USB cable, microfiber cloth, and felt travel bag are all laying loose in the packaging. IMG_4773 [lr]

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Installation

For simple use (installing software, ect) the PX-610U is as simple as plugging in the USB 2.0 cable. Windows recognized the drive right away when I plugged it into my netbook. Installing Roxio Creator 10 CE and PleXutilities was as simple as running the included disc after the drive is hooked up. The PC-610U brings new meaning to plug and play.

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Performance

Considering the PX-610U's portability and slim form factor my main interest in the drive was to complement my recent purchase of a netbook. My netbooks lack of a disc drive is fine for everyday use but there are times when installing software or running a movie is much easier with a way to read the discs. I found the PX-610U to be very easy to transport. My first order of business with the drive was to install map software on my netbook. The performance of the drive was adequate enough to install the software, but does lack the speed of a standard pc drive. Overall the PX-610U performs well enough for sporadic use, if you are looking for something faster you may want to consider the PX-Q840U.

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Overall

Overall Plextor's PX-610U is an extremely portable easy to use disc drive. The lack of a power cable is what makes the PX-610U stand out the most, other portable disc drives require external power. Without a need for external power the drive is easy to transport and setup when needed. This benefit also leads to the drives only issue, speed. Without external power Plextor was only able to use an 8x DVD drive, even when reading CD's the drive is only capable of 24x. Most PC's have had faster disc drives for many years. That one issue is a tradeoff for portability, in my case with my netbook a larger faster drive like the PX-Q840U would be too cumbersome to carry along (in many ways it would also be larger than the netbook itself).  Of course one of my favorite features from my last experience was their software, I was happy to see that PleXutilities and Roxio Creator 10 CE were included. The PX-610U has the quality and style that Plextor has always been known for, if you're looking for something portable at any cost look no farther.

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