A couple of years ago, external DVD writers breathed new life into ageing laptops. No longer did you need a desktop with one built in as you could pick one of these up and start burning discs. Nowadays, pretty much all the new laptops come with a built in dvd burner, indeed some have moved upto to bluray. But that is not to say these are completely without use.
I purchased the Freecom Classic DVD+/- RW from PC World for a little under £130 pound. At the time, I had two reasons. Firstly as mentioned above, my laptop could not burn discs, so when I was out and about, this facility was pretty much off limits. Secondley, the writer on my desktop was just too slow. So this device was the answer to both problems.
In terms of its' specifications it measures 25cm x 18cm x 5.5cm and weighs 1.6kg. Finished in matte black plastic, the cd tray is front loading. Powered by a 240v power pack, it connects to your PC via a USB 2.0 cable. It can be described as quick in terms of reading and writing, being able to do both at 48x speed and in increments of that. It supports a multitude of media types including CD-ROM, CD-R, DVD-R & DVD-RW amongst others.
Installing as with all devices these days, is simple. You just plug and play. The device comes complete with 2 year manufacturers warranty and a helpline number. In the time I have owned this, I am happy to say that I have needed neither. It also comes complete with the Roxio Easy CD & DVD creator package which will enable you to produce all your media items in a very simple package.
In terms of my own usage, I can have no complaints. It works with any PC I have plugged it into and has produced excellent quality results in the shortest time possible. Problems have been limited to my own stupidity. This has occured when I have not paid any attention to what I was doing and produced discs that are used only on this device rather than all readers.
When you factor in that they can be picked up for around £30 on amazon, it really is a bargain. They are built very well, and can withstand the hustle and bustle of being portable and all that entails. So if you have a need for one, perhaps you have a netbook, then I would firmly suggest you pick one up. You won't regret it.