Asus SBC-04DIS-U Slim External Blu Ray Reader

Packaging and looks

Packaging
 
Packaging is an odd mix. Whilst it is bordering on professional on the outside, I think the packaging looks an little cluttered. At least it features a decent image of the drive on the outside though.
 
box front  box read
 
Moving onto the insides of the box, we see that as usual, Asus have packaged up the drive very tightly. With foam inserts and a compartment for the wiring, the protection is topped off with a covering over the drive itself.
 
box inside
 
All in all then, Asus have done a decent job of packaging up the drive, if it might possibly look a little lack-lustre on the shelves of a retailer.
 
 
Appearance
 
Several things really strike you when you first open up that box. Firstly the drive really is a stylish object. Gloss black with a cross on it (for the LED lighting), the drive wouldn't look out of place sitting next to any modern HTPC setup. Secondly, the drive really is as slim as Asus advertise it and is worthy of it's title.
 
asus br drive front  asus br drive rear
 
Above you can see the sleek front styling.
 
asus br drive front  asus br drive comparison
 
The drive looks nice from the front too, with a silver bezel for the eject button. Notice the Blu Ray disc logo proudly displayed on the front. Above also you can see I've grabbed an old LG drive to compare sizes. Excuse my finger marks on the drive, but it's worth illustrating a slight downfall of the glossy surface!
 
drive lit up  drive open lit up
 
After plugging in, the cross on the front of the drive lights up. Whilst this isn't hugely bright it does become a little disconcerting in a darkened room when watching a movie. Luckily, as we'll see, Asus thought of that. Notice I'm using the stand provided to keep the drive upright. There are rubber feet to allow you to lay it flat too.
 
All in all then, Asus have provided a great looking, very slim Blu Ray drive you can carry around easily and not be embarrassed to take out and sit next to your stylish Vaio laptop.
 
 
Package
 
Asus have provided you with what you need to get going in the SBC-04DIS-U and not a huge amount more.
 
We have:
 
* Mini USB to 2 x USB cable
* SBC-04DIS-U driver and software disc
* Quick install guide
* Gloss black drive stand
 
Whilst the bundled software does include Cyberlink PowerDVD software, it perhaps would have been nice to see a cheap bundled Blu Ray included to get your collection started, especially at the £150 RRP Asus are asking for the player. 
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Most Recent Comments

01-09-2009, 09:15:37

FarFarAway
Asus produces the worlds first slim external Blu Ray drive and we get our hands on it to take a good look at this rather sexy looking bit of kit.

Check it out

02-09-2009, 17:26:58

Rastalovich
Outrageous !

Have to be fair, they're taking quite a micky on the pricing of this unit. Whilst I can understand the styling and that it's probably aimed at those who either have a laptop/netbook without, or media center that's currently dvd only, - look stylish - but even so 150.

I'd have to look at a BR-ROM/DVDRW being in the region of 50 and a caddie/adapter being 20?? ish max/min. It's 80 or so worth of style, and as u say, probably lacking in the bundle department - although it'd probably be contract based. But having said that, there are some awesome BBC documentaries, atleast, that would show-off the capabilities. Other than that, if it was a BR-RAM.. it would turn it into an awesome piece of kit.

I look at the construction and I'm thinking a laptop drive in a fancy caddie.

I don't know that an audio connector would work in same way either. For a pc, many of them have atleast coax inputs, I know not many laptops do.

I dunno, good reviewage, but it's a big spend for not so much imo. Could be so much better for the same price I feel.

02-09-2009, 17:55:07

FarFarAway
Not sure what you mean about audio connector matey? Using the drive as a laptop addition you'd only be benefitting from the HD video and have to sacrifice the audio imo

If you look at laptop Blu Ray drives, the cheapest around is 120ish I believe (linky), so that ups the price somewhat. However, I do agree (and it's reflected in the conclusion), that the price is too much. Around 100 would most likely be a fairer price for a stylish 'lifestyle' device that plays Blu Ray.

02-09-2009, 18:09:21

Rastalovich
I was thinking about something as simple as a pin pass-thru for the hd audio pins u get on bare units. Pins to a phono socket or something. Could just be a jack, and supply u with a jack->phono lead.

Bit confusing perhaps cos the player I was thinking of for 50 or so is like a pioneer regular pc one, not a laptop one. But that's taking all the looks out of the equation and just being practical I guess.

Laptop ones are still quite expensive, so u can see their expense in that department, and keeping in with their slim design, only a laptop one would suffice.

02-09-2009, 18:36:32

FarFarAway
Soz mate you've lost me. Currently the only thing that passes HD audio (bitstream) is an HDMI socket or the dual USB interface on this drive.

An AV receiver can decode HD audio and send it out via an analogue connection (RCA out), but the HD audio has to be decoded by the Amp first and usually this is used to pass to a power Amp in a Pre-Power Amp situation with high end audio to power high end audiophile speakers. A PS3 or Blu Ray player (or one of these link link two cards) can decode HD audio then pass 6 channels (5.1), out using uncompressed linear PCM via Digital Optical or Digital Coaxial.

03-09-2009, 05:25:41

Rastalovich
Yeah on that drive, but the units essentially have the ability (although not wired up in most cases) to have the pins available ala the drive I got:

http://img.directcanada.com/images/P...DC-202BK_1.jpg

With these, similar to oldfashioned ide drives and their audio outputs, u can tap into these sources to channel a socket that a user can use for a decoder or whatever.

Generally, units since the adoption of SATA, have not put the headers for these onto the pcb and u'll just get a SATA & Power ports. Even tho the solder points are there.

As I mentioned tho, this would be an alternative build as ASUS have gone down the latop-in-a-caddie approach.

03-09-2009, 13:32:37

FarFarAway
And the sound output wouldn't be high def either as the bandwidth of those ports isn't the required 24.5Mb/sec afaik (correct me if I'm wrong)

03-09-2009, 14:59:36

Rastalovich
U know, I don't know the bandwidth.

But legend has it, u connect the pins to ur gfxcard to get hd audio through the hdmi output.

03-09-2009, 16:57:54

FarFarAway
Except that graphics cards can't bitstream HD audio afaik.

04-09-2009, 05:46:36

Rastalovich
HD audio on graphics cards has been around, or atleast promoted, since '08 some time. Never reviewed, never tested, never scrutinized.

Believe ATI cards came along with it first as a pass-thru, whereas nVidia stuck it on their cards, made it look like a fan header, and said nothing.

U go online to get any help about it.... mid '08 or so and there'd be nothing.

Just googling now and there are threads about it on the AV forums, even suggestions - how time has changed.

Deal being, I think this needs some study myself. No one has done anything worth linking about. Normally it's just stated that the cards have it and move along quickly to how fast this htpc gpu plays Crysis.

04-09-2009, 06:34:26

FarFarAway
Yeah agreed with you mate, never got any detail from ATI or Nvidia on it really and it would only work on HDMI enabled cards.

04-09-2009, 07:16:54

stevej696
Looks damn good but 150!

04-09-2009, 09:06:50

FarFarAway
Asus think the street price is going to be lower than 150, but it will have to come down a lot below that!

01-10-2009, 12:27:34

wtfmom
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='stevej696'
Looks damn good but 150!
What were you expecting? It seems reasonable to me for the quality they're providing.
Reply
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