Asus have made a very decent external add-on drive with the Asus SBC-04DIS-U. Stylish and thin with a modern clean look and weighing in at a very decent 412g it's a great addition if you have a very capable laptop or PC, but lack a Blu Ray drive to go with it.
Now I can tackle the biggest issue with the drive I have at this time - pricing. Asus have given an RRP of £150 for the Asus SBC-04DIS-U and that's quite a lot. Considering you can grab a well-specced Sony or Panasonic from the last generation of Blu Ray players for around £20-30 less than the Asus SBC-04DIS-U; it's a large price to pay for just a drive on it's own. Add to that the fact that Asus have added in a fairly sparse software bundle (including an out of date software player), it doesn't seem the best value for money I've ever seen.
Of course, the stand-alone market isn't where Asus are aiming the Asus SBC-04DIS-U. The lightness and diminutive size of the player lend themselves to a great laptop companion. However,as great as the drive is in this aspect, I'm not entirely sure that someone on a laptop's battery would want to use a drive that needs two USB 2.0 connectors to power it.
That aside, the Asus SBC-04DIS-U is an awesome, innovative bit of kit that plays high definition Blu Ray drives and looks great doing it.
As such, I think Asus deserves a hearty 'Recommended' Award for the Asus SBC-04DIS-U. Despite Asus predicting a lower 'street price' for the unit than £150, I still think the drive is a little too much for what it is.
+ Fantastic High Definition play-back
+ Gorgeous looking drive
+ No external power (other than 2 x USB 2.0) needed
+ Very slim and light
+ Excellent playback performance
* Not quite as good as a stand-alone player
* Bundle lack-lustre
- Let down by high price
- Loud during Blu Ray playback