Problem: you just bought a MacBook, ultrabook, Netbook, or some other 'book that lacks an optical drive, and you need to install some disc-based software. Or you want to watch a DVD. Heck, maybe you've got a PC that already has an optical drive, but it's busted.
Solution: while supplies last, Amazon has the Samsung SE-208AB/TSBS external DVD drive for $24.99. Shipping is free if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber or you pad your cart by at least a penny. (Not sure what else to throw in there? Try the Amazon Filler Item Finder.)
If Amazon happens to sell out (nah, that could never happen), Newegg also has it for $24.99 shipped -- no cart padding required. Uh, come to think of it, maybe you should start there.
There's a lot to like about the SE-208AB/TSBS -- and not just its sexy name. For starters, it's slim, sleek, and highly portable, measuring 5.7 inches x 0.8 inch x 5.6 inches and weighing just more than 10 ounces.
Even better, it's powered by USB, so there's no bulky AC adapter to bring along and no batteries to keep charged. Just plug it into your laptop and you're good to go. Just bear in mind that you'll probably need to devote two USB ports to power the drive. (You may be able to get by with one; port voltage often varies from one laptop to another.)
The drive reads and writes both CDs and DVDs, with a maximum write/rewrite speed of 8X for the latter. It's backed by a one-year warranty. Although various product specs show it to be Mac-compatible, the included Nero disc-burning software is for Windows only.
Nearly 100 Amazon customers rated it four stars out of five on average, while over at TigerDirect it averaged a 4.5. (A smattering of Newegg customers received DOA drives, hence some lower ratings there.)
I think a portable, USB-powered DVD burner for $25 out the door is too good to pass up -- especially in these days of optical-free laptops. Sometimes you still need to read or write a disc!
Bonus deal: Amazon continues to offer free music in exchange for pimping out your Facebook page. This time you can score a $2 Amazon MP3 credit by answering a question about care packages and giving Unilever 15 milliseconds of fame on your timeline. I know people like to grumble about Facebook, Facebook-powered marketing, and all that, but I have no problem with it. Free music, here I come!
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