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A rebranded Air Superdrive, but efficient nonetheless Update: Not quite complete rebrand
on June 27, 2012
This "Apple USB Superdrive" is basically the exact same thing as "Apple Macbook Air USB Superdrive", except with the new Macbook pro's shipping out without an internal disc drive, they just decided to drop the "Air" from the Superdrive.
What is wonderful about this drive is that it only requires one USB Port. Often you'll find external drives requiring 2 USB ports, one for Power, and one for data. On a laptop with as few USB Ports as Apple ships with, this is borderline unacceptable. As a computer Engineer, I need at least 1 port free for various interfaces, so an external drive that requires both my usb ports just wont work.
Design: While I have my gripes about Apple, build quality is not one of them. This thing is sturdy, thin, and requires a minimal amount of desk space. I actually fashioned a "bookstand" like enclosure which makes it vertical, which means it takes up even less desk real estate.
Speed: I didn't notice any major difference in speed between a medium quality laptop internal disc drive and this one.
The one thing I wish it had: Blu-ray support. I can dream can't I? That said, discs are on their way out. Which is why I'm okay with the superdrive being seperate from my laptop. I only use it when I'm at my desk anyways.
All Said and done: If you already have the superdrive for the air, don't get this one, its not any different, at least not enough to notice. If your computer does not have a disc drive like the air and retina pro, this is the drive to get, if you plan on using it for anything besides emergency purposes. If you plan on using an external drive 1-2 times a year, there are cheaper options out there. That said, this one is a great blend of build quality, ease of use, and not using a ton of my valuable ports.
Update: I had a chance to look at an air superdrive again, the USB Cord does appear to be a couple inches longer on the new superdrive. This is actually a much appreciated addition, I had forgotten how short the old USB cord was. I wouldn't have had room to plug it in from the back of the desk with the old cord length, I do now.