While it's not quite as passé as the floppy disk drive yet, the days of the CD or DVD optical drive are starting to become numbered.

We see more laptops and even the occasional desktop computer now that omits the optical drive, in the interest of saving space or money. For those in need, then, the Freecom DVD RW drive is a welcome solution - a portable, high-quality optical disc burner.

The Freecom DVD RW LS Pro is a very compact unit, sized just larger than a CD jewel case and less than the height of a double CD album box. Simply styled in a matt-finish aluminium case with no unnecessary ornamentation, it is a clean-looking statement of function over form.

Inside is a low-profile Slimtype CD/DVD-writing optical drive, as you'd find in a laptop. But where older drives may be single-layer only, this Freecom DVD RW LS Pro will burn to dual-layer DVD+R media, and additional can etch pictures, text and logos onto the flipsides of suitable Lightscribe blanks.

It can be powered for disc reading by either of its data ports - namely FireWire 400 or USB 2.0 - or by an included power supply, itself a tiny 55x39x32mm in size.

Being this small, there's more chance you'll throw it a laptop bag with the drive itself, which is handy as Freecom says it's required for the extra power requirements of disc burning. In our tests using an Apple MacBook Pro, a single FireWire connection was sufficient to get the Freecom DVD RW LS Pro up and burning. More surprising, the same was true of a single USB 2.0 connection too.


As well as adding CD and DVD reading and writing options for modern netbooks, the Freecom DVD RW LS Pro can also expand your repertoire if you’re looking for Lightscribe or dual-layer DVD+R capability. The Freecom DVD RW LS Pro is not the cheapest but its neatly styled, relatively robust and can potentially run solely off bus power without messing around with extra cables or wallwarts.