World Exclusive Review: Nu Technology SBW-242US External Slim COMBI USB2.0 24x24x24x8 Optical Drive Review


f you travel around the world often, you will know the importance of having a burner along with you. You may not have the best laptop or computer that has an integrated burner and you may need an external one that can burn all your digital images on CD for safety purposes. You may need it for your big files or anything else. However, there are problems with current external CD burners; they are big. They are big and bulky that it seems they are not portable. Most likely all that they are is internal drives that are put in an enclosure. You can carry around the bulky external drive around. But that is a hassle. Well Nu Technology has an external drive. But this one is capable of being a burner and plays DVD's. Better yet, this one is slim. Probably one of the first reviews of the Nu Technology SBW-242US External Slim COMBI USB2.0 24x24x24x8 Optical Drive.


  • Interface: USB2.0
  • Data Buffer: 2MB
  • Read CD-ROM: Max 24x (3600KB/Sec)
  • Read DVD: Max 8x (10.56MB/Sec)
  • Write CD-R: Max 24x (3600KB/Sec)
  • Re-write CD-RW: Max 24x (3600KB/Sec)
  • Writing Modes Supported: DAO, SAO, TAO, Packet Writing, Multi-Session, DAO-RAW Mode
  • Disc Loading Mechanism: Tray type
  • Compatible Formats Supported: DVD-ROM (DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18), Multi-Border DVD-R/DVD-RW, Multi-Session DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM/XA, CD-I, Video CD, Karaoke CD, Photo CD, Enhance CD, CD Plus, CD Extra, I-trax CD, CD-Text, Mixed Mode CD-ROM, DVCD, CD-G, Bootable CD, CD-R, CD-RW and CD-MRW
  • Buffer Underrun Technology: SuperLink
  • Certificate: FCC, CD, C-Tick, and BSMI
  • OS Supported: Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP, Mac OS 9.2 and above
  • Weight: 450g

Nero tells all the rest

As you can see, the Nu Technology SBW-242US is a capable drive and is relatively lightweight weighing in at a mere 450g. This ensures that it is portable to bring around with you virtually anywhere. The drive supports all big name formats along with both + and – DVD formats so you are virtually ready to read any current format and then some such as double-sided DVD-9.

Nice Box eh?

I like what Nu Tech is providing with their optical drive bundles.  It's one of the best I've seen.

The Nu Technology SBW-242US arrived in perfect condition. The box design is slim and looks very attractive. The cardboard box feels of great quality also…just had to say that! Opening the package contains great protection to the drive via two Styrofoam pads on opposite ends. The bundled materials with the purchase of the Nu Technology SBW-242US contains the drive itself, a power adaptor, a USB2.0 connection cable, a users manual, the bundled COMBI software CD that includes Sonic RecordNow DX, Sonic DLA, Sonic CinePlayer and a USB2.0 Driver (I suggest looking at this review to learn more about the software package), (1) blank 24x CD-R, (1) blank 10x CD-RW, and the drive stand. It is good to see that blank media is included along with the great software bundle so you can begin to use the drive right away.  It looks like Nu Tech has shown that they provide a great bundle with every product they carry.  10x CD-RW media is included as well because as of current, there seems to be no 24x CD-RW media around.

Looks cool.  It has a rubberized side for use with the mount

The Nu Technology SBW-242US is constructed out of hard plastic and is relatively strong and has no flimsy parts. If you drop it (God forbid), then prepare to pay the price. The drive has blue accents to add to the design and the right side has a rubberized portion that is to prevent slippage on surfaces and serves to be the purpose of allowing the included drive stand to create a tight fit. The drive fits snugly into the stand and allows the drive to be mounted vertically for space saving purposes. The bottom of the stand has rubber inserts on the top and bottom.

The front of the Nu Technology SBW-242US has two things basically. The eject button that has an integrated power/read/write green LED and an emergency eject hole if you ever need it to be used.

The rear of the drive with it's warranty label and connectors.  The drive is unleashed.

The rear of the drive contains two connectors, one for the USB cable and the other for the power. I would like to say that the included USB cord is a bit short for my liking and should be longer.

Ejecting the drive tray reveals that the Nu Technology SBW-242US is basically a laptop drive in a slim enclosure. You have to manually push the drive tray back in as well (laptop-like).

Windows XP automatically reads the drive and you can start using it right away

The stand

Sleek and thin


Testing consist of the same standardized test for CD-Burners located on out Test System page. This includes of using the newest Nero for burning from HD-Burner and CD-CD 698MB of data/images. Max Payne 2 is also used for the CD Speed test. Please note that the HD-Burner test is more accurate and the one to look at than the CD-to-Burner because it depends on how fast is your source drive.


Nero CD Speed (MP2 CD Used)

Slow but works pretty well for regular users.  It will take up some system resources as it is controlled via USB2.0.

Nero CD Speed (698MB Data/images CD used)

HD-to-Burner Test

  • CD-to-Buner Test of 698MB of data/images: 7mins 46seconds

As you can see by the Nero CD Speed tests, the Nu Technology SBW-242US doesn’t break speed barriers nor did I expect it to. It averages a slow CD read speed and recognition of CD/DVD were relatively quick and while reading/burning with the drive, it is kept to a minimum noise level. It is quiet and in some cases virtually silent. It produces a low noise hum when in use and watching DVD’s, playing DVD’s exhibited no problems or flaws.

Burning is adequate and works well for a small drive. The burn speed will do as well as it doesn't take seriously long.  Portability is the key here.

Speaking of a flaw, the Nu Technology SBW-242US is a bit picky with some blank media, particularly with cheap no-name knockoff CD-R’s as it has problems writing to them. Certified and higher quality media such as TDK, Verbatim and Sony just to name a few are best to be used with it to prevent any bad burns and does give peace of mind.


If you want a relatively quick, slim and portable external writer/DVD combo drive, I can easily recommend the Nu Technology SBW-242US. The unit is small (size of you hand), light and can fit in small spaces.  You can easily grab it and bring it to your friends house. 

There are little gimmicks to pick on with the Nu Technology SBW-242US. The only ones I could pick on were the USB cable is short and that the drive is a bit picky with cheap media.

Other than that, Nu Technology has produced another great product! The Nu Technology SBW-242US comes competitively priced as well.

I rate the Nu Technology SBW-242US External Slim COMBI USB2.0 24x24x24x8 Optical Drive a…


Pros and Cons

+ Slim
+ Fits anywhere
+ Quiet
+ Burns relatively quick
+ Looks sexy
+ Bundle
- Short USB cable
- A bit picky with cheap media

Alternative Pricing:

I would like to thank Nu Technology for making this review possible.



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