It's hard to say much about an external optical drive in a world that's increasingly discarding them in favour of hard drives, flash drives or cloud storage, but we'll do our best.
Asus' mouthful of a drive, the SBW-06C1S-U, is a six-speed USB Blu-ray burner. It has an off-centre cross across the top that glows blue, a silver eject button, some orange status lights, but is otherwise gloss black. If you don't like the blue glow, you can turn it off with the included BluTuner software, or set it to 37.5, 50 or 75 per cent brightness.
It comes with a stand to mount it vertically, some red/blue 3D glasses and a disc containing CyberLink's Power2Go 6, PowerDVD 9, PowerBackup 2.5 and InstantBurn 5. What it doesn't come with is any blank media — unusual for burners. PowerDVD 9 is what enables the 3D glasses to be of any worth, although the software will only upconvert 2D media to anaglyph 3D if the source is SD — HD upconverting is not offered. For proper 3D Blu-ray playback, you'll need more hardware, like a 3D-capable screen and compatible glasses to match.
It's been some time since we've, so we were pleasantly surprised to see that media prices have dropped, with decent 4x, single-layer media going for around AU$7; 6x dual-layer for around AU$13.