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With laptops getting smaller and smaller, often they drop one of the most vital components to save on space and deliver on other features -- the optical drive. LG's GSA-E50L addresses this issue, and brings CD/DVD burning with it for an affordable price.
The sleek 380 gram unit features a piano black top, matte black bottom and white sides. A single eject button is on the front, along with an activity light and the emergency release hole. The back is just as sparse with a mini-USB connector for data and power, and if your USB port doesn't supply enough power an additional adapter can be added -- this however is not included, so you'll have to grab your own if this is the case.
Using ImgBurn's discovery mode, a Taiyo Yuden DVD-R took 11 minutes, 28 seconds to write to, while a Verbatim CD-R only took 5 minutes, 47 seconds, both burns producing a clean result and using no more than 3% CPU during the write process. While this is slower than a desktop equivalent thanks to the USB connection, it's completely respectable for an external drive.
If your laptop doesn't have an optical drive or you need to replace your dud internal one, LG's latest offering is well worth the money.