Despite its plastic chassis, the optical drive feels solid, looks good, and seems high-end. The drive also seems able to handle somewhat rough environments, making it well-suited for travelers.
Unlike other portable burners I've seen that require two USB ports to draw enough power -- and come with a Y-shaped USB cable to accommodate that -- the Samsung SE-218BB just needs the one Mini-USB port to work. This helps make it more portable and means that you can use the drive with any standard Mini-USB cable, in case you misplace the one that came with it.
The Samsung SE-218BB can burn dual-layer DVDs at 6x (about 8MBps) and CDs at 24x (about 3.5MBps). For this reason, there's no need for the drive to support USB 3.0, since USB 2.0's speed caps at about 60MBps, much faster than the drive's burning and reading speeds. Its burning speeds are actually plenty fast for most situations and are those supported by most blank media on the market.
There's virtually no setting up required with the Samsung SE-218BB. Again, all you need to do is plug it into a computer using the included (or any standard) Mini-USB cable and you are all set. The drive worked with both Macs and Windows computers in my testing. It even worked with a few Android tablets.
As a bonus, the portable burner also is bundled with a copy of Nero Essentials 10.0 that includes Nero Express burning software, Nero Backup, and Nero InCD, a program that makes it possible to use a CD-RW or DVD-RW disc like an external hard drive.
The Samsung SE-218BB worked very well in my testing, burning 4.7GB of data onto a DVD in about 10 minutes, which is the expected performance for a 6x DVD burner. I tried burning different types of DVD formats, including data and multimedia files, and found no problem at all. The drive also worked fine as a boot drive in case you need to reinstall your computer's operating system.
Even during extended operation, the SE-218BB didn't get hot in my testing. It did get a little warm, which is expected for all optical drives.
With great design, solid performance, and an affordable price, the Samsung Portable DVD Writer SE-218BB makes an excellent accessory for any computer that doesn't have a built-in optical drive.