Samsung’s Smart Media Hub. SE-208BW, The Swiss Army Knife of Optical Drives…

It was easy to miss Samsung’s new SE-208BW Optical Drive announced this week. Drowned out by all of the noise at the IFA gadget festival in Germany Samsung’s new drive is a game changing device non the less, this a whole new class of device being created before our eyes. Samsung’s new drive is the Über can do drive, like all great super hero’s this is a split personality device. As a mild manured Optical Drive it run’s flawlessly and looks great to boot, but there is another side to the SE-208BW, connect it to a network and it becomes the Wi-Fi Superman gadget. Able to backup entire smartphones in a single click, serves files faster than a Google’s farm and handier than a box full of Swiss army knives. You will wonder why we have all put up with plain old external drives.

Not forgetting that at it’s core this is an external DVD, as such it does the basics very well. Specifications include 24X CD-ROM, 24X CD-RW, 8X DVD reading and 8X DVD±R, 5X DVD-RAM, 6X DVD+R Dual Layer, 6X DVD-R Dual Layer, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW recording. The drive boasts Buffer Under Run technology to prevent errors that may result from writing speeds that exceed data transfer speeds, while also enabling PC multitasking. Bootable through USB for those annoying Windows installs.

Switch on the SE-208BW’s Wi-Fi functionality and the other personality comes out. This is the can do device after all, external DVD, Wi-Fi access point and repeater, DLNA media server, Network hub, USB storage, Wi-Fi backup and burning. Add to this the fact the drive can do all of those things not only for PC’s and Mac’s but also smartphones and tablets, it should be plain to see this is no normal optical drive. Using the supplied software a smartphone can be fully backed up over Wi-Fi onto a 10 cent DVD, tablets can burn to the drive as well as using it as a DVD / Media serving drive. TVs and other devices compatible with DLNA media sharing will be able to see the SE-208AB and all the media there in, all over the network using the included Allshare software. By adding a number of components an entire home network can be easily assembled. You will need to add a broadband modem that plugs into the SE-208BW’s Ethernet port, an external hard drive for storage that plugs into the USB port, then add all of the media you have and get comfortable.

The network chips hasn’t been added as an afterthought either. The Wi-Fi access point can also act as a Wi-Fi repeater, boosting the range and strength of your Wi-Fi network. Dynamic DNS is integrated allowing the product to work independently, giving it the attributes of a network router. If serious networking hardware is stretch too far but the files are building up the SE-208BW’s occupies the new middle ground of home networking. Not as expensive as a NAS – Network Attached Storage – or file server but just as functional for a small to medium scale setup. There is only one USB so only one external drive, with 3TB USB drives now available that’s not so much an issue anymore but if you can live with these limitations then this may be the perfect solution.

Samsung have the new dorm room must have device, multi-talented, sleek, portable and compact. The drive will be available early 2012, the greatest challenge on Samsung’s hands is helping people understand just how much this little gadget wonder can do. With an impressive implementation of Wi-Fi, Samsung has shown Wi-Fi finally living up to the hype. Only it hasn’t surpassed the hype, it stomped right over the top and kept going. This little optical drive will find it’s way into most noid toolboxes and dorm rooms around the world, the little drive that can do.