What's in the box?:

  • Sony DRX-S77U 8x USB 2.0 DVD±RW/RAM Drive
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Product Information Guide
  • Sony Software Disc v9.00W
  • AC Power Adapter
  • USB Cable
  • Warranty Information

Physical Features:

The drive Sony sent us for this review was manufactured in March of 2010 and had firmware 1.D5. This is the newest firmware currently available for the DRX-S77U.

The DRX-S77U is Sony's smallest DVD writer to date. Measuring 136.5 x 19 x 146.5 mm, it's not much larger than a couple of jewel cases stacked on top of one another. The DRX-S77U is also constructed of a lightweight, black plastic. It's hard to tell by looking at the pictures below, but there are some sparkly bits in the plastic that help hide the finger prints and smudges that glossy plastic tends to attract.

On the top of the DRX-S77U you can see a large "Sony" logo as well as a few showing support for Ultra Speed CD-RW media and the DVD+ReWritable and DVD Multi specifications. There's also a long, rectangular LED that lights up green whenever the drive is powered on.

On the bottom, the DRX-S77U has four small rubber feet to keep it from sliding around when placed on a flat surface. The plastic also has a matte finish which makes it a little easier to hang onto the drive.

The eject button is located along the front of the DRX-S77U. The drive also has a second LED that lights up orange when both reading and writing. 

Along the rear, you can see the DRX-S77U's USB 2.0 interface and power connector. Unlike most portable DVD writers, Sony's new drive cannot be powered off of a computer's USB bus. Instead it uses the included AC adapter as a stable power source.

Technical Specs:

Most of the specs below have been taken from Sony's website and the manual that came with the drive.

Sony DRX-S77U 8x USB 2.0 DVD±RW/RAM
DVD+R Write Speeds 8x, 6x, 4x (Z-CLV)
2.4x (CLV)
DVD+RW Write Speeds 8x, 6x (Z-CLV)
4x, 3.3x (CLV)
DVD-R Write Speeds 8x, 6x, 4x (Z-CLV)
2x (CLV)
DVD-RW Write Speeds 6x, 4x (Z-CLV)
2x (CLV)
DVD+R DL Write Speeds 6x, 4x (Z-CLV)
2.4x (CLV)
DVD-R DL Write Speeds 6x, 4x (Z-CLV)
2x (CLV)
DVD-RAM Write Speeds 5x (Z-CLV)
3x, 2x (CLV)
CD Write Speeds 24x (CAV)
16x (P-CAV)
8x (CLV)
CD Rewrite Speeds 24x, 20x, 16x (Z-CLV)
8x, 4x (CLV)
DVD Read Speeds 8x Max (DVD-ROM)
8x Max (DVD±R)
8x Max (DVD±RW)
8x Max (DVD±R DL)
5x Max (DVD-RAM)
4x (DVD-Vid)
CD Read Speed 24x Max
DAE Speed 24x Max
Buffer Size 2MB
Access Times
180 ms (DVD)
150 ms (CD)
CD Formats CD-DA
CD-I Ready
Video CD
Photo CD
CD Text
Writing Methods Disc At Once
Session At Once
Track At Once with Zero Gap
Variable of Fixed Packet Writing

More Features:

By looking at the picture below, you can see that Sony's new DVD writer is identified as an "Optiarc DVD RW AD-7700S."

Nero also shows that the DRX-S77U has a maximum CD writing speed of 24x and a 2048KB buffer. This buffer is backed up by Super-Link buffer underrun protection as well. According to Nero, the DRX-S77U can also write CD-Text and overburn. When testing the drive's capacity I found that the drive was able to overburn up to 92:57 with CompUSA's 99 minute CD-R media. 

Using Alex Noe's Weak Sector Utility we were able to determine that the DRX-S77U is a "two sheep" burner and is capable of backing titles protected by SafeDisc 2.90. Like most drives, it did not pass the "three sheep" test.

Here is a screen shot from Erik Deppe's Opti Drive Control. Among other things, this program queries the drive to see what its reading and writing capabilities are. Opti Drive Control had no problems detecting the DRX-S77U's reading and writing speeds and supported disc types.

Opti Drive Control also shows that the DRX-S77U is an RPC-2 DVD drive. This means that the drive's region is stored in the firmware. The region can be changed five times and after that it cannot be changed anymore. Unfortunately, a patched RPC-1 firmware is not yet available for this drive.

While Opti Drive Control gives us a quick glance at the DRX-S77U's features, DVDINFOpro provides a little more information on some of the drive's reading and writing capabilities.   By looking at the screenshot above you can see that while Sony's new drive can read and write to DVD+R DL, DVD-R DL and DVD-RAM media, it does not support technologies like LightScribe or Labelflash.

The DRX-S77U doesn't let you set the book type of single layer DVD+R or DVD+RW media. However, using software like Nero, you can set the book type for DVD+R DL discs to "DVD-ROM." This greatly reduces compatibility problems, especially with older DVD players.