500GB Portable (2.5-inch) HDD Shootout


Meet the Drives: Hitachi & Iomega

Hitachi SimpleTough

The Hitachi SimpleTough portable drive is quite possibly the most robust portable drive we've seen yet. It's so tough, it can be in a league of its own. With an extremely durable hardened rubber shell and even tougher rubber bumpers on both its sides, this drive is both shockproof and water resistant. And unlike other rugged equipment that tend to ignore aesthetics, this is an ergonomically designed drive that's easy on the hands while handling its smooth body and is also pleasing to look at. It also has an integrated, flexible USB cable that fits in with its design and you'll never have to worry about where you stashed the cable. It is however rather short, so the drive has to be placed near your system or you'll have to use a cable extender.

The only other real issue with all this 'toughness' is that it's not going to be as compact as a standard portable drive. While there are other Hitachi external drive models to cater to standard needs, Hitachi chose to send this model in for evaluation amongst the best of the best 500GB portable drives roundup. Here are a few key notes of the drive and it's accompanying materials:-

  • Water Resistant
  • Shock Proof
  • Built-in flexible USB cable (but it's short)
  • Hitachi local backup software (auto locates personal media for backup)
  • 3 years warranty

 

Iomega eGo Portable

Once known for the their Zip drives, CD and DVD writers, Iomega has come full circle to embrace the modern storage needs and is rapidly expanding to provide solutions from simple external hard drives to advanced but user-friendly NAS devices. EMC's buyout of Iomega in 2008 is the real catalyst for its rise back into the retail scene as EMC reaches out to new customers and distribution points and able to offer more mainstream solutions (thorough Iomega) in addition to enterprise services. For Iomega, it benefits from EMC's experience and software edge to offer a more robust solution to end-users.

In today's shootout, we have Iomega's eGo Portable series of hard drives which currently come in 320GB and 500GB variants, of which the latter is our concern in this article. Offered in ruby red, silver or blue aluminium enclosures with a simple silver trim around its perimeter, the eGo Portable is quite a looker. While it appears to have a portable drive form factor, it is however not compact enough to be pocketed.

 

The reason for its slight bulk is because Iomega's Drop Guard protection which assures the drive's reliability for accidental drops up to 1.3 meters in height. If you need even further robustness, this same drive is available in the BlackBelt edition which wraps the drive in cross-shaped rubber sleeve. Besides the drive's ruggedness, Iomega packs in some good software like Iomega's own QuickProtect software for continuous automated backups (PC and Mac compatible but it must be downloaded from their secured site), EMC Retrospect Express backup with data protection and McAfee's VirusScan Plus software (valid for 6 months usage). Probably the only thing we disliked of the drive was the bad placement of the LED drive status indicator and it's too small to be of practical relevance. And so here's the summary:-

  • Drop Guard protection (up to 1.3 meters in height)
  • Attractive aluminium enclosure
  • Bad LED indicator placement and size
  • Long USB cable
  • McAfee VirusScan Plus (6 months validity for Windows)
  • Iomega QuickProtect (continuous automated backups)
  • EMC Retrospect Express (backup with data protection)
  • 3 years warranty