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Latest update 15th Nov: 7 years warranty in the US, only 2years warranty in Europe
I want a compact, light weight, portable hard disk with reasonable capacity to back up data and files from my PCs and netbook.
Initially I was going to get a Freecom USB2.0 mobile drive because its compact and quiet design and my friend got one. However quite a few users on the internet said that Freecom product quality and customer support have been going downhill recently.
So I shopped around for similar product by other manufacturers. Then I saw this compact Verbatim USB 3.0 hard disk going for £52.99 at Amazon and in stock at the beginning of this month.
This was an amazing price for a much faster USB3.0 hard disk from Verbatim, a well known brand. However two days later after I have ordered it the price dropped to £51.84 for a few days. I should have waited for a couple of days man!
Fortunately the price did not go down too much too quickly and it is now back up to £52.99 again. Also, for around £55 I can have a coloured one (pink, blue, yellow, orange or green) instead but I like this black one better.
What is in the box?
One Store 'n' Go Portable Hard Drive USB 3.0 with 500GB capacity with a shinny black, polished ivory (piano) finish with
one port for the USB cable and near the port there is a blue LED indicator light for hard disk power on activities.
One USB 3.0 cable approximately 60cm long. One Quick Start Guide printed in 27 languages, with plenty of pictures to show you how to set it up with a laptop or PC or Mac.
Specification of the product:
The hard disk has a storage capacity of 500GB and a USB3.0 connectivity. Dimension: 1.5cm D x 8cm W x 12 cm L (smaller and slightly lighter than a pocket calculator) OS Compatibility: Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7, Mac OS X 10.1 or higher, Linux kernal 2.6 and higher. Approximately 146g in weight. Rotation rate: 5400rpm
Set up and install:
Connect the hard disk with the provided cable and plug it into the USB (1, 2 or 3) port of the PC. Since the hard disk is already formatted as a FAT32 partition, it can be accessed instantly with any PC running XP SP3 or above.
After the USB device drive for my hard disk had been installed (automatically under Windows 7), the hard disk inside is shown to be a 'Toshiba MK5059GSXP' drive.
Under Windows explorer, the root directory of the hard disk contains some free softwares and relevant manuals.
The free softwares are: 1. Verbatim VHDFormatter (PC & Mac versions in different folders)- to format the drive to NTFS or to convert the existing FAT32 to NTFS. NTFS partition can accept files > 4GB in size e.g. DVD disc images however it can not be read by a Mac. FAT32 is PC and Mac friendly.
2. Green Button (PC & Mac versions in different folders)- an energy saving software to send the hard disk to sleep if it is left idle for XXX minutes. However it may take a while to wake the hard disk.
Since I just use the hard disk for instant and short back up rather than leaving it connected to the PC for a long time e.g. a 400GB backup, I don't need this software.
3. Adobe reader (PC version 8.12; Mac version 6.0) - out of date; the latest Adobe reader PC version is now 10.
4. Nero BackItUp (PC version only)- Windows backup is sufficient or simply drag and drop using windows explorer.
5. Nero Burn Essentials (PC version only) - basic version, not really essential as Windows XP/Vista/7 already has CD/DVD burning capabilities. Also, there are other good free software such as 'BurnAware Free' available.
Theoretically USB 3.0 = SuperSpeed USB = up to 5 Gbit/s (640 MB/s) data transfer rate --> > 10 times faster than USB2.0 (480 Mbit/s) and backward compatible with USB2.0 (HiSpeed USB) and USB1.0 with the provided cable.
I have tested a transfer of 438MB of the Verbatim software and manuals folders (840 files & 434 folders) to the PC using a proper USB3.0 connection. It took 9s. Then I transferred the folders back to the USB hard drive and it took 48s. This is slow in comparison to my friend's Freecom USB2.0 mobile drive which only took 7s and 31s to transfer these folders to and from the PC respectively.
Having said that the Freecom drive is in NTFS format, not FAT32. So I re-formatted the Verbatim drive to NTFS and did the same test again. The results were much better - 8s and 17s instead of 9s and 48s previously.
To leave the Verbatim drive PC and Mac friendly, there is a big sacrifice of write speed (9.13 MB/s vs 25.7 MB/s) even with a USB3.0 connection.
Later on I tested a transfer of seven big files adding up to 10GB on both drives. Read speed (from USB drive to PC) Freecom USB2.0 - 5min 12s;Verbatim USB3.0 - 2min 40s. Write speed (from PC to USB drive) Freecom USB2.0 - 6min 37s; Verbatim USB3.0 - 3min 9s.
Conclusion: Verbatim USB3.0 is at least twice as fast as Freecom USB2.0 drive.
In addition, there is hardly any sound when the Verbatim drive is in operation.
This hard disk is compact, light weight, fast, quiet and at a very good price (Western digital or Seagate will cost £70 and £80 respectively). Now Verbatim also offers a 7-years limited warranty (needs online registration) which makes it even more attractive.