7 mobile hard drives: More portable and more powerful
The 500GB Seagate Slim -- not to be confused with Buffalo's drive of the same name -- has style to spare, with a brushed-metal black top (also available in silver) and a pulsing sliver-shaped status LED sliced into that top. It is, in a word, gorgeous, by far the most attractive portable hard drive in the group. And, yes, it's slim, only 0.4 in. in depth -- though that metal exterior makes it slightly heavier than competing drives.
Sometimes good looks belie what's underneath, but the Seagate blew the doors off most of the others in this roundup. Only Western Digital's My Passport Ultra turned in faster benchmark scores, and those by a narrow margin. What's more, the Seagate is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems, requiring no reformatting to switch between them.
Seagate's Dashboard software took an annoyingly long time to install, required a reboot, and ultimately failed to run on two Windows 8 testbed systems, crashing after each launch attempt. And although it provides convenient one-click and scheduled backup options, including handy archive capabilities for your Flickr, Facebook and other social-network media, it has no security or encryption features.
That's a potential deal-breaker for business users, who might otherwise appreciate the Slim's attention-getting design and blazing speed. Likewise, Seagate's crash-prone software makes this drive more frustrating than it should be.
Although Silicon Power isn't as well-known as some of the other brands in the group, its Diamond D20 drive bears a strong resemblance to the Buffalo MiniStation Slim and Seagate Slim, at least in terms of form factor and capacity. It's a compact 500GB drive with a solid aluminum chassis. There's only one color choice, a glossy white that resists both fingerprints and scratches, and although it has a plasticky finish, it's pretty.
It's also pokey, at least compared with the four other non-Wi-Fi drives. The D20 had the lowest test scores of them all, though it was practically tied with Toshiba's Canvio Connect and not far behind Buffalo's drive. Still, if performance is your key concern, this isn't the drive to pick.
On the other hand, if you're more interested in reliability, this is definitely a drive to consider: Silicon Power backs it with an above-average three-year warranty.
The company includes no software on the drive, which might please power users who tend to delete such bundleware anyway. For those who want it, Silicon Power's SP Widget (Windows only) is available for download, but you can do better than this mediocre mix of backup and security utilities.
As of this writing, the Diamond was selling only at Amazon for a price of just $51.69 -- making it the most affordable drive in the group. Beyond that, it's a decent, if unexciting, portable drive notable for its durability and excellent warranty.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Storage Hardware White Papers | Webcasts