Josh Norem Apr 30, 2013

Adata DashDrive Elite 500GB HE720 Review

At A Glance

Leaving a Big Tip

Looks cool; rugged; amazingly thin; software is straight-forward

Dine and Dash

Software could confuse people; drive is slower than the others; small capacity; loves fingerprints

The Adata drive is one of the sexiest USB drives we have ever tested, and is certainly the thinnest USB drive too, at just 8.9mm thick. It might not sound like much in today’s world of super-thin everything, but this puppy is thin. In fact, our research indicates it is the thinnest USB drive currently available.

If this roundup were a beauty contest, the DashDrive would easily win .

Since life isn’t fair, there’s a major downside to the drive’s flatness, which is that its single-platter capacity is limited to 500GB. When compared to its 1.5TB and 2TB rivals here, 500GB is but a morsel, really, but that’s the price you pay for its slim form factor. To that point, 500GB is the only capacity available for this model.

Despite its HE720 model name, which to our eyes suggests a 7,200rpm hard drive, this puppy sports a 5,400rpm drive inside its stainless steel chassis. Its physical size is 4.6 inches long and 3.1 inches wide, and it’s less than a half-inch tall. Its exterior shell is made with 9H stainless steel, which is resistant to scratches and looks slick but is too prone to fingerprints. The drive itself has only two mildly interesting features: a small, blue LED for activity and a tiny button located next to the USB 3.0 plug labeled “Backup.” Tapping the button triggers the included syncing software to open so you can configure and run backup routines. It would be handy if the backup button were in a more easily accessible location, as putting it right next to the USB plug makes it hard to reach.

The included Adata Sync software is PC-only and gets the job done for syncing, restoring, and backing up files, but it’s easily the most unpolished software in this roundup. As an example, if you try to open the software when it’s running in the background, you’ll see a pop-up error that contains what we can only assume is either a foreign language or gibberish. The Window also looks like it was built for Windows 98 and lacks the ease-of-use and look-and-feel of modern software, as it just gives you a split-window with “Source” on the left and “Destination” on the right, and you have to check boxes in a Windows Explorer interface to get it configured. This is not software we’d want our parents to use, that’s for sure. That said, we actually appreciate its unvarnished nature. You just tell it which folders you’re interested in and choose Backup, Restore, or Sync. You can then either manually back up everything you want or just schedule the software to run. It’s not glamorous or grandma-friendly, but we dig it.

During testing, the drive was the slowest here by a small margin, taking 11 minutes and 31 seconds to move 30 gigs of data onto its lone platter. We know people don’t buy these drives for speed, and they are all relatively slow compared to our desktop HDDs and SSDs, but we do take speed into consideration.

The DashDrive is a decent package despite its flaws. We like its simple software, hard steel shell, and thin size a lot, making it a solid drive, both literally and figuratively.

$150, www.adata-group.com


Adata DashDrive Elite 500GB HE720

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