If you’ve ever wished you could just leave your USB key on your desk or in your pocket and still access the files on it wirelessly, SanDisk’s new media drives are sort of what you’re looking for. Unfortunately for power users, these wireless media drives don’t quite fit the bill when it comes to file sharing, but they are great for sharing media with portable devices, and they are dead simple to use, too. They also double as pocket-ready Wi-Fi access points.
Note: This review was originally featured in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.
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.
In this group, the Toshiba Canvio initially came across as the vanilla stepchild—nothing to get excited about, at least in this company, given its bland exterior and specs. We tested the 1.5TB version of the drive, which is the highest capacity offered by Toshiba. Surprisingly, it’s almost as thick as the 2TB WD drive despite its 500GB capacity deficit, so the lesson here is that if you’re going big on a USB drive, prepare to be toting around a Hot Pocket-size enclosure. The 1.5TB drive is only available in black, a decision we are just fine with since we don’t need nor want fancy colors on our USB storage. If you favor a splash of color attached to your USB port, you’ll have to get by with less capacity, as only the 500GB and 1TB models are available in red, blue, and gray (as well as black, natch).
The Toshiba drive wins the contest of lamest names for devices and software, but is still the best drive here.
At 2TB, WD’s My Passport is the largest-capacity USB hard drive we’ve ever tested, and its four chunky 500GB platters rotate at 5,400rpm. In the palm it feels about as thick as a huge English muffin with a piece of ham in the middle, or a water-logged deck of cards; it’s the thickest drive in this roundup, but only by a tiny margin over the 1.5TB Toshiba. Though this drive is pudgier than the rest at 0.8-inch thick, it’s noticeably shorter than the other two drives at just 4.2 inches long. It comes in a variety of pleasingly subtle, matte color finishes (red, blue, black, gray, white) and is available in sizes ranging from 500GB to 2TB.
Three USB hard drives: WD My Passport vs Toshiba Canvio Plus vs Adata DashDrive Elite
There are times when a USB key can’t handle the action we’re throwing at it and we need something bigger to step in and get the job done. Like a police officer calling for backup, it’s at these times that we summon a USB 3.0 hard drive. This latest batch of drives offers something for everyone, from WD’s huge 2TB jobbie to Adata’s super-thin, sexy little thang. Toshiba’s 1.5TB drive is thrown into the mix, too, for folks looking for a basic, affordable, high-capacity solution.
Note: This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Everything about the Aegis Secure Key telegraphs that Apricorn is serious about the whole data-security thing. The Secure Key has 256-bit AES full hardware encryption, so it doesn’t require software or drivers—it’s completely platform-independent, and it will even work with USB On-the-Go devices like Android tablets. This is a big deal—many drives ship with software encryption clients, but those rarely include software compatibility beyond Mac and Windows.
Enter the wrong PIN 10 times and the Aegis will shred your data to prevent brute-force attacks.
Most computer users have probably found themselves at the wrong end of a malware-infected USB flash drive at least once. In fact, as US Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III recently revealed, even the mighty US military has firsthand experience of the damage a rogue USB flash drive can cause. Their ubiquity has made portable storage devices the ideal carriers for computer worms. But how popular exactly are they among malware authors? Panda Security's research arm PandaLabs claims to possess the answer.
The security company estimates that a quarter of all new worms use portable storage devices to spread themselves. It arrived at such a high estimate after surveying more than 10,000 small and medium firms. "Much of the malware in circulation has been designed to distribute through these devices," said Luis Corrons, the technical director of PandaLabs, in a statement. "Not only does it copy itself to these gadgets, but it also runs automatically when a USB device is connected to a computer, infecting the system practically transparently to the user."
Updated 5/06/10 12:30PST to reflect Seagate comments on pricing.
Yesterday Seagate announced their new FreeAgent GoFlex line of external drives, which is actually more interesting than it sounds. Instead of a standard 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drive with a SATA-to-USB controller inside, a GoFlex drive wears its controller on the outside. The GoFlex drive is not much more than a hard drive with a minimal plastic sheath and a SATA port, into which the drive controller itself is plugged. This allows you to change out drive controllers when you upgrade your system, plug the bare drive directly into a dock (like the GoFlex Net network-storage device or GoFlex TV HD media player, or (hopefully) just plug it into your rig for SATA speed with no overhead.
The GoFlex has modular cables, so today's USB 2.0 drive can become tomorrow's USB 3.0 drive easily.
In some alternate world, Fabrik’s SimpleTech Redrive is winning a Kick Ass award from Green PC—Maximum PC’s eco-conscious sister publication. This is the most environmentally friendly external storage device we’ve ever tested. From its packaging, to its construction, to its guts, the Redrive is designed with a single purpose in mind: saving the planet. As a byproduct of this, the drive saves you energy and, consequently, money.
Buffalo Technology, makers of high-end storage and networking peripherals (their products are apparently very popular in Japan), today announced several new products which they hope will bolster their market share in the US. One of the more exciting products they showed us is the Mini-Station portable hard drive, which is easily the smallest hard drive we’ve seen, period. The 60GB storage device is a mere 5 millimeters thick (.2 inches), and measures 3.4 by 2.2 inches. Inside the tiny frame is the smallest external spinning hard drive on the market, a single platter 1.8” drive.