Published on March 15th, 2012 | by Greg0
Hitachi: Go Slim Or Go Big This Spring
You might think that hard drives and disk storage are less than sexy. And sometimes, they are- internal hard disks are pretty similar, and don't vary much in terms of features or capabilities. But external drives differ in many ways from one another, and not just in packaging, design, and casing. We have looked at many over the years, and they generally fall into two categories: lower capacity, smaller portable drives, and those meant for sitting on a desktop and offering serious space.
Hitachi offers both kinds, amongst many others. We sat down with them at CES and got a good look at their upcoming product lines- we love their G-Drives for incredibly sexy looks, and have even put their internal 3 TB drives through the paces. Most recently, we've been checking out another of their 3 terabyte offerings, the Touro Desk Pro, which is available in one and two terabyte models as well. We liked the stackable design, and the switchable horizontal or vertical orientation. Plus. this one comes with USB 3.0 built-in; it's backwards compatible with USB 2.0 of course. Those who need Firewire should look elsewhere, but everyone else can enjoy the great transfer rates (we got 60-100 MB/s!).
The Touro Desk Pro line is slightly more expensive than some competitors, but has a reputation for pretty solid durability- and comes with cloud storage options. You'll get 3GB of storage free, and can upgrade to a paid account for up to 250GB. Plus there are iPad and Android apps for the shared online backup. One oddity is that it lacks a power button, meaning that you'll need to simply unplug it to turn it off. The drive does run quietly though, which is nice, and cables are included- though they are fairly short. Overall, this is a solid contender, a capable entry in the external multi-terabyte category. At $200 and available widely, we did like the piano black, which was sleek if a little plasticky.
Hitachi also sent their G-Drive Slim, a tiny, lightweight 500 gigabyte drive. Their Touro Mobile Pro line offers USB 3.0, so if you need the faster bus speed, you'll want to look at them instead- the G-Drives only run USB 2.0. But they are meant as sleek companions for the Apple Macbook Air, with similar styling and an aluminum body, so the interface choice makes sense. Plus, it was Time Machine ready, and Mac formatted.
Based on the ultra-thin Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500, you won't need any external power cable for this one, which is nice. Free unlimited technical support likely won't be necessary, and the three-year warranty is nice in case of any issues. All in all, this is one of the better portable drives for Macs that we've seen and used, in a form factor that is sexy and unique. Expect to spend a bit over $100, a reasonable price premium for the lighter weight and smaller form factor.