Review Freecom Mobile Drive XXS Leather 640 GB USB 3.0

Tobias Winkler (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 07/13/2011

Luxurious Leather. Nowadays, manufacturers produce devices with both good looks and good performance. The XXS Leather external hard disk is covered with fine leather and is aimed at the business world. Our test reveals how well this device performs.

The business world is home to a variety of gadgets, all of which meet a few basic requirements: they are reliable, sturdy and offer sufficient performance. The manufacturer may add additional features to their product so as to make it stand out of the crowd. These secondary features play an important role as customers and business partners will see them, and as such, garish colors, flashy tribals, or dirty surfaces (especially glossy surfaces), will leave a negative impression. So, the product needs to be conservative, yet at the same time it must have a certain degree of prestige, and offer as many advantages to the user as possible.

General

Black leather with an orange seam
Black leather with an orange seam
Slightly bigger than 1.8" hard disks
Slightly bigger than 1.8" hard disks

Conventional external storage devices use cases made of synthetic material, but the Freecom Mobile Drive XXS Leather proves to be an exception. It is a external hard disk with a 2.5" form factor and a case made of fine leather. The material feels warm and luxurious, and is sure to make the product stand out of the crowd. A orange seam runs around the edge of the device, binding the leather to the hard disk inside, and giving the device a nice exclusive look. The Mobile Drive XXS measures 113 x 86 x 10 mm and has a weight of around 160 grams. This indicates that the device is very mobile. However, due to the relatively large size, the device is almost as big as the Freecom Mobile Drive Mg - the biggest 2.5" external hard disk we have ever tested.

The great performance of the device is thanks to a 640 GB hard disk from an unknown manufacturer. We think that the hard disk runs at 5400 rpm (revolutions per minutes) due to the low noise emissions, and that it has at the very least a 8 MB cache, if not more. We could not ascertain the exact hard disk model with our usual software tools and we did not want to remove the seam to take a peek inside as that would ruin the wonderful case. The only opening in the leather casing is the USB 3.0 port which is responsible for the data transfer and the power supply. Usually, using a single USB 3.0 port for supplying power and transferring data makes the device unreliable. Thankfully, the XXS Leather did not show any such problem. The HP Probook 6540b, USB 3.0 ExpressCard, ThinkPad X220 and our desktop PC all worked flawlessly with the Freecom hard disk.

Performance

HD Tune
HD Tune
Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark

The USB 3.0 interface allows the device to show off its high performance. We recorded a maximum data transfer rate of 97 MB/s and on average a sequential read rate of 71 MB/s. These are good values which are only trumped by hard disks which operate at a faster 7200 rpm or SSDs (Solid State Drive). The high performance is useful for many tasks and reduces data transfer times significantly. The sequential read and write speeds are also quite good with a maximum of 89 MB/s, which means that this hard disk lies at the top of its performance category. So, the Mobile Drive XXS Leather is visually appealing, pleasant to touch and offers great performance - all of which makes the device even more exclusive.

Of course, the real reason why this device is exclusive is because of its price: the street price is currently around 100 Euros (120 Euros Freecom Shop). This is a steep price for our test model which has a capacity of 640 GB. 2.5" external hard disks are available for less than 60 Euros without the luxurious additional features offered by our test model (ADATA Nobility NH01). Iomega's Prestige Portable not only has USB 3.0 and a larger capacity of 1 TB, it also costs less than 80 Euros. So, all-in-all, this pricing will make our test model truly exclusive.

external mobile USB 3.0 hard disks comparison
external mobile USB 3.0 hard disks comparison

Verdict

The Freecom Mobile Drive XXS Leather will appeal to those buyers who are looking for something special. The exclusive leather cover is chic, exceptional and comfortably conservative. The performance meets the latest standards for 2.5 inch external hard disks, which means that the user can enjoy a fast work experience. In addition, the device is very mobile. However, the price is quite high (above-average according to our hard disk comparison).

In Review: Freecom Mobile Drive XXS Leather 640 GB USB 3.0
In Review: Freecom Mobile Drive XXS Leather 640 GB USB 3.0
The leather-bound, luxury hard disk from Freecom is very exclusive.
The leather-bound, luxury hard disk from Freecom is very exclusive.
Performance and capacity are good and the transfer rates are appropriate.
Performance and capacity are good and the transfer rates are appropriate.
Very flat, but slightly broader than most other external hard disks of this form factor,...
Very flat, but slightly broader than most other external hard disks of this form factor,...
...still it should fit into notebook bags without any problems.
...still it should still fit into notebook bags without any problems.
This external hard disk might not be as compact as a 1.8" hard disk,...
This external hard disk might not be as compact as a 1.8" hard disk,...
...but it does offer USB 3.0 which gives significantly faster transfer rates.
...but it does offer USB 3.0 which gives significantly faster transfer rates.

Shortcut

What we like

flat, luxurious, fast

What we'd like to see

a better price-to-performance ratio

Was surprises us

that leather seems to work very well as a case

The competition

is overwhelming in the 2.5" external hard disk category. 640 GB hard disks with USB 3.0, such as the ADATA Nobility NH01, are available for less than 60 Euros. However, those are not nearly as stylish, slim and light as the Freecom Mobile Drive XXS.

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Author: Tobias Winkler, 2011-07-13 (Update: 2012-05-26)