Review Iomega eGO Portable 500GB USB 3.0

By Tobias Winkler, 06/30/2010

USB 3.0 with a pulled handbrake.

Slowly, USB 3.0 interfaces are filling the manufacturer's shelves as peripheral supplies. The eGo Portable USB 3.0 from Iomega has now been added and has to prove its performance in this review.

External hard disk in a 2.5" size bid a good compromise of size, weight and performance. In the meantime, capacities with up to 1 Terabyte are available, which also set new standards in mobile memory capacity. In many cases there isn't even a need for an additional power supply because the utilized notebook hard disks work quite frugally and sufficient power can be drawn from most ports. Thus there are hardly any restrictions in mobility.

High-gloss finishing soon reveals traces of use
High-gloss finishing soon reveals traces of use

The Iomega eGo Portable USB 3.0 gleams at us in an elegant high-gloss coat with thin ornamental stripes as we unpack it. The charcoal colored finish with a slightly flecked texture is pleasing to the eye, but is infested rather quickly by ugly fingerprints after a short usage. In this regard, we liked the previously reviewed Iomega Helium USB 2.0 a lot more.

There's no reason for complaint in terms of stability and workmanship. The integrated rubber feet on the bottom provide for a non-slip stance. It is 75 g heavier than the Iomega Helium with a weight of 230g, but is also 70 g lighter than the LaCie rugged USB 3.0.

Gripping rubber feet
Gripping rubber feet
HD Tune: Iomega eGo Portable USB 3.0
HD Tune: Iomega eGo Portable USB 3.0
Comparison: Maximum transfer rates of external hard disks
Comparison: Maximum transfer rates of external hard disks

The only interface found is the, already implied by the name, USB 3.0 port. There is no additional power socket. Nevertheless, the power supply worked perfectly with the various tested USB 2.0 ports, on the MacMini and the Iomega, as well as the Raidsonic USB 3.0 ExpressCard.

As in the Iomega Helium USB 2.0, a Seagate ST9500325AS is used as the hard disk, which has an 8 MB cache and rotates with 5400 rpm. The hard disk's performance is fully exhausted with an average of 65.1 MB/s and a maximum of 82.1 MB/s, but not that of the USB 3.0 port. Current 2.5" hard disks that rotate with 7200 rpm are capable of a lot more and reach transfer rates of over 100 MB/s. See our comprehensive HDD benchmark list for comparison. The previously reviewed LaCie rugged USB 3.0, for example, achieved notably faster rates with an average of 83.2 MB/s and maximum of 103 MB/s.

You'll have to be satisfied with the USB 2.0 port's corresponding average of not quite 30 MB/s under both Windows and Mac.

The Iomega eGO portable USB 3.0 500 GB's with a starting price of 85.00 euro plus shipping (street price) is in the inexpensive center field.

Verdict

The Iomega eGO Portable USB 3.0 looks great due to its elegant case and with the competitive MB/euro ratio, in terms of price. The drive can be used versatile via USB 2.0 and even on a Mac.  Not everyone will like the difficult to care for and, in comparison to many competitors, heavy case. However, the comparatively slow transfer rates, despite the actually faster USB 3.0 port, are a real disappointment in matters of fast data transfer.

In Review: Iomega eGO Portable 500GB USB 3.0
In Review: Iomega eGO Portable 500GB USB 3.0
Considerably easier to clean: eGO Helium USB 2.0
Considerably easier to clean: eGO Helium USB 2.0
The only port: USB 3.0
The only port: USB 3.0
The slow hard disk with 5400 rpm puts on the brakes
The slow hard disk with 5400 rpm puts on the brakes

Shortcut

What we like

The multifarious possibilities of use and the elegant appearance.

What we miss

A faster 7200 rpm hard disk.

What surprises us

That devices designed for mobile use are still made with high-gloss surfaces.

The competitors

There aren't many yet. The competitor's prices start at about 70.00 euro (500 GB). The desired speed is currently only available in models with fast hard disks that rotate with 7200 rpm.

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Author: Tobias Winkler, 2010-07- 5 (Update: 2012-05-26)