Review Samsung S1 Mini 1,8" 250 GB hard drive
Storage giant in tiny size
Already since a long time Samsung's Mini S1 hard drives belong to the smallest. Now models with a capacity of 250 GB are available too. Ideal on-the-move? We checked that.
USB-Sticks, ExpressCard memory and external 2.5" hard drives each have their individual disadvantages and are, therefore, not ideal on-the-move. While most sticks are small, light, and handy, they are slow and relatively expensive. Furthermore, they are not really appropriate for user with high demands on capacity. ExpressCard memory can be clearly faster, is comfortable in use, but, not cheaper. In addition, the capacity is limited to 64 GB at the time of writing. On the other hand external 2.5" hard drives are available with fast interfaces, relatively cheap and offer capacities up to 1TB. However, they won't fit into every notebook bag and are relatively heavy.
External 1.8 inch hard drives such as Samsung's Mini S1 could offer an ideal trade-off between storage capacity, performance, and handiness. Measuring 16mm (H) x 62mm (B) x 87mm (L) and weighing 85 g it cannot keep up with the size and weight of sticks and ExpressCards, but, it is clearly smaller than a 2.5 inch hard drive. At the time of writing, models with a capacity of 250 GB start below 80.- Euro (plus P&P). Other capacities (120 GB, 160 GB, 200 GB) are on offer too.
Furthermore, the S1 series is available in different colors whereby a practical mix of materials is used. Due to rubberized knobs the bottom side and parts of the side panels are especially sturdy. By contrast, the top side got a glossy finish decorated with delicate design elements.
The only interface available is a USB 2.0 port, which is, considering the performance of the 1.8" Samsung hard drive (Spinpoint N3U HS25YJZ), alright. The hard drive from Samsung offers a capacity of 250 GB, works at a revolution speed of 3600 rpm and uses 8 MB cache. We measured a maximum speed of 28.2 MB/s, which stays at that level for a long time. Not before the last third of the HDtune benchmark it falls to low 17 MB/s. Thereby, it seems that the hard drive controller slows down at the beginning, because the USB-ports of our test device could go faster in principal.
The write rates, which we recored with the CrystalDiskMark, is not on par with usual 2.5 inch USB hard drives, but just 20 MB/s. So, you have to be patient, when writing. The access time of just 29ms would not allow a use as system drive, because starting software, opening files would take sensibly long. Fortunately for the S1, this is not that revelant for external storage devices.
Compare also our HDD benchmark list.
The S1 Mini from Samsung in 1.8" size proves to be a very small drive with big capacity. The properly wrapped 250 GB fit into most notebook or netbook bags, and do not need an additional power supply. The reading speed is typical for USB-2.0 devices. Ideal on-the-move.