Review Iomega eGO 500GB USB 2.0 for Mac and PC

by Tobias Winkler, 06/26/2010

Small, light and chic.

Iomega offers an external USB 2.0 hard disk in a matt aluminum look that allegedly looks great with a Mac or PC on the move. Read in our review if this has been accomplished.

The Iomega eGo Helium doesn't belong to the most inexpensive reps of this memory division with a street price of almost 80.00 euro. It only has one USB 2.0 port, aside its capacity of 500GB. A separate power socket isn't provided. Nevertheless, the power supply via USB cable worked perfectly in the test so that there shouldn't be any restrictions in mobile use.

Bild Iomega: MacBook Air with Iomega eGo Helium
Bild Iomega: MacBook Air with Iomega eGo Helium

A Seagate hard disk (9500325AS) with an 8 MB cache is used and works with a rotation velocity of 5400 rpm. The manufacturer states a weight of 200 g; we assessed 155 g without the cable (180 g with cable). The case is kept in an aluminum look, but is made of plastic and has a roughened, matt surface. The external memory is designed to match to the MacBook Air. A fan doesn't exist. You only hear quiet noises at hard disk access as the known read/write head clacking.

HD Tune: Iomega Helium USB 2.0
HD Tune: Iomega Helium USB 2.0

Barely connected, the automatic device recognition starts as usual and the drivers are installed. The mass memory is ready to use within a few seconds. The transfer rates are within the notorious USB 2.0 level under Windows and are limited by this interface. The Seagate hard disk's performance generally has a burst rate of up to 80 MB/s and 60 MB/s on average. See our comprehensive hard disk benchmark list for comparison. We determined a transfer rate (read) of 29 MB/s for both an HP Probook 6540b (Win 7 Professional 64bit) and a Max Mini (Vista HP 32bit). We achieved a good 33 MB/s on the USB 3.0 port of an Iomega USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34.

The disk is also recognized immediately on the Mac Mini under Mac OS X Leopard and supplies even better rates. We achieved almost 37 MB/s (read/write) with Xbench here. Thus, it appears that not only the design but also the performance has been optimized for Macs.


The Iomega eGO Helium 500GB is very recommendable for Macs, particularly for the MacBook Air in this case, due to the relatively fast transfer rates. It also seems to be created for them. In return, Windows users get somewhat lower transfer rates and should look for models with a much faster eSATA or USB 3.0 port.

The low weight, the easy to clean surface and the easy use with only one cable is pleasing for both "worlds". Thus, a good job has been done on the mobile characteristics. If the higher price in comparison to the one or other competitor is justified by the aforementioned traits is ultimately dependent on individual needs.

In Review: Iomega eGO Helium 500GB USB 2.0
In Review: Iomega eGO Helium 500GB USB 2.0
What more do you want? Perfect for on the go.
What more do you want? Perfect for on the go.
Compact and light – it fits in almost every notebook case.
Compact and light – it fits in almost every notebook case.


What we like

Slim, light and chic with an easy to clean surface. High performance under Mac OS X.

What we miss

The Helium only has basic services due to its design. eSATA or USB 3.0 are capable of a lot more.

What surprises us

That the Helium has a notable speed boost under Mac OS X.

The competitors

Is very vast and often less expensive. The minority have combination of a slim, light and easy to clean surface, though.

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Tobias Winkler, 2010-07- 2 (Update: 2012-05-26)