There was a time when backing up data was really a pain in the neck. One had to resort to loads of CDs or DVDs and what not just to store and backup data. Thanks to the EHDs, storing data has never been this easy. Fujitsu, the Japanese major is an established player in the electronics segment. Computing Storage is one area where the company has been looking to gain a market share. In a bid to do so, they have launched several EHDs to suit the several needs of customers worldwide. Amongst their various lines, the StorageBird series is one that has received a good response from the public. The latest amongst their products is the Fujitsu StorageBird Solo 35 UB, an elegant and smart device meant for storing all those pictures, music files, videos and any other user defined data. It connects to notebooks and PC s via the USB interface making it easy to use as well. The 3.5 inch hard disk drive with a storage capacity of 1TB claims to be perfect for home and office use. Does the drive live up to its claims? Read the review to find out.
The first impression you get on seeing the drive is how well designed it is considering the fact that it is cheaper than the Western Digital My Book Essential drive. The body of the drive is slim and is perhaps made out of aluminium. The enclosure seems to be made up of good quality material and it looks pretty compact and sturdy.
The front of the drive has a black covering whereas the rest of the body is silver toned. The Fujitsu Siemens logo is embossed on the left side of the front. On the right side are present two buttons: One for power and the other for backup. There is also an eye catching LED status indicator, which is a long strip of blue almost as long as the length of the device. The back side of the device has two ports. There is a USB 2.0 port that one can use to plug into the PC and there is a DC Input port as well. So, the device looks sleek with minimal buttons and decent functionality.
The built of the StorageBird device is solid and concrete like. Though the device is a bit smaller than most other drives of 1TB storage size, it can resist external pressure thanks to its rigid aluminium body. The threshold limit is high enough that if it slips from your hand, there would be neither any scratches on the device nor any sort of internal damage. This is a good thing considering most of us are extremely clumsy.
There was a time when external hard drives were so large that they needed to be in air conditioned rooms. A lot has changed since then. At dimensions of (W x H x D) 203 x 38 x 118 cm, the device is pretty sleek and compact. It weighs a measly 1.2 Kgs and that includes the adapter. That makes it perfect for people to carry it around just like a mobile phone.
LED Status Indicator:
One of the aesthetic highlights of the Fujitsu StorageBird 35 UB is the blue status LED indicator. Enormous is not enough to describe how huge it actually is. It lights up whenever the drive is working. When it flashes, it fills the entire room with its colour. This could be distracting for many people and trying to face the drive away would solve this minor issue. However, we noticed that the light leaks a bit from the metal body and plastic end. Minor design flaws, not really a huge issue.
Vertical and Horizontal Operation possible:
There is a stand provided with the drive for smooth vertical operation. It is smooth and has a grippy foam rubber that stays with it while you lift it. The stand allows a better air flow and the rubbery base ensures vibration is reduced when it is on a hard surface. The drive works in both horizontal and vertical position and hence can be placed on a desk according to one’s needs. We suggest you go for the horizontal position if you have kids or pets.
The Fujitsu StorageBird Solo 35 UB sports a USB 2.0 interface that supports almost all portable USB devices. With a transfer rate up to 480mbps, the drive’s interface makes it compatible for any kind of digital media. However, there are drives that have the Firewire and eSATA interface as well. Thus, the Solo 35 UB loses out to such drives when it comes to a better compatibility. But if only backing up of data is your concern, a USB 2.0 port will suffice.
The Fujitsu StorageBird Solo 35 UB external hard drive is a plug and play device. So, that means to start storing data all you need to do is just plug in the drive to your PC and store files in it. All hassles of installing separate software to use the drive are eliminated. This is a standard feature in almost all EHDs in the market and this is a feature expected in standard 1 TB drives, so nothing extraordinary here. However, for backing up data, you would have to install the Nero Backitup2 Essential software provided along with the drive on a CD.
The Solo 35 UB meant for storing larger amounts of data is available in capacities starting from 500GB. There are 750GB and 1TB versions of the drive available as well. The 1TB drive being reviewed is capable of storing about 25,000 songs theoretically assuming each song is about 4 MB each. The actual memory is lesser due to restrictions placed by operating systems and formatting. The 1 TB drive has only about 930 MB of space meant for usage. That is still a huge amount of space for most users.
The Drive is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP , Microsoft Windows Vista and all their editions. It is preformatted to FAT32 which is fine if you would not transfer files larger than 4 GB as FAT32 does not support it. There is an option to reformat this to NTFS on Vista and Mac.
Nero Backitup 2 Essentials:
The Nero Backitup 2 Essential software enables one to do instant backup of files, folders and the entire main hard drive by just plugging in the hard drive using the USB cable. The software has features that include full synchronization and backup from a PC or a notebook’s internal drive.
One of the USPs of the device is the Backup Button. On the plastic black end of the drive is present the backup button represented by a ‘b’. This button enables one touch backup of your data. When the drive is plugged on to your PC and you click the button, and all data is synchronised and information stored in their PC or laptop would get stored in the drive. Thus it allows storage of all important data in a separate safe location at the touch of a button.
Powered using External Power Supply:
Unlike certain USBs that are powered by being plugged to a PC, the Fujitsu StorageBird is powered using an external power supply. The presence of a power button allows one to switch on or off the drive whenever needed. Also another noteworthy feature is the presence of Intelligent Power Management feature. The drive switches itself off after certain time of not being in use and thus saves a lot of unnecessary wastage of power.
Decent Read and Write Speed:
The Fujitsu StorageBird Solo 35 UB Desktop Hard Drive has a reading speed of 30.5MBps and a writing speed of about 26MBps under test conditions. When we plugged it into a notebook and tried transferring files of 100 GB size, it took little over 3 hours to transfer. These are reasonably decent values and hence the drive is okay if one is looking for a no frills drive for the sake of backup. There are drives with better speeds such as the Western Digital My Passport SE (has an average of 34MBps reading speed and 29MBps writing speed) but they are not as economical as the Fujitsu drive is.
Less Heat and Lesser Noise:
We did leave the drive to run for about 3 hours while transferring 100GB of data and after that, the drive was lukewarm at 33 degrees. Using the drive in an open and well ventilated place while usage will help in keeping the drive cooler for a longer while. When it comes to the noise, the device is pretty quiet and we literally heard nothing even while transferring the biggest of files.
Low Power Consumption:
Under test conditions, the drive consumed about 17 watts of power and lesser than 3.5 watts while in sleep mode. That is pretty low energy consumption and hence the drive scores points here on being energy conscious.
What is in the Box?
The Fujitsu StorageBird Solo 35 UB comes along with a Power pack, a USB cable, a detachable base for vertical operation, Backup software on a CD ROM and a Quick Installation Guide.
The StorageBird Solo 35 UB has a warranty of one year which is highly disappointing as there are EHDs in the market with warranties up to 5 years. Considering that there have been complaints of instability of the Western Digital hard drive inside, one year simply does not seem sufficient.
Does Fujitsu succeed in delivering a great product? The answer is a yes and a no. The StorageBird Solo 35 UB is a decent EHD with a huge memory and good transfer speeds. Not only that, it seems to outdo many of the aesthetically challenged drives in the market as well. The device feels sturdy and is resistant to scratches and damage. The one touch backup feature is yet another noteworthy feature. All this bundled along with the Nero Backitup 2 Essential software make it an ideal drive for storing data. However, the drive has its share of flaws. The LED is a bit too bright and does attract criticism for not being discrete. But the major problem is with the growing number of complaints regarding the failure of these drives after a short period of time. One user reportedly said “The Drive was great while it lasted”. Let us hope that Fujitsu finds solutions to this problem soon. If they do, this product will certainly be a great hit.
Read reviews of latest, best selling External Hard Drives in this website.
Fujitsu StorageBird Solo 35 UB – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||StorageBird Solo 35 UB|
|Model Numbers||500GB: S26341-F103-L17
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||203 x 38 x 118 cm|
|Hard disk drive capacity||1TB|
|Capacities available||500GB , 750GB and 1TB|
|Form Factor||3.5 inch|
|Spindle speed||7200 rpm/ 5400 rpm. The drive we used had a spindle speed of 5400 rpm|
|Average seek time||12ms (Read) / 14ms (Write)|
|External Data Transfer||30.5 MBps read speed
25.5 MBps write speed
|Operating Temperature||0 to 35 degree centigrade|
|System Requirements||Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Vista
CD ROM Drive, PC with a minimum free HDD Capacity of 105 MB
1 free USB 1.1 or 2.0 port.
|Special features||Integrated Backup Capability
Vertical or Horizontal placement
|Package contents||StorageBird Solo 35 UB, Power Pack, USB cable,
Backup software, Quick Installation Guide, Manual
|Power consumption||17 watts
And 3.5 watts in sleep mode
|Power Supply||Input 100 – 240 V|