There have been heaps of ruggedised storage devices in the current market and the Hitachi Simple Tough is one of them. The most popular ones in the current market include the Iomega eGo Camo and Transcend StoreJet and there is not much to differentiate this Hitachi drive from the other rugged drives except for the fact that it does not look quite as bricklike as the alternatives. While the Transcend StoreJet 25 and Iomega eGo Camo Mobile hard drives offer a shielding outside that is planned to endure physical ill-treatment, we would gladly like to say you that Simple Tough seems to be the most durable with the skill to resist drops of up to three metres.
We know just exactly what you are thinking. It seems to be a basic formula with the ruggedised drives that more durable it is, the awful its looks are. The Hitachi SimpleTough walks on a thin line between unforgivable hideousness and extereme durability. The drive’s exterior is wrapped in carbon black rubber weaved with a silky surface which has a startling quantity of seize. Any of the concerns that we ever had about the drive’s backbone was immediately shut down by its big rubber shock bumper that protects the device on either sides. All these barriers seem to be muscular enough to guard all your precious data from 3 meter drops and pressure of up to a tonne, which is twice higher than what the eGo Camo could survive. Pulling apart the SimpleTough Rugged Hard Drive gave us a better idea on why it is so rugged; with the rubber walls removed and hard plastic casing taken apart, we found two large rubber sleeves wrapped around the Hitachi Travelstar hard drive.
The drive was very light, weighing just 267 grams and measured just (H x W x D) 15cm x 10cm x 3cm. Given the durability features, the dimensions seem to be very reasonable.
The Hitachi SimpleTough comes with only USB interface to connect it with the PCs and we also longed if only it had FireWire for the Mac users. The drive comes with a very fitting built-in chord that wraps around neatly and puts itself beneath the framework. But we were really annoyed with how clumsy and difficult it was to reattach the cable to the enclosure. This is a more user friendly and practical design compared to the other rugged drives. Even the chord is covered in hard plastic which will also last as much as the main part itself. Since the SimpleTough is powered by USB, there is no need of any exterior source of power.
Capacity and Compatibility:
The Hitachi SimpleTough is available in three capacities of 250GB, 350GB and 500GB. All three of the drives feature a 2.5” form factor and USB2.0 interface. The Hitachi external hard disk drive is pre-formatted with the FAT-32 file system, so it is compatible with both Macs and PCs.
Not only does Hitachi offer physical protection to your data, it also gives 2 tiered solutions in order to avoid data loss due to other circumstances. First solution is that, the home backup software allows you to set-up routine backups in order to host system. The other is ‘Ultimate Backup Software’ offers you 2 GB of complimentary storage online via Hitachi’s external servers. The company also offers you a freebie; a duplicate of Joggle which is Hitachi’s media organisational tool that allows you to analyse and organize photos, videos and music without going through the hassle to clicking through the numerous menu levels and websites. Additionally, the software also makes it effortless for you share content via personal web pages and social networks.
Read write speeds:
As always, we did some tests to compare Hitachi SimpleTough with three other external drives in a similar price range: the Iomega eGo Portable, Fujitsu HandyDrive and Trancend StoreJet 25F. On the tests, SimpleTough managed to come second next to Iomega eGo Portable with its read and write speed of 28.6MBps and 22MBps to do operations on a 6GB folder of mixed file types. But the differences in speed between the drives were very negligible that you will not even notice it unless you are planning on transferring a 20GB folder.
How can we ever leave an external hard drive that claims to be anti shock and spill proof without testing its ruggedness. After troubling it for a couple of days, the Hitachi SimpleTough certainly satisfied our expectations and came out with flying colours, withstanding several drops from a height of 4 meters and being showered with some water and no damage was done to the data whatsoever. But we found user complaints that bending the ribbed USB cable damaged it to a point that the drive refused to work unless it was on a certain angle. There were even complaints that some of them ran into issue within days of using the drive under normal conditions. So, we punished the chord in every possible way we possibly could, but time and again, it had no issues whatsoever. So, this comes to two conclusions: either the design flaw had been corrected silently or there was just one defective batch that went on the shelves.
The cost per gigabyte of SimpleTough comes at exactly the average for an external hard drive. Though some other drives like the Seagate Black Armour costs a bit more, the one we have in our hands is certainly not the cheapest in the market. As far as budget is concerned, the winner is Fujitsu HandyDrive.
Warranty and Support:
Hitachi offers SimpleTough portable external drive a warranty of three years, which is certainly appreciable. A comprehensive list of FAQs, user guides, and drivers are all available on the Hitachi Technical Support Web site, and telephone support is available 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Hitachi SimpleTough sure does impress us a lot with its ultra-durable design, a very handy software and convenient integrated USB cable. Having said that, taking a durable hard drive like the SimpleTough will make sure that if life on the cliff gets a bit rough, you will not have to go though the nuisance of loss of data. After testing the drive thoroughly, we could not find any fault with it. It would have been nice to get eSATA support, as this interface provides significant performance improvements over USB2.0. Considering most competing products also lack it, we cannot give Hitachi too much grief for overlooking the technology, but it would have certainly given them an edge. It is certainly great value for money. When combined with a handily included USB lead and a complete 3 years warranty, the SimpleTough is the perfect for carry-along travellers who need more space and an ultra-durable design.
Hitachi Simple Tough Hard Drive – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||Hitachi SimpleTough External Hard Drive|
|Model Numbers||250GB: ST/250GB-EMEA
|Drive type||Portable drive|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||15cm x 10cm x 3cm|
|Colours available||Carbon Black|
|Capacities available||250GB, 320GB and 500GB|
|Hard disk type||Mechanical|
|Compatible OS||Windows® XP, Windows Vista®,
Windows 7, Mac® OS® X Tiger® or Leopard®
|Data transfer rate||480 Mb/s|
|Microsoft Certifications||Compatible with Windows 7|
|Software included||Hitachi Local Backup , Joggle digital content manager|
|Power Source||USB bus|
|Package contents||USB 2.0 portable hard drive
Quick Install Guide