S2-320 – USB 2.0 interface, 320gb capacity Portable hard drive from Samsung
We know that Samsung is an established manufacturer of 2 inch internal laptop hard disks and so, it is not a surprise that they have decided to release their own range of portable external hard drives. S2 is Samsung’s current flagship model portable hard drive that is unique in its own right. We say that the hard drive is unique as it relies on the on-board USB technology, in order to reduce the length of the chassis, making it an extremely compact hard drive; in fact it is smaller than the Western Digital Passport. So, what have they done? We have to assume that the engineers of Samsung have native SATA interface and replaced it with USB. In the following review, we will see in detail about the Samsung S2 320GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive.
Sleek and stylish design:
We are sure that most of you must have came across the Samsung Costume hard drive concept back in mid of 2008. The S2 drive is styled in such a way that it looks completely at home when placed along with the various make-up products. So, no wonder, this portable hard drive is a hit among the techie ladies. Weighing just 154grams, the Samsung HXMU032DA is one of the lightest 2.5″ portable storage solutions available in this capacity. The drive has a very stylish and clean design and is available in four very pleasing colours like Piano Black, Snow White, Wine Red and Chocolate brown to suite the tastes of everybody.
Construction and Interface:
The enclosure is made out of plastic but is attractive nonetheless. The casing and the mountings have a very solid construction. While the front of the device is plain with the matte finishing of the above mentioned colours, the sides of the unit are given a metallic finishing of the corresponding shade. The top surface has simple and repetitive pattern of circles printed to it. The rear side of the drive has leather like surface and has the anti-slip characteristic, which prevents the drive from sliding away from the desk. The drive has a mini USB 2.0 port as interface. A blue LED on the facia of the S2 drive indicates the operation of the drive.
You can also easily check available space in the S2 through the capacity gauge icon located on the taskbar of Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Capacities available and Compatibility:
The Samsung S2 external hard drive is available in four capacities which includes 160GB, 250GB, 320GB and 500GB.
The drive is compatible with both Windows and Mac Operating Systems.
Set-up and Installation of S2 320:
The installation of the Samsung S2 320GB hard drive can never get easier. Just plug in the drive, and the system will recognise it, simple and straightforward. Once the drive is installed and the auto-run application loads, you will be presented with the screen that allows you to either read the manual or install the backup software of Samsung that includes some backup and security features. The interface looks very green, may be the drive is eco friendly.
The Samsung S2 HXMU032DA external computer hard drive is based on the Spinpoint M hard drive series that runs at 5400rpm, offering 8MB of cache and a Serial ATA 300 interface.
We did three simple tests on the drive. A file copy to, file copy from and a file copy within the drive itself. We also have the Western Digital Passport Essential for the sake of some comparison. The transfer rates turned out to be pretty similar between both the drives; while the Western Digital drive was faster than the Samsung S2 in copying the larger files, Samsung has the upper hand when it comes to copying the smaller files. Said that, the speeds are comparatively slower when compared to most of the other external hard drives in the market, which is mainly due to the fact that both the drives are limited by their USB 2.0 interface. The CPU utilisation while copying from the drive to the system was about 30%, by when the process is done vice-versa, the CPU utilization reduces to about 20%. During the process of data transferring, there was very little vibration transmitted from the drive to the external casing.
As we had mentioned in the installation section, the software bundle of the Samsung S2 drive has a backup and an encryption software. Make sure that you have the backup of these software before the drive is formatted, however, you have nothing to worry if you have lost it as you can always get a copy of the same from Samsung’s site.
Samsung Auto Backup software:
If you have installed the Samsung Auto Backup software, the Auto Backup starts up immediately on plugging in the S2 portable drive. The application provides both manual and scheduled backup features. It has a very neat interface and is quite easy to use. The software has a file filter dialog box that allows you select various types of files that you want a back-up of. The backup software is preset to backup the documents, but not the multimedia files such as photos, videos or music; they have to be selected manually. The backups can be password protected and the utility includes versioning, scheduling and compression.
As we had mentioned above, there are two ways to backup data: Manual Backup and Quick Backup. And the backup options have to be configured before using the Samsung Auto Backup.
The Manual Backup process includes designating the path to the backup device, configuring of the various backup options, selecting the files that need a backup and choose the kind of backup required (Manual or Automatic). Once you have successfully configured the auto backup software, a new icon appears on your system tray.
In order to do a quick backup, select files and folders that you wish to backup, right click on your selection and then select the “Quick Backup” from the context menu. The Quick Backup will only function with the backup device configured properly. The files and folders that have been backed up with Quick Backup are automatically stored as backups of the originals.
The backup data can also be restored with the Samsung Auto Backup. To do this, you will have to launch the restore wizard. There are three ways by which this can be done: Right click on the selected files and click over “Restore”, Select “Restore” from “Task” menu and the third way is to Click on “Restore” from the toolbar. In the first screen that prompts you to select the restore backup destination, you can either choose to backup the files to their original folder or designate a new destination folder to restore the backup files to. Restore wizard will then present restore time and duplicate file restoring options. You will be able to choose to restore backup files from the most recent backup or from the closest backup to a specified date and time. As for duplicate backup files, you have the option to restore backup files that are different from their originals only or to restore all the files. Restore file filter wizard lets you designate the types of files you wish to restore.
The Samsung SecretZone is an information privacy software application operating in the Windows environment. It enables you to save and protect important and private data from others with ease.
With the SecretZone Software you basically create virtual drives to store information that you wish to be encrypted. The encrypted containers can be mapped into windows as individual drives. The virtual drives can be of the file formats, FAT16, FAT32 or of the NTFS file format. The data or the size of the virtual drive that you create will be stored as an image file. The software also supports converting container files into executable ones which can be decrypted on the fly without the need for the SecurityZone utility. This file is password protected and can only be opened by the SecretZone software. Though this tool is not as powerful as the TrueCrypt, it is somewhat easier to handle.
Partitioning and changing the File System Type:
It is possible to partition your S2 Portable External Hard Disk Drive and change the file system type: FAT32, NTFS and Macintosh. Use Samsung USB Format Utility to format your S2 Portable External Hard Disk Drive to FAT32.
To reformat to NTFS, right-click “My Computer” and then select “Manage”, then from the “Computer Management” tool, select “Disk Management”. Right-click the drive you wish to format and then select “Delete Partition” and once drive partition has been deleted, right-click the drive you wish to format and then select “New Partition”. From Create Partition Wizard, select “Primary Partition” and then enter the desired size of the partition. Finally, from the “File System” menu, select “NTFS” and format.
To format in Macintosh, Launch Mac OS X’s “Disk Utility” tool and open the main drive folder from the desktop. Then, open the “Applications” folder and then the “Utilities” folder. Then select the “Disk Utility” file and the drive you wish to reformat. In the “Partition” menu and then, from the “Options” menu, the type of partition you wish to create and select the drive volume from the “Name” menu and the desired format from the “Format” menu. Once formatting is complete, the drive will appear on your desktop.
A power saving intelligence program of the drive monitors the drive’s use and places the drive into a low power sleep mode, whenever the drive is left unused for more than five minutes.
Talking about the heat, the drive gets warm on working for a while, but not very hot that makes it uncomfortable to touch.
The package of the Samsung S2 320GB hard drive includes just the External drive itself, the USB 2.0 cable and a quick start guide.
The Samsung S2 320GB 2.5-inch USB 2.0 hard drive comes with three years manufacturer’s warranty.
With a sleek and stylish design, the Samsung S2 320GB Compact size hard drive is a drive that you would love to show off to your friends. The entire package is very simple and not too overwhelming and great for someone looking for a drive with simple backup and security functionalities. The included software bundle with no complications is sufficient for an average user, which is the target consumer group of the S2. With the option of two smaller capacities and one larger capacity, you do have a wide range of choice. Samsung is hoping to tempt film fans into buying its new 500GB portable hard drive by including a copy of the Tom Hanks film Angels and Demons on it. Budget wise, the drive costs slightly higher than some of the other drives of same capacity, but is worth every penny you spend.
Samsung S2 320GB External HDD – Technical Specification Table
|Model Name||Samsung S2 320GB portable hard drive|
|Colours available||Piano Black, Snow White, Wine Red and Chocolate brown|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||82 x 111 x 17mm|
|Form factor||2.5 inch|
|Hard disk drive capacity||320GB|
|Other capacities available||160GB, 250GB and 500GB|
|Data transfer rate (max)||480 Mbit/s|
|Average seek time||12ms (Read) / 14ms (Write)|
|Compatible operating systems||Microsoft Windows Vista,
Windows XP Home / Professional Edition,
Windows 2000 Pro and Mac OS x 10.4.8 or later
|Software||Samsung Auto Backup
|Additional features||Safety Key
Less Power Consumption
|Package contents||S2 Portable External Hard Drive
USB Y-cable (85cm), USB Mini cable (10cm)
Carrying Case, Quick Install Guide
Bundle software preloaded on the hard drive
Electronic User Documentation (PDF)