External hard-drives are only getting larger, and manufacturers are pushing for the adoption of faster interfaces that will allow users to shuffle their data around with less delay. On the SlashGear test bench today is the Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive, complete with 500GB capacity and a USB 3.0 port; the company also sent over their new Skin Hard Drive, which takes a USB 2.0 unit and dresses it up with a colorful finish. Check out the full review after the cut.
If you’ve seen one portable hard-drive then you’ve pretty much seen them all; the eGo has the usual curved edges and chrome accents of Iomega’s latest design language. The only connection is a USB 3.0 port – backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1, of course, though at significantly lower speeds – and happily Iomega don’t clutter up the drive with unnecessary apps. A copy of the user guide is saved to the eGo, but if you want Iomega’s Protection Suite or the year’s license for Trend Micro Internet Security then they’re available for download.
Build quality seems high and there’s no flex in the casing. Iomega also say that software will automatically lock down the drive should you accidentally drop it. We tested the eGo by moving several 2GB files from our desktop computer to the drive via a USB 3.0 connection, and saw transfer speeds of on average 86.2 MB/sec.
As for the Iomega Skin Hard Drive, with a USB 2.0 interface it’s obviously not going to reach the same sort of data transfer rates as its 3.0 brethren. It too gets the software downloads and Drop Guard protection, together with an eye-catching text patterned finish. We’re not especially enamoured by the design, but at least it would make your portable drive stand out and we suppose that could mean there would be less chance of you losing it. Transfer speeds were in line with the eGo when used with a USB 2.0 connection, around 30 MB/sec depending on the size of the files.
The bizarre part, though, is Iomega’s pricing. The 500GB eGo USB 3.0 has an MRSP of $129.99, while the 500GB Skin USB 2.0 drive has an MRSP of $119.99. With just $10 between the two, we’d definitely opt for the eGo HDD. While you may not have USB 3.0 ports on your current machine it’s highly likely that the next computer you pick up will, and with backup and multimedia storage demands continuing to expand that fatter pipe will significantly cut down on data transfer delay.
Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear, Android Community and the other network sites. Based in London, UK, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.