Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus 2TB External Hard Drive Review
Andy Ruffell / 5 years ago
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Hitachi are classed as one of the biggest manufacturer’s on the market for many products in the retail world today, and with a division devoted to hard drives and storage, they have offered storage solutions for many years in an extremely competative market.
Part of this market is for the mainstream user who wants a simple plug and play device that can house their collection of data, which generally consists of music, movies and artwork images and this is where external hard drives that perch on your desk really come into action.
Obviously a drive like this is aimed at the user wanting a nice plethora of storage at their disposal and with lots of competition on the market, we hope that this product will give a slight edge over other drives on the market. When looking at a storage drive, most people would dish out the cash on an internal drive, but external still have their uses when it comes to transportation when all you have to do is unplug a few leads and stick it in your bag to take to work or even a friends house.
Also with USB getting faster as technology moves on, and motherboards incorporating more and more ports, it means that a drive like the one we’re looking at today gives that certain edge over an interal drive when it comes to connectivity.
We was half expecting this drive to follow suit with other products on the market from the likes of Buffalo and Lacie with a very standard design. Fortunately, this product has a little bit more to offer in the styling department with an ‘L’ shaped design that lets the drive sit upright on a desk, coupled with a piano black shell, makes this a product that people will gawp at.
The drive itself measures in at 18cm.09 x 12.33cm x 8.27cm and comes in the choice of 500GB 1TB and 2TB varients, though the 500GB is less commonly seen in the retail sector.
A unique feature is that the drive includes a section for an included USB key drive and sits on the front of the dock via a magnetized mechanism. With a light on the top of the drive and on the USB key too, you’re able to see exactly when the drive is in use and is working hard at transferring your important files, though it can get a bit annoying after a while of seeing that flickering light.
The USB key attaches to the front of the dock and connects through the drives USB interface to be read. It still has a traditional USB connection if using the supplied flash drive without the use of the LifeStudio.
Looking at the connections on the rear of the drive, we find a mini USB which connects into your computer via a standard USB on the other end. Also on the rear of the drive is a 12V DC power input port and space for a Kensington Security Lock to give that piece of mind if using this device in your office.
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Taking a look at how the drive performs, we sadly don’t hold high hope and that comes down to the slow and ever-ageing USB 2.0 interface that it connects through. With this in mind, it’s still part of our process to show you some figures, so let’s get to it.
Starting with the drive itself, coming in at 2Tb with a USB 2.0 interface, you can’t expect miracles, though we do like the idea and concept around the device, and we can see it being aimed at users with multiple small files, such as documents, opposed to movies and music which generally are a lot larger in size.
As expected, we didn’t see the rear or write speed peak over 35MB/s but the drive did remain consistent across all allocation file sizes.
Now moving on to the USB flash drive, which is in the same boat due to the interfaced used.
Sadly the USB flash drive performed a lot worse than we anticipated at 12MB/s write speeds and 16MB/s read speeds when looking at the larger file size tests such as 1024.
Many consumers may be put off by the slower interface compared to other offerings using an eSATA connection, but for all around compatibility, USB is always going to be the favored choice and is by far the most convenient. Though, this is only the case due to the lack of eSATA on a lot of computers today.
From research, it also shows that the typical customer of a drive like this, is going to use it for exporting documents such as word files and small pictures (much like ourselves) so speed isn’t always the main factor when compared to the storage size vs cost.
Also by having a dockable USB key included, it does open up the avenue for a little bit more storage and the ability for multiple purposes including as a boot drive in our case.
When you really get down to it though, a 7200RPM drive encased in a stylish, sleek black shell at a reasonable price of £105 is something that can’t be moaned at and brushed to the side,especially with the price of internal hard drives at an all time high, the external solution still offers a lot better value for money and that’s reflected, when you look at the price difference between the 1TB and 2TB models of this drive.
Though the unit isn’t as fast as we’d hoped for, it does have a good concept and looks stylish no matter what, and with a cheap price at the moment compared to internal equivalents, we’ve had to give it our Innovation Award, because it is simply that; innovative.