Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive (external)

An affordable and ultra-portable Hitachi external hard drive for road warriors on a budget

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Hitachi Australia Ltd X500 Mobile Drive
  • Hitachi Australia Ltd X500 Mobile Drive
  • Hitachi Australia Ltd X500 Mobile Drive
  • Hitachi Australia Ltd X500 Mobile Drive

Pros

  • User-friendly backup software, small and attractive design

Cons

  • File transfer speeds are below average

Bottom Line

The Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive is a highly affordable 500GB hard drive which is slightly let down by its sluggish write speeds. Still, if you require a cheap backup solution to accompany you on the road, it remains a reasonable option.

Would you buy this?

The Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive is a 500GB, 2.5in external hard drive (5400rpm). It uses a simple plug-n-play USB 2.0 interface and is primarily designed for portable use — hence the name. It’s not particularly fast and doesn’t come with many extras, but this is made up for by its low asking price.

The Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive shares much in common with the Hitachi SimpleDRIVE mini portable hard drive. For a $10 premium, it comes with an additional 180GB, which isn’t too shabby.

Measuring 123x82x16mm, the Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive should fit easily inside your notebook carry bag. It looks like a slightly oversized wallet, but we wouldn’t recommend slipping it inside your back pocket — unlike the Hitachi SimpleTOUGH, the Hitachi X500 isn’t particularly rugged.

The drive is encased in an ergonomic plastic shell adorned with two white indicator lights. A mini-USB output is the only form of connectivity offered. There’s also a DC-in port, but this doesn’t appear to serve any purpose (there’s no accompanying power supply in the sales package).

The Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive is quiet for the most part, although you can hear it chugging away on occasion — especially when you first plug it into your laptop. That said, it should be safe to use on a train without annoying your fellow commuters.

With an RRP of $119, the Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive costs around 25 cents per gigabyte — one of the best results we’ve encountered. (By contrast, the LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive came in at 43.4c per GB.) If you’re a stickler for value, the X500’s cost per formatted gigabyte is pretty hard to beat.

Like the SimpleDRIVE before it, the Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive comes with Acronis TotalMedia Backup. This is an easy to use application that provides comprehensive backup and synchronisation options. Backups can be scheduled or initiated based on folders or file types, with presets for regularly used file formats. The software comes preinstalled on the drive, do you don’t have to mess around with discs either.

The USB cable bundled with the Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive has two connections (the second can be employed when one USB port doesn't provide enough power). To test the device’s file transfer speeds, we copied two folders onto the drive and then back onto the Desktop. We also copied the folders from one location on the drive to another to test its speed when simultaneously reading and writing files. Each test folder contained a variety of files adding up to 3GB and 19.2GB, respectively.

Let’s take a look at how it compared to other external hard drives on the market:

Small File (3GB) Transfer Test Results
Model Price Storage Capacity Read
speed (MBps)
Write
speed (MBps)
Read/write
speed (MBps)
Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive $119 500GB 21.6 14.3 9.2
Hitachi SimpleDRIVE mini $109 320GB 26.1 17.5 11
LaCie Rikiki (USB Boost enabled) $159 500GB 30.9 17.2 11.1
LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive $139 320GB 24.5 17.1 11.1
Astone ISO GEAR 290 $149 500GB 20.5 13.5 9.7
HP SimpleSave Portable $139 320GB 26.1 17.5 11
Transcend StoreJet 25M-R $159.95 320GB 23.8 15.3 7.2

Large File (20GB) Transfer Test Results
Model Price Storage Capacity Read
speed (MBps)
Write
speed (MBps)
Read/write
speed (MBps)
Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive $119 500GB 28.5 21.8 12.1
Hitachi SimpleDRIVE mini $109 320GB 28.9 23.8 12.7
LaCie Rikiki (USB Boost enabled) $159 500GB 37.7 26.7 13.3
LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive $139 320GB 27.4 25.9 12.7
Astone ISO GEAR 290 $149 500GB 28.7 25.2 11.5
HP SimpleSave Portable $139 320GB 27.9 25.1 11.6
Transcend StoreJet 25M-R $159.95 320GB 28.5 24.3 11.9

Our tests showed that the Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive isn’t the zippiest hard drive on the market, particularly when it comes to write speeds. The Hitachi SimpleDRIVE managed to outpace it in every task, despite having similar specifications. All in all, the file transfer results were slightly below average. Nonetheless, the Hitachi X500 Mobile Drive remains a cost-effective option that gets the job done: if you can stomach a few extra minutes of waiting, its performance shouldn't disappoint.

[Note: A 320GB model is also available for $99.]

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