Iomega eGo Portable 500GB USB 3.0 hard drive
Iomega eGo Portable 500GB review: A solid, but unspectacular portable hard drive with 256-bit AES encryption
- USB 3.0, 256-bit AES encryption
- Encryption utility didn't detect our drive first go, slow read speed in our small file transfer tests
The Iomega eGo is a portable USB 3.0 hard drive with a 500GB capacity. It looks good and it ships with encryption software, which means your data can be protected in the event that your drive is lost or stolen. However, its performance was a mixed bag in our tests, with the reading of small files, in particular, being quite slow. Overall, it's a decent portable drive that's also available in a 1TB version.
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The Iomega eGo portable external hard drive has a capacity of 500GB and a USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB) interface. It's a decent drive for storing and transferring large files to a USB 3.0–equipped laptop or desktop PC, and it ships with an encryption utility so that if the drive is ever lost or stolen, its contents can't be read.
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The Iomega eGo isn't as sleek as other external pocket drives on the market; this is because its case has a band around it that is designed to allow the drive to be gripped easier, possibly preventing drops. It shouldn't be misconstrued as any type of drop protection though; in any case, you should treat this drive with the respect you would any other portable drive. The drive has one connector on it — the USB 3.0 interface — and this transports both data and power to the drive. The drive ships with a USB 3.0 cable, and you don't want to lose it, because its funky shape is very different to an older mini-USB cable.
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When you first plug in the Iomega eGo, it autostarts and you are able to run its encryption utility. If you do want to use 256-bit AES encryption, it's best that you do it straight away before putting any data on the drive: Setting up encryption wipes everything from the drive. If you don't want to use encryption, then you can simply access the drive as normal. But if you enable encryption, you will have to run the encryption program every time you plug in the drive and enter your password in order to be able to access the eGo. We noticed a quirk in our test model: It would not allow us to decrypt the drive unless we first unplugged and then re-plugged the drive — the utility simply would not recognise the drive until we did this.
The Iomega eGo produced a mixed bag of results in our performance tests. It was adequate when reading and writing almost 20GB worth of large files — it was able to write them at a speed of 56.72 megabytes per second (MBps) and read them at a speed of 74.9MBps. By comparison, Buffalo's external pocket drive recorded 55.90MBps when writing large files, and 79.83MBps when reading. So as you can see, the Iomega's results in the large file test were close to what we expected, but it had a slightly slow read speed.
This slow read speed was reinforced when we transferred up to 3GB of small files, where it recorded a very sluggish read speed of 13.69MBps, but a very good write speed of 33.13MBps. (The transfer rates were similar when we used encryption.) The Buffalo drive was more consistent in the small files test, garnering 20MBps in both the read and write tests. However, a lot of drives tend to struggle when dealing with small files, and this was also shown when we tested the Buffalo DriveStation HD-HXU3 desktop drive, which recorded a paltry 13.76MBps when writing small files.
The 500GB Iomega eGo is compatible with both Windows PCs and Macs, although you'll need to reformat it for use with a Mac and you will be limited to only USB 2.0 speeds. The 500GB version has a cost per formatted gigabyte of around 23 cents, but it's much better value at 1TB, at which point the cost per formatted gigabyte drops dramatically to around 16 cents. It comes with a three-year warranty.
Overall, it the Iomega eGo is a typical external portable hard drive, with its main drawcard being the inclusion of 256-bit AES encryption. From a bang for buck perspective, we'd recommend going for the 1TB version of this drive.
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