So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Astone ISO GEAR 288 (500GB) 2.5in external hard drive
A very stylish and quick external hard drive
- Attractive design, fast
- Bottom casing is scratch-prone, no bundled software
We wouldn’t recommend Astone's portable hard drive for people who will be commuting with it every day, or for people who have a tendency to drop things. However, with a design to rival Apple products and quick file transfer speeds, it is a stylish way to carry around your data and media.
Considering Astone's motto — "Design for Life!" — it is no surprise that the ISO GEAR 288 external hard drive's prioritises style over durability. Thankfully, this hard drive is also quite fast. Though it won't survive a trip to the Sahara, it is a great companion in the classroom or art studio.
The Astone ISO GEAR 288 isn't the smallest external hard drive around, but it is certainly one of the slimmest; we're surprised Astone managed to fit the 500GB hard drive in there at all. The thin enclosure certainly adds to the hard drive's appeal and makes it a perfect fit for tight pockets. There is a single mini-USB 2.0 port on one side of the device.
Unfortunately, the ISO GEAR 288's brushed metal bottom casing is prone to scratching and alone fingerprints. Astone claims the metal helps dissipate heat from the hard drive inside, though you may end up with an enclosure that resembles a heavily used iPod Touch.
Astone includes a mini-USB to USB cable and a leather pouch in the ISO GEAR 288's sales package. It doesn’t come with any software, but we weren't disappointed; bundled drive utilities are usually little more than bloatware.
We transferred 20GB of 3-4GB files between the ISO GEAR 288 external hard drive and a Western Digital Velociraptor (WD3000GLFS), as well as 3GB of 1MB files. In the 20GB transfer test, the ISO GEAR 288 external hard drive achieved a write speed of 24.9 megabytes per second and a read speed of 28.7MBps, and it performed a simultaneous read/write operation at a rate of 11.9MBps. These speeds are nearly identical to the Transcend StoreJet 25M-R.
The Astone ISO GEAR 288 external hard drive fell behind the Transcend in the 3GB test, however. It had a write speed of 13.6MBps, a read speed of 20.7MBps and a simultaneous read/write speed of 9.5MBps. While these speeds are slightly slower than the Transcend drive's, the ISO GEAR 288 external hard drive is still fairly quick.
Its file transfer speeds and attractive enclosure make the Astone ISO GEAR 288 a great portable hard drive. Though it won't suit the road warrior, this hard drive is a decent choice for those who value style and performance over durability.
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