Iomega Skin Radical portable hard drive (500GB)

Iomega Skin Radical review: an ultra-stylish USB 2.0 hard drive for the energy drink set

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Iomega Skin Radical
  • Iomega Skin Radical
  • Iomega Skin Radical
  • Iomega Skin Radical
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5


  • Three-year warranty, free downloadable software, extreme to the max!


  • Average read/write speeds, you're probably not extreme enough

Bottom Line

The Iomega Skin Radical definitely lives up to its namesake in the style department. Otherwise, this is a pretty run-of-the-mill portable hard drive. That said, die-hard fashionistas are hotwired to love it.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    TBA (AUD)

Imoega isn't particularly well known for crafting hip 'n' happening hard drives. Since its acquisition by EMC, the company has positioned itself in the SMB/SOHO markets — with predictably vanilla results. But all that is set to change with the release of the Iomega Skin Radical; a 500GB USB 2.0 hard drive that puts style and swankiness at the forefront.

Iomega Skin Radical: Design and connectivity

Designed by sports apparel brand Skin Industries, the Iomega Skin Radical looks quite unlike any other hard drive on the market. It's almost offensively stylish, with a loud, lurid design that really kicks you in the retinas. Whether this is a good thing or not will depend on how old you are and whether you like listening to Limp Bizkit. (Personally, we think it looks obnoxious, but ageing IT journalists probably aren't the target audience.) Either way, it makes the ultra-stylish LaCie Rikki Go look understated by comparison.

Iomega Skin

It's radical, apparently.

In addition to the 'Radical' version we tested, Iomega offers two other designs: the 'Knock Out' and 'Red Hot'. If the cast of Jersey Shore were re-imagined as hard drives, they'd probably resemble the Iomega Skin range. This is not necessarily a bad thing. [Yes it is -- Ed.]

The Iomega Skin Radical is averagely sized for a 2.5in hard drive. Measuring 124x84x18mm, it should easily slip inside your jacket pocket (or denim hotpants, if Iomega's lifestyle shots are to be believed). For connectivity, a single USB 2.0 port is provided, which also powers the device when connected to a Mac or PC. The Iomega Skin Radical uses a standard, non-proprietry mini-USB port. However, the surrounding plastic is quite narrow, which means not all USB cables will fit. Tch.

Iomega Skin Radical: Features and software

The Iomega Skin Radical keeps preinstalled applications to a minimum, with no backup software or security tools cluttering up the drive. However, a suite of downloadable licence codes are provided in the sales package, comprising a 12-month subscription to Trend Micro Internet Security, Iomega QuikProtect and no less than three backup solutions (including 2GB per month of free online storage.) All applications and services are free, and can be downloaded from the Iomega Web site.

Iomega Skin

[What? Ensure this pic is removed immediately. -- Ed.]

The Iomega Skin Radical can survive falls of up to 1.3 metres, so it should cope with being knocked off your desk or table.

Iomega Skin Radical: Performance

To test the Iomega Skin Radical's transfer speeds, we copied files back and forth between the drive and our testbed equipped with a Intel Core i7 965, 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor drive and 6GB of DDR3 RAM. We also copied the folders from one location on the Iomega Skin Radical to another, to test its speed when simultaneously reading and writing files.

The first test consisted of 3GB worth of 1MB files, which simulates installing applications and backing up system files. In the second test, we used a 20GB folder of 3-4GB files, including high-definition movies. 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 Interface Read
speed (MBps)
speed (MBps)
speed (MBps)
Iomega Skin Radical $xx 500GB USB 2.0 21.7 13.3 10.6
Hitachi LifeStudio Mobile Plus $250.00 500GB USB 2.0 22.7 11.8 8.4
Western Digital My Book Elite $399.99 2TB USB 2.0 24.6 15.2 10.2
LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive $199 1TB USB 2.0 28.8 17.1 10.5
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II $999 4TB USB 2.0 23.4 15 10.7

Large File (20GB) Transfer Test Results
Model Price Storage Capacity Interface Read
speed (MBps)
speed (MBps)
speed (MBps)
Iomega Skin Radical $xx 500GB USB 2.0 29.8 24.9 N/A
Hitachi LifeStudio Mobile Plus $250.00 500GB USB 2.0 22.7 11.8 8.4
Western Digital My Book Elite $399.99 2TB USB 2.0 27.7 24.1 11.3
LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive $199 1TB USB 2.0 30.3 25.7 12.7
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II $999 4TB USB 2.0 26.7 25.1 12.7

The Iomega Skin Radical gave an average performance in our bench marks. Small file transfers were a little slower than some competing hard drives we've tested, but the difference in speed isn't too significant. The Iomega Skin Radical remained quiet and reasonably cool during operation. While it's not the cheapest 500GB hard drive on the market, the inclusion of a three-year warranty boosts its value significantly. In short, if you dig its style, the Iomega Skin Radical is worth picking up. Dude.

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Read more on these topics: external hard drives, storage, portable hard drive, iomega
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