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Review: eGo Silver Desktop Hard Drive, Mac Edition

Running out of hard drive space? A portable drive with plug-and-play functionality could be the answer. We check out the 1TB eGo Mac Edition to see how it fares...

There’s an inherent problem when using Apple’s portable Mac machines: storage space.
The cheapest and most efficient solution is to purchase a portable hard drive. There are many to choose from. Some are highly portable and require only a USB port to run, others are bulky, storage-heavy devices that require a power source to boot, such as Iomega’s eGo Desktop Hard Drive. This attractive silver hard drive includes 1TB of storage. That’s 1,000GB of space, enough to store around 770 days of music, or 62 days of standard-definition video. Priced at £124, each gigabyte costs approximately 12p. Sounds generous, but it’s considerably more that some of the competitor drives on the market. Iomega has attempted to justify the higher asking price by aiming this drive specifically at Mac users. It can be unboxed, plugged in and will work instantly. Try the same thing on a PC and the drive will require a reformat before the operating system recognises it.
The drive transfers data at varying speeds depending on its connection to your Mac. Over a FireWire 800 cable you’ll see up to 800Mbits of data transfer a second. A 1GB folder of PDFs, images, text files and videos copied from our iMac desktop to the drive in 28 seconds. When using the USB 2.0 cable, the folder took 40.6 seconds to copy across. That’s because the drive is limited to 480Mbits per second when plugged in using a USB cable. In short, if your Mac has a FireWire port you’ll see speedy transfer rates that almost rival an integrated drive.

Appearance-wise this is an attractive portable drive. It’s clad in a silver plastic shell with an optional stand that enables it to be placed upright on a desk. On the back of the drive are two FireWire ports, a USB port and power socket. There’s also an on/off switch which is helpful for ensuring the drive isn’t whirring away when you need to unplug it. When it’s turned on, a blue indicator appears on the side of the drive. It looks great, but can be distracting if in view when using the computer.
We highly recommend this drive for FireWire use as it is obviously the most time-effective way to transfer files, but it also means you are not tied to a power cable which can make for serious portability issues.

The price of the eGo is reasonable for the amount of storage you are getting, but you are also paying a slight premium for the Iomega brand which has a stellar reputation; and, of course, for that Mac Pro-like styling which nicely matches the aluminium of the Mac you are using. If you care about design and the way your desk will look with this drive on it, then you’ll be prepared to pay a few extra pounds for the privilege.
For sheer storage space and ease of use, this is a fantastic solution to the limitations of Apple’s portable machines. It’s not exactly pocketable, being two thirds the size of the Mac Mini and around the same weight when unboxed. However, it’s reliable and quick, and great for those with gigabytes of media that need to be stored, transferred or backed up.
We would recommend this as a drive that stays on your desk rather than a go- to portable drive that gets thrown into a backpack. The styling suits desktop use and, of course, it’s probably not designed to take the knocks and bumps that can occur during transit – for that you may want to invest in a toughened enclosured drive.
All in all, this drive does what it sets out to do. It’s clearly styled for the Mac faithful, has above-average performance features and has the versatility to be used by all types of Mac. It is good value for money and will go the distance, keeping your backups safe and sound in its cool enclosure.