Portable drive with encrpytion, backup and power saving functionality
By PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus +++ With the rise and rise of private cloud, NAS boxes and SSD portable media, the role of localised storage will always be as important if not more so than entrusting one’s priceless personal data to the vagaries of a remote public cloud, where one’s data may be lost, deleted, or simply vanish forever as happened to Flickr in recent times.
Enter then the good old USB hard disk drive, boasting 256 AES encryption, it goes like the proverbial off a stick, giving FireWire a run for its money.
With the raft of software now on offer for this drive, application installation needs to have full attention paid to it - and not to assume this is just any old external HHD as users will be missing out on a lot of fine features that they will find indispensable given some patience to get their data on to this drive.
Said concentration will pay dividends later, as the features are really rather good. It has a green feature which will intelligently power down the drive rotation after a period of inactivity, saving on the extortionate electricity bills we all have to pay these days. Every little helps.
An Automatic backup app is also bundled with the drive, all Verbatim badged apps too, which seem sensible to install onto a user’s computer – either PC-compatible of Mac apps provided – and then one can decide later whether or not to uninstall these bundled apps, when one finds oneself either using or not using them. Unlike may pieces of computer hardware which come bundled with ‘Lite’ versions of expensive software, this drive has only useable apps, a nice change indeed. User manuals for the apps come in PDF format on the drive itself, so backup the drive to your local HDD before formatting.
Indeed, the next decision you need to make before you transfer your valuable data back and forth, is whether you want to format the drive as NTFS or FAT32 – whichever is applicable. File sizes over 4GB will require an NTFS partition to be created, for files under that limit, FAT32 should suffice for most. The app to do this comes bundled with the drive itself, so even if you decide later to alter that decision, that’s possible too. Which is good.
Then, its’ over to the user to decide on how they want to use this device. To take advantage of the blisteringly fast USB3.0 capability, one’s computer needs to be equipped with just such a chipset. However, most users will be perfectly happy with the USB2.0 fast universal serial bus speed of 480Mbps, backwards compatible for each USB generation, so again, all fine there too.
In operation, file transfer is as you would expect, seamless and transparent, the only cautionary note is to remember to copy the files off the Verbatim drive to your local hard drive as a backup.
Beyond that, the physical characteristics are of a relatively large, flat 2.5″ drive casing in hard plastic, which has no discernible screws on so you can’t open up the case to examine the manufacturer of the drive – whether its Seagate, WD, Fujitsu, Hitachi or whoever – not an issue for most, but just in case (sic) attempting to prise open this baby might end in tears as it’s clearly not been designed for this – so bear in mind the old term on computer and electronic hardware – ‘no user serviceable parts inside’ – heed that and you can’t go far wrong.
Resplendent in its fitted felt bag, the drive is a real performer and hopefully should stand up to years of service, though the hard plastic case of such drives always leaves some room for concern, as they can crack when dropped onto hard surfaces and may then impair the ability of the USB lead to stay fitted to the drive’s interface. A lightweight aluminium exterior case may have been a wiser production choice.
Apart from that, the Verbatim Executive HDD range seems a fine addition to the raft of external USB hard drives out there vying for attention. Given that product differentiation in this space is nigh on impossible, the attention to the bundled apps seems then to be a smart move by Verbatim. Organising file backup and power saving features are also fairly commonplace too with other such drives these days, that the only real difference lett for vendors is the price point. And at around fifty or sixty quid a pop, there are many alternatives to choose from. Hence, companies like Verbatim are obviously banking on their brand reputation and after-sales suport services to make sure they stay at the forefront of the queue when buyers start lining up for their products instead of the compeition,
Pros: Good, thoughtful range of software apps bundled.
Cons: Hard plastic exterior case may cause concern if dropped onto hard surfaces in transit.
Verdict: 4/5 RECOMMENDED