Much to the disappointment of peripheral manufacturers, USB 3.0 hasn’t exploded onto the market as expected. It’s not hard to see why though, with Intel and AMD still dragging their feet when it comes to updating chip-sets.
However, some support is starting to creep through, as most high-end motherboards and systems now include at least a couple of ports.
For most this comes thanks to the addition of a separate USB controller chip from NEC. We’re lucky enough to have an Asus Crosshair IV motherboard with USB 3.0 support and we’re using it to take a look at a rugged external USB 3.0 external hard drive from Transcend - the 25M3.
In the package you get the hard drive, a USB 3.0 cable and some documentation. The first thing we looked at when unpacking the drive was the USB cable. This comes with a standard A connection and a micro B connection, which doesn’t look that micro to us being about twice the size of the old micro USB connector.
The included quick start guide is reasonably unnecessary as it doesn’t go far beyond “plug drive in”, however it does give a little overview of the StoreJet Elite software that’s pre-loaded.
Looking at the drive itself, the majority of it is covered in a soft-touch rubber-like material, which gives it a nice matt finish. This might be part of the drive’s rugged design, meeting US military standards for dropping stuff. A bit more research shows this drop test actually involves dropping the drive from 1.2 meters, 26 times on all its faces - so no need to worry about taking it to the pub then. We didn’t, however, bash it about too much since they want it back. Cheapsters.
The box advertises this drive as a 2.5” portable hard drive, but we guess they're talking about the actual physical hard drive, as the 25M3 is 126mm x 80.08mm or 4.96” x 3.2”. Size-wise this isn’t too bad though. It would fit into most pockets and is a lot more portable than hard drives of the past.
One of the main features of the drive is the one touch backup button, which works in conjunction with the included software and doubles as the status indicator light. Once pressed, the button automatically syncs all of the data that you have set up in the StoreJet elite software. The syncing feature of the software is excellent but we’re not sure there is the need for a physical button on the drive, since you can do the same exercise with one click in the included software.
After giving the drive a little shake there was a slightly audible rattle and this was down to the loose fitting of the one-touch button.
Moving on to the StoreJet Elite software, this gives you options to back up your emails, favorites and pretty much anything else you would like. We tried out a few of the features, selecting a couple of folders to keep synchronised, and it all seemed to work as expected.
When we deleted a file from one it was copied to the other with the press of the button. It also has some options for the security minded with the ability to store your files on the drive within an encrypted zip. The software did the job, although it had an annoying habit of closing all open Internet browsers whenever any setting was changed.
We don’t want to focus too much on transfer rates as we’ve never had much trouble with USB 2.0, let alone 3.0, which is considerably quicker. But to give you an idea, we ran through a couple of tests and this drive, which has been certified as USB 3.0, is certainly quick enough for anything we could imagine.
|Data Size||Number of files/folders||Time Taken|
The StoreJet 25M3 provides a small, quick, high-capacity drive that can be used on the move without fear of accidents. The drive was well built with a nice look and feel due to the soft-touch coating, and the software was relatively unobtrusive. We found it online for £77, which is about average for a drive of this size and storage capacity.
However, its super-fast USB 3.0 credentials lift it above the competition in our opinion, if you’ve got the hardware to take advantage of it, that is.
*EyeSee Some readers have asked us about this word "dekko" which we seem to use whenever we take a look at hardware. To look in Hindi is dekhna - dekko is an informal way of suggesting you take a gander. Or a butcher's hook. Ha nai?