SimpleTech SimpleDrive Portable Hard Drive Review

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by Chris Carnabatu

SimpleTech SimpleDrive Portable Hard Drive Review


A innovative leader in the world of  virtually all types of storage and networking solutions, SimpleTech and its new sleek line of Pininfarina designed portable external hard drives illustrates this company’s flair for creating a product that not only serves its purpose as storing and backing up users’ vital data, but does so in an attractive, fashionable casing. 

The SimpleTech SimpleDrive Portable Hard Drive family comes in a number of colors and storage sizes ranging from 60GB all the way to 250GB. Its simple design coupled with the sleek and sexy curves designed by Ferrari’s celebrated designer, Pininfarina, are sure to place consumers looking for a powerful portable and compact external hard drive head-over-heels. The model being evaluated in this review has a capacity of 160GB and a devilish case color of Ferrari red.

Family shot of the Simple Tech Simple Drive Portable Hard Drives. (view large image)

Advantage of having a portable hard drive over an external desktop hard drive

You may be wondering if there really is a difference between a portable hard drive and an external desktop hard drive. Both are portable in a sense and both are external hard drives. But what it really boils down to is size and usability. A portable hard drive is a unit that does not necessarily require an external power outlet to operate such as would your standard external desktop hard drive. A portable hard drive is meant to be used with notebooks or laptops which are usually away from a power source. These hard drives derive their power from a computer’s USB port. In essence, a portable drive uses a laptop’s battery and can be used virtually anywhere with comparable, if not equal, results when compared with  external hard drives which tend to be a bit bulkier and power hungry.

Pininfarina’s famous logo on this technological piece of art. (view large image)

Design and Functionality

At first look, the SimpleTech SimpleDrive portable hard drive is as small, portable and compact as advertised. Fitting easily in the palm of my hand, the drive itself weighs a little more than a standard PDA and is a great space saving solution for those with crammed desk space such as is experienced by college students and users facing a small work environment.  The form factor gives the drive a unique aerodynamic sporty look with a reflective finish. On the bottom of the unit are two plastic strips that give the SimpleDrive a very good grip, preventing it from sliding off of tilted surfaces.

View of the SimpleDrive portable hard drive. (view large image)

The SimpleDrive portable hard drive does not need a driver to immediately start transferring and copying over data and is hot-swappable meaning that it can be removed from the computer after disabled from the "Safely Remove Hardware" application. Operating on a 2.0 USB cable, the SimpleDrive hard drive is claimed to have premium transfer speeds of up to 480 MB/second. I tried testing it by transferring 1.1GB of data and found that it took 2 minutes and 46 seconds with a maximum transfer speed of 7.45 MB/second. However, I should note that transfer speeds greatly depend on other contributing factors involved while transferring data. Along with the large capacity of storage built in, SimpleTech included an 8MB cache allowing the hard drive to optimize data transfer rates.

Rear view of the SimpleDrive hard drive. (view large image)

The back of the portable hard drive has two slots, the one on the left in the picture above is for an AC external power source (not included in the retail package), and the one on the right side is for the USB cable that leads to the computer. One interesting feature that SimpleTech included in the cable is two USB male heads, as opposed to one, which are intertwined in the same cable. The primary USB head is used both as a power source and as the data transfer source while the other USB head can be used as an optional secondary power source for computers unable to generate enough power through a single USB head.

Full shot of the SimpleDrive hard drive. (view large image)

The backup software included with the portable hard drive, the StorageSync backup software, does what the title suggests, it backs up users’ data and can save up to 20 different versions of various documents and files; this allows users to track changes over time or have backups of different variations at hand. An incremental backup feature allows users to conduct a full backup and incrementally backup new files and folders added after the initial backup to keep information and data up to date. The software is overall relatively easy to use and operate, allowing for quick commands such as backing up or synchronizing files to begin in a flash.


SimpleTech’s Simple Drive portable hard drive, designed by Pininfarina, is a stallion of a hard drive, racing to the front in style and power. A must have hard drive for the businessman on the constant run, the casual user looking for a way to transfer data from one location to another, or the college student fighting for space in overcrowded dorm rooms, this portable hard drive will surely serve as a top candidate for consumers looking for a fully functional, compact, and stylish external portable hard drive. 



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