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Iomega eGo Mac Edition portable hard drive

June 12th, 2009
Iomega 250GB eGo portable hard drive

Iomega's new eGo Mac Edition portable hard drives feature multiple interface connections, aluminum construction, shock protection and software bundles. Each 2.5-inch drive arrives pre-formatted to HFS+ for Mac systems, although users can also reformat the drives for Windows platforms. Customers can choose from capacities ranging from 250GB to 500GB, with each model drawing power from the USB or FireWire connection. The review covers the white 250GB variant.

At first glance the drive appears to have a plastic housing, but the case is actually produced from aluminum with a glossy, colored coating. Aluminum works to dissipate the heat without requiring a fan, while contributing to a relatively light weight of 7oz. The drive also features the company's Drop Guard technology which is claimed to prevent damage from falls as high as 51 inches. The impact resistance was not tested as part of the review, although Iomega backs the drive with a three-year warranty.

The form-factor offers slightly curved features toward the edges of the top and bottom panels, similar in appearance to the MacBook Air profile and measuring just 16mm thick. The rubber feet on the bottom surface effectively prevent the drive from sliding around, even on an incline, while a bright blue LED indicates when data is being transferred.

The eGo Mac Edition provides FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connections, along with cables for each interface option. While many "portable" drives require an AC adapter, the eGo is completely bus-powered. The FW400/800 connections each provide enough power, although the USB cable splits into a Y to draw from two ports if needed. The bus-powered feature is extremely convenient for notebook computers, especially for users that keep several drives containing different media.

Iomega includes its QuikProtect software for scheduled file-level backups to hard drives or network-attached storage (NAS) systems. EMC Retrospect or Express HD provides additional backup tools for data, applications and settings, while MozyHome Online Backup works in conjunction with the online backup service.

Connecting the drive using FireWire 800 highlights the impressive speed of the device. Unlike many other 5,400rpm disks, the eGo drive was able to take advantage of the FW800 connection. On an empty drive, tests showed sustained write speeds of 72MB/s and write speeds of 75.3MB/s. Going that fast, users can transfer an entire GB of data in less than 15 seconds. USB 2.0 yielded write and read speeds of 37.4MB/s and 37.9MB/s, respectively.

Under higher stress, transferring 6,400 files totaling 9.7GB brought the speed down to 38.2MB/s. After filling the eGo past half capacity, standard benchmark tests achieved write speeds of 57.7MB/s and read speeds of 55.7MB/s. All of the results were exceptional for a 5,400rpm bus-powered HDD.

The 250GB white eGo Mac Edition carries a suggested price of $100, while the blue 320GB variant retails for $110 and the red 500GB rises to $150. The drives are not the cheapest on the market, considering the price-per-gigabyte, but the added shock protection, speedy triple interface, attractive form factor, three-year warranty and included software separate the eGo series from many of the cheaper drives.

Small and lightweight

Bus powered

No fan necessary

Fast transfers on FW800

Cross-platform support for drive and software

Attractive form factor

Cables included

Fairly hot during heavy use

Blue LED is extremely bright