Review: Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive

Perfectly portable reliable hard drive. (August 21st, 2008)

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Product Manufacturer: Iomega, an EMC Company

Price: $109.20 US (160GB)

The Good

  • PRO: Thin and lightweight. Needs no power cord. USB or FireWire. Wide range of sizes and prices. Works with Power Mac G3 or greater and Mac OS X 10.1.5 and above.

The Bad

  • CON: External power supply not included and costs $19.95.

When you need a portable drive to backup on the go or carry emergency files to and from clients, look no further than the Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive. This small colorful flask-like drive is perfectly portable. Smaller than a spare laptop battery, it fits into any computer bag and requires no power cord, so it's convenient to use anywhere. The Iomega eGo comes in two models with USB only or USB and FireWire. Sizes vary from 160GB to 320GB and prices range from $94.95 to $137.70. I tested the 160GB with FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connections. The drive can hold up to 640,000 highly compressed 3-megapixel JPG photos, over 2,900 hours of 128Kbps MP3 audio music, and 240 hours of 11MB/min DVD MPEG-2 (720x480) video; obviously, your storage mileage will vary depending on the types of files you create.

The perfectly sized eGo (5.25" L x 3.5" W) easily fits into any travel bag. I like that it sits flat on your workspace, so you can't tip it over. If you're a consultant and are not quite sure what Macintosh your new client owns, the Ego is so small and light (.48 lbs) you can carry two drives; one formatted for GUID and one for the Apple Partition Map. You can carry two complete emergency solutions readily available for the same weight as other single drives. The Ego is also Windows compatible, if you're so inclined.

eGo as Backup Device

The eGo ships with a Solutions CD on which is EMC Retrospect Express backup software and documentation in eight languages, plus the FireWire 400 and USB cables. While Retrospect is well-respected backup software, the first time you run it, it erases the whole volume and requires exclusive use of that hard drive for backup. I opted not to use it, because it didn't meet my needs.

While using backup software may be the recommended solution, I typically just copy changed files to an external drive a couple of times a week. This is easy with the eGo because there are no power cords with which to fuss and it uses any connector cord I happen to have in my bag. The drive makes backing up on the go easy, even if you're sitting in an airport. If you have a dreaded computer failure while on the road, a second copy of your files is ready to use. The USB interface requires an included USB Type A to Type Mini B 5-pin cord, but the FireWire 400 interface uses any cable you have.
Yojimbo screen

USB Type A and Type Mini B 5-pin USB

< My PowerBook has issues and needs to go in the shop, so I used the eGo to create a clone of my machine. First, I used Apple's Disk Utility to partition the eGo to match the three partitions in my PowerBook. Next, I used the cloning feature in SuperDuper by Shirt Pocket software to create exact duplicates of my internal hard drive partitions. This partitioning scheme left me with some space, so I used the fourth partition for miscellaneous files. The drive handles the four-partition set up well, and I've had no problem using the Smart Update feature in SuperDuper to update the backup weekly. When my laptop goes in the shop, it's reassuring to know I have a complete bootable backup on the eGo, in case the PowerBook comes back with an erased hard drive.

Other Features

The Ego includes Drop Guard protection, and while I tossed the drive around quite a bit with no resulting problems, I did not engage in a drop test. The impact-protection technology, designed to cushion the eGo from shock and vibration in drops up to 1.3 meters, is for a drive inside your computer bag; but I wouldn't toss it to someone across the room.

Yojimbo screen

Dual Interface Silver eGo


I ran a variety of hard drive speed tests on the eGo connected with the FireWire 400 cable using QuickBench X by Intech Software Corp. and it achieved similar read and write results with other comparable drives. If you plan to use an eGo to edit video or music, you should use the FireWire interface, because the USB connection does not transfer data continuously like FireWire. Consistent data transfer rates when using FireWire is not limited to the eGo drives, but a characteristic of the interface itself.

If style and color is your thing, the eGo should fit your needs with its stylish metallic colors, including black, blue, silver, white, pink, cherry, and ruby red. If you want more a distinctive enclosure, the eGo also comes in a brown genuine leather wrapped enclosure and in camouflage colors with an Iomega Power Grip band. Some of the drive colors include USB only, while others have FireWire 400 and USB, so make sure you check the box before purchase.

by ilene hoffman, reviews editor


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