Two-terabyte external drives have shrunk in the past couple of years. When we compared this newly redesigned Hitachi Simpledrive 2TB with a two-year-old 2TB Western Digital My Book external drive, not only was the newer drive a whole lot smaller and prettier, it was significantly faster.
Take a look at the gallery and you'll see the two drives side-by-side. The two-year-old Western Digital unit contains a couple of 1TB disks, the largest of their day, making the enclosure look clunky next to the slimmer, more stylish Hitachi drive.
You'd think the old Western Digital drive with its RAID-0 configuration would be faster than this single-drive Hitachi Simpletech, but no. When we transferred a gigabyte's worth of files to the old My Book, it took 45 seconds, compared with a mere 39 seconds for those same files transferred to the Simpledrive. That's a 13.33% increase in speed, thanks to the Simpledrive's quick 3.5-inch 7200rpm Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 disk enclosed within.
This external drive is relatively quiet, powering down when it's not in use. However, we could hear a noticeable low frequency hum when it was running, albeit without much seek noise. We would like to see more than just the USB 2.0 port on this drive — at least an additional, quicker eSATA port would enhance its speed.
Even so, you get a lot of drive for your $250 — just look at it! Its brushed aluminum case and piano black trim, along with its flickering-when-busy blue LED, give it a swanky appearance you wouldn't mind having on your desktop.