Maxtor has saddled its Personal Storage 5000 OneTouch 250GB USB 2/FireWire external hard drive with an unwieldy name, but the drive itself is a sleek product designed to make it as easy as possible to perform data back-ups.
The drive has an extruded aluminium housing that can lie flat or sit vertically in the supplied stand. Apart from the Maxtor logo stamped on the side of the case, it's a fairly innocuous unit that would sit on any desk waiting for its daily call into action.
There are a total of five drives in the OneTouch family, with one USB model, one FireWire model and three dual interface drives that have both USB 2.0 and FirewWre, which is the type we're looking at.
The 200GB and 250GB models run at 7,200rpm with 8MB of data cache, while the 300GB is a 5,400rpm unit with 2MB of cache. Although the 250GB model appears to sit in the middle of the family, we regard it as the premium product with a large capacity and decent speed too.
All the connections for the drive are on the back of the case. There's a single USB port and two FireWire ports, and as you would expect Maxtor supplies the necessary cables too. Next to those ports is the power connector for the external transformer, and an On/Off rocker switch. There's also a socket for a Kensington lock so the drive can be secured in the office. This is a sensible move with any valuable piece of hardware that is easy to transport, but especially so with a hard drive as it is likely to contain data that is worth far more than the drive itself.
On the front of the drive there's a single illuminated button, which is the source of the OneTouch name. When you run the installation CD you have the option of installing drivers only or the full package, which consists of Dantz Retrospect Express software. Once you have configured the software to back up certain files or drives at specific intervals you can leave it to run fully automatically, say at the end of each day.
In addition you can press the OneTouch button to start the back-up process running whenever you like.
When the drive is running the case gets warm to the touch, but not unbearably hot. We'd expect that as the aluminium case has plenty of surface area to shed heat.
Our testing showed that the Maxtor performed better with a FireWire connection than USB 2.0 in HD Tach, however in our file transfer test USB 2.0 was the interface of choice.
The Maxtor was considerably faster than the WD XC2500JBRNU Combo drive we tested at the same time, however it still can't compare with an internal hard drive. That's an inherent issue with external drives that have to work through a relatively slow interface, and it makes Maxtor's decision to include back-up software that works after hours look very clever indeed.
We were staggered to find this drive on sale for a mere Â£218 inc VAT, which seems like an absolute bargain for such a complete package.
An unobtrusive unit that sits on your desk, waiting to be called into action for backups. The drive itself is fast by external standards, but as we've mentioned it's not particularly fast compared to an internal hard drive. The key feature is the OneTouch button which kicks the included Dantz Retrospect Express software into action. This is a well thought out unit that makes backups as easy as possible, and also offers amazing value for money.