The metal sides are grooved and glossy black, while the plastic is the same colour in matte. Overall the effect is not particularly attractive, especially compared to a few of the rival models out there – but it’s not particularly ugly either. The only touch that looks truly cheap is the little plastic screen hiding two indicator LEDs – it looks more like a sticker rather than a functional part of its design. These two LEDs consist of a blue one to indicate power and HDD activity, and an orange one to indicate remote standby on/off.
The best and worst that can be said about the Traxdata in terms of design is ‘unobtrusive’. This is aided by a complete lack of buttons on the unit’s front. This is because you can’t control ”any” of the drive’s functions from the unit itself. Frankly, this is not only rare for this kind of device, but also extremely annoying: if you lose or temporarily misplace your remote, basically all you’re left with is a 500GB external USB hard-drive (which can be had for a third of the price).
Speaking of the remote, it’s one of those ultra-slim ones, which I dislike because you can’t get rechargeable batteries in a ‘watch-battery’ format. But in this case there’s actually a practical reason, since the remote ingeniously snaps into the bottom of the Traxdata’s stand. This is very convenient for transport, or for just stowing the remote away when you’re not using the device.
Ergonomically, the remote is quite comfortable to hold due to its relatively large size and curved shape, but it’s not as nice to use. Apart from a little colour-coding, all the buttons are the same size and equally spaced apart, and since they don’t glow-in-the-dark, you’re likely to hit the wrong button when the lights are out. Play is a separate button to pause (when it would have made life a lot easier were it the same one), and worst of all – contravening pretty much every other remote out there – volume-up is on the left and volume-down on the right.
Things look up when it comes to connectivity though, as the Traxdata’s back is stuffed with connections. The highlight is HDMI, which is becoming quite common on multimedia drives, but not yet a given. There’s coaxial for excellent-quality digital sound. A proprietary single-mini-jack form of component is joined by a similar connector type for composite, as well as the ever persistent SCART socket (which makes it very versatile for use with older sets and CRT TVs), and naturally there’s USB 2.0 for PC connectivity. Cabling is provided for the aforementioned ‘unusual’ component and composite audio/video too.