Buffalo Technology MiniStation Metro 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive with Integrated Flex Cable, Encryption and TurboPC HD-PXT500U2/B (Black)
This is the product I am looking for:
1. It has biggest capacity yet, for 2.5" external drive with a built-in USB cable without additional power source required (tested on my old laptop, it works perfect, and of course on a Desktop Computer). The built-in USB cable is kind of short, but works very well (including with Front Panel USB on my Desktop which normaly other disk failed). Extend it with the provided extension cable, it works with back USB port but failed in Front USB. Also the extension cable is not reliable in my Laptop. So I have to live with the short built-in USB cable (which is not a big problem to me)
2. The enclosure is not only beautiful (shiny black on one end, and matte rubber on the other end) but also looks and feels very strong/durable. It is said can handle a drop, but I dont want to test it. I lost my 1T data on my previous 3.5" enclosure due to accidental drop from my Desktop computer (about 1 feet from floor), and have a nightmare to recover it. It also comes with a black 'leather' pocket which I really like, it add a shock resistance and also good to keep the beautiful enclosure from scratch (because I bring this thing with me everyday with my Laptop).
3. Speed is not remarkable, but acceptable. The average is about 20Mbyte/s. I suspect that is the limitation of USB 2. As comparison, my e-Sata 1Tb 3/5" 7200rpm disk has average of 60Mbyte/s. My RAID-10 7200rpm 2X640Gb direct attach disk perform an average of 120Mbyte/s. For my usage (Mostly for my photo in RAW format, JPG dan Small JPG) this speed is acceptable, and considering the small foot print (compared to the 3.5" e-Sata version which require external Power Supply) this is a good companion.
4. The provided Tools (software) is useful. I like the implementation of password protection. When we attached the disk in USB port, it will automatically create a drive letter for the provided software. You'd better copy this provided software (if you password protect your Buffalo disk), it comes with Software utilities and also a program to enter the password (if you decided to use one). I tried this on several computer (all with Windows 7) and it works flawlessly. For me, this password protection is an important feature, but it has to be very well implemented. And this one passed my requirement (I have a Sandisk Cruzer USB flash disk with password protection software, but the implementation is not good, so I never use it!). The other utilities (mostly is Ram Disk and kind of cache to improve speed) is acceptable but has to be used carefully (otherwise you can end up with corrupted data when you unplugged this Buffalo while it has not completed the actual write).
5. The price is really reasonable (consider the Capacity, built quality, performance). Especially the 1 Tbyte capacity is not yet common for 2.5". Mine is already 90% full only one day after I buy it! It actually replace my 1TB 3.5" e-Sata/USB/1394 disk, which perform much faster, but very bulky not to mention the external Power supply required.
6. Even though the enclosure is almost sealed (without any ventilation), it never have an overheating problem. Day one, I copied my 500Gbyte data (took approx. 5 hours) and it performed reliably, without noticeable temperature increase. My built-in disk on Laptop is SO HOT under normal usage, I can not even touch it!
7. It comes with 3 years warranty! I noticed this little beast is Made in Japan.... very rare this days! Hope this little gadget will serve me at least for the next two years...
* I actually dream this package come with e-Sata or e-Sata 3 which can perform real fast, but I know, the consequence is external power supply is required.
* There is a USB 3 version available but: 1) Max Capacity is only 640Gb (as of today), 2) Different model (without the shock proof feature), 3) No built-in USB cable. The important fact is, none of my Computer now has USB 3. And I dont know how fast (in the real life) the performance of USB 3 version. Not to mention the compatibility issues for the new standard....
Pros: This is an excellent hard-drive with a convenient cord. Great as far as portable har-drives go. I also enjoy the fact that it has optional encryption software included with it.
Cons: The encryptions software has it's issues, like the fact that the app mounts as a cd-drive, and then tries to load itself (in Vista) multiple times at plug-in, which is a bit annoying. On Win XP, the app works very nicely. And the fact that the Encryption software is included and works, 5 stars.
This device is just what it says it is, very reliable and convenient. I would recomend this to anyone that needs additional storage.