Last year, we reviewed the Touro Desk Pro, an inexpensive desktop hard drive from HGST, Hitachi’s storage division. We liked it, especially because it performed about as well as competing drives, and yet it was priced significantly lower than other drives of similar capacity.
There’s no telling whether that low price was a fluke — remember, the Thailand floods of 2011 caused hard drive prices to go coo-coo-ca-choo for six to nine months — but I’m particularly happy it caused me to picked up that HGST drive, if for no other reason than it introduced me to the company’s line.
Now Hitachi’s storage division is owned by hard drive powerhouse Western Digital, and the HGST line has been revamped. This year, the company’s hottest product is the Touro Mobile Pro.
It’s a mobile drive, so the case is svelte and the available capacities aren’t gigantic — 500GB and 750GB. However, it draws its power over the USB 3.0 port, so you won’t need to plug it into a wall. The drive is fast (7,200rpm) and in my testing, it was faster writing files than reading them. But overall speeds were comparable to other USB 3.0 test units from Western Digital and G-Drive, and significantly faster than an iOmega Mac Companion. Not crushing speeds, but impressive nonetheless. Most importantly, it always fast enough, and never frustrating.
HGST has included some smart extras, too — you get a pre-loaded cloud backup suite with the drive and 3GB of free storage to try it out. Paid accounts ($50 a year) get a full 250GB of Memopal-powered cloud storage that’s accessible via your PC, your mobile devices, and the web. Backups can be scheduled, specific files and folders can be targeted, and bandwidth can be throttled. In a nice touch, you can share your files stored in the cloud by just sending a web link to somebody and inviting them to download it. It works as easily as Dropbox or other competing services.
The drive is also loaded with some automated backup software that lets you encrypt the drive with a 256-bit, password-protected system. However, I didn’t test this — I simply reformatted the drive to work with my Mac (it ships as an NTFS volume, so Mac users will have to zap it and make it an HFS+ disk) and set it up to run Time Machine.
The hardware itself is simple and, at about 0.6 inches thick, not as elegant or portable as smaller, truly compact mobile drives. But the price is nice — around $70 for the 500GB and around $90 for the 750GB — and considering the extra features you get on-board, I can recommend it.