The Iomega eGo Portable external hard drive has a capacity of 500GB and a USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB) interface. It's a decent drive for storing and transferring large files to a USB 3.0-equipped laptop or desktop PC, and ships with an encryption utility so that if the drive is ever lost or stolen, its contents can't be read.

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The Iomega eGo Portable isn't as sleek as other external pocket drives on the market; this is because its case has a band around it that is designed to allow the drive to be gripped more easily, possibly preventing drops. It shouldn't be misconstrued as any type of drop protection, though; in any case, you should treat this drive with the respect you would any other portable hard drive.

The Iomega eGo Portable drive has one connector on it - the USB 3.0 interface - and this transports both data and power to the drive. The drive ships with a USB 3.0 cable, and you don't want to lose it, because its funky shape is very different to an older mini-USB cable.

When you first plug in the Iomega eGo Portable, it autostarts and you are able to run its encryption utility. If you do want to use 256bit AES encryption, it's best that you do it straight away before putting any data on the drive: setting up encryption wipes everything from the drive.

If you don't want to use encryption, then you can simply access the drive as normal. But if you enable encryption, you will have to run the encryption program every time you plug in the drive and enter your password in order to be able to access the eGo.

We noticed a quirk in our test model: It would not allow us to decrypt the drive unless we first unplugged and then re-plugged the drive - the utility simply would not recognise the drive until we did this.

Iomega eGo Portable: Performance testing

Our colleagues at PC World Australia put the Iomega eGo Portable through its paces in their testing labs.

The Iomega eGo Portable produced a mixed bag of results in performance tests. It was adequate when reading and writing almost 20GB worth of large files - it was able to write them at a speed of 56.72 megabytes per second (MBps) and read them at a speed of 74.9MBps.

By comparison, a Buffalo external pocket drive recorded 55.9MBps when writing large files, and 79.83MBps when reading. So as you can see, the Iomega's results in the large file test were close to what we expected, but it had a slightly slow read speed.

This slow read speed was reinforced when we transferred up to 3GB of small files, where the Iomega eGo Portable recorded a very sluggish read speed of 13.69MBps, but a very good write speed of 33.13MBps. (The transfer rates were similar when we used encryption.) The Buffalo drive was more consistent in the small files test, achieving 20MBps in both the read and write tests. However, a lot of drives tend to struggle when dealing with small files, and this was also shown when we tested the Buffalo DriveStation HD-HXU3 desktop drive, which recorded a paltry 13.76MBps when writing small files.

The 500GB Iomega eGo is compatible with both Windows PCs and Macs, although you'll need to reformat it for use with a Mac and you will be limited to only USB 2.0 speeds.

Next page: Our expert verdict >>

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Iomega eGo Portable 500GB USB 3.0 hard drive: Specs

  • Portable external hard drive
  • 5,400rpm
  • USB 3.0
  • 500GB capacity (also available with 320GB or 1TB)
  • 256bit AES encryption
  • 3-year warranty
  • Portable external hard drive
  • 5,400rpm
  • USB 3.0
  • 500GB capacity (also available with 320GB or 1TB)
  • 256bit AES encryption
  • 3-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

Overall, the Iomega eGo Portable is a typical external portable hard drive, with its main draw being the inclusion of 256bit AES encryption. From a bang for buck perspective, we'd recommend going for the 1TB version of this drive.

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