Although it has a few quirks and problems, the SimpleTech USB 2.0's low-profile designer looks, superior USB performance, and attractive per-gigabyte price combine to deliver a good value for your storage pound.

Too much is never enough, and this adage is unarguably accurate when it comes to hard drive space. With digital cameras churning out multi-megabyte images and digital video chomping up gigabytes of space in one shot, it's not hard to hit the limits of your hard drive.

One answer to your storage dilemma is a high-capacity external disk, such as the SimpleTech SimpleDrive USB 2.0 External Hard Drive.

Although it has a few quirks and problems, the SimpleTech USB 2.0's low-profile designer looks, superior USB performance, and attractive per-gigabyte price combine to deliver a good value for your storage pound.

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Resembling a buttonless telephone answering machine, the small and stylish SimpleTech USB 2.0 features four LEDs on top that are arranged in a circle and function as a capacity meter.

Each LED represents 25 percent of the total storage; as the drive fills up, the LEDs light up to indicate how much space is being used. If the lights flash red when you power on the drive, less than 10 percent of the SimpleTech USB 2.0's storage is still available.

The SimpleTech USB 2.0's light segments also flash and chase each other around the circle during a copy operation. This could be a boon for novice users, letting them know when they should definitely not unhook their drive.

The SimpleTech USB 2.0 is formatted for Windows by default. It also comes with ArcSoft TotalMedia Backup software, which works in conjunction with the one-click backup button.

Like a few other vendors, SimpleTech has elected to include the software on the SimpleTech USB 2.0 itself, rather than on a separate CD. There's nothing wrong with this - unless you're like us and fail to read the small warning sheet cautioning you to copy the software before reformatting the drive. Luckily, the software was not critical to operation.

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Although it has a few quirks and problems, the SimpleTech USB 2.0's low-profile designer looks, superior USB performance, and attractive per-gigabyte price combine to deliver a good value for your storage pound.

The SimpleTech USB 2.0 connects to your PC via USB and also comes with a small power supply. Although limited by the speeds of USB 2.0, when it comes to USB performance the SimpleDrive was nonetheless fairly swift.

If you don't need a full terabyte of storage, SimpleTech also sells 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, and 750GB capacities in the same enclosure, as well as offering a USB/FireWire 400 enclosure model.

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Included with the SimpleTech USB 2.0 is 2GB of free online storage for supplemental backup or for sharing your files with a wider, web-based audience. This is a nice thought, but not of tremendous value, considering that free online storage is fast becoming the norm (for example, Google recently bumped up Googlemail storage to 5GB).

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SimpleTech USB 2.0: Specs

  • 1TB 7,200rpm portable hard drive
  • Hi-Speed USB 2.0 or USB 2.0/FireWire 400 interface
  • one-click backup button
  • built-in capacity meter
  • Plug n' Play and Hot-Swappable
  • free, unlimited technical support
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • 8MB cache buffer
  • average latency: 4.2ms
  • 900g
  • 38x210x127mm
  • 1TB 7,200rpm portable hard drive
  • Hi-Speed USB 2.0 or USB 2.0/FireWire 400 interface
  • one-click backup button
  • built-in capacity meter
  • Plug n' Play and Hot-Swappable
  • free, unlimited technical support
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • 8MB cache buffer
  • average latency: 4.2ms
  • 900g
  • 38x210x127mm

OUR VERDICT

Despite a few rough edges, the SimpleTech USB 2.0 represents a good overall value. It packs a large amount of storage into a petite, classy-looking package, though the USB-only design limits its performance.

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