The Verbatim Portable Hard Drive is a lightweight USB 2.0 external storage device with a scratch-resistant plastic chassis.

Although the curved silver plastic finish isn’t the most expensive looking design, we liked its looks and found the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive pleasingly robust.

Power is supplied to the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive via a single mini USB 2.0 port at the top of the drive. However, you only know for sure that the drive is successfully installed by consulting the status bubble that pops up on your desktop – the drive itself has no lights to indicate it’s in use.

After a while, you notice a secondary sign that the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive is operational: it gets a little warm.

The Verbatim Portable Hard Drive is a quiet drive too and its test results show it goes about its efficiently, with a spindle spin speed of 5,400rpm.

There’s little about the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive to distinguish it from the pack, however. Content can be dragged and dropped to and from a laptop or PC to the drive, but there’s no winning software interface to help you manage your multi-gigabyte archive.

Nero’s BackItUp 2 Essentials software is part of the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive setup. This takes just a minute or two to install and covers the basics of creating a new archive or restoring one should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself with a corrupt drive. There are friendlier-looking programs out there than this one, but it works well enough.

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The Verbatim Portable Hard Drive is a lightweight USB 2.0 external storage device with a scratch-resistant plastic chassis.

What doesn’t seem to be offered by the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive is much in the way of data protection. So while we were able to copy the entire contents of our Vista laptop to any connected drive, no questions asked, it was down to us to think to encrypt the contents - you must first click the More radio button to see what else is offered. Even then, encryption requires only a common-or-garden password. By contrast, we were given a prompt about drive compression.

The other issue is that by default the Nero software overwrites existing data – something you only discover by investigating the various settings under the Configure menu. You have to alter this in the less than obvious Restore pane.

To be fair, the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive will suit many users who simply know they should get into the habit of creating a backup of their work. Ensuring that archive is secure shouldn’t be an afterthought.

According to product details listed on the Verbatim website, research company GfK predicted a huge growth for this sort of external backup device – the unimaginatively named Portable Hard Drive comes across as a response to that fact. (Actually, they liked the idea so much they bought existing hard drive maker SmartDisk.)

Unfortunately, that’s all it does. Verbatim’s offering does nothing to push the boundaries of design or capabilities.

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Verbatim Portable USB Hard Drive: Specs

  • 500GB USB external drive (320GB and 250GB also available)
  • Samsung Serial ATA HDD
  • 135x85x25mm
  • 170g
  • 500GB USB external drive (320GB and 250GB also available)
  • Samsung Serial ATA HDD
  • 135x85x25mm
  • 170g

OUR VERDICT

A solid, decent but uninspiring backup drive, the Verbatim Portable Hard Drive will make a good purchase for those who back up regularly.

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