External Hard Drive – SimpleTech Signature Mini Espresso Review

by Mike Holman

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external hard driveDigital cameras and computers are wonderful things. They allow us to take lots of pictures of our kids growing up and easily send them to various grandparents/aunts/uncles who don’t get to see them often.  The problem is that sometimes computers fail (especially the hard drive) and pictures can be lost. Over the last few years I’ve been taking steps to make sure that if one of the computer fails we won’t lose any files.

One of the actions that I’ve been doing for a few years to back up the files on our computers to an external hard drive. I don’t copy the entire computer hard drive – just the files that that we want to back up which are mainly pictures.

The problem is that last year we ran out of room. My hard drive was only 50 GB which seemed pretty huge when I bought it but now it was too small. The main problem is our new cameras – the file size is much bigger than on our old camera plus we take more videos which suck up a lot of space. The Sony DLSR A350 takes photos very quickly which adds to the number of files and the Canon 200sx has a great video feature.

So I went shopping for a new external hard drive. These devices are faily simple so I wasn’t looking for anything fancy. I mainly just wanted a lot more storage space.

Over the last 2 or 3 years there have been quite a few advancements in external hard drives. You can buy drives that are much smaller than the old ones with way more space. The other big advantage is that while our old hard drive had to be plugged in separately, the new one plugs into the USB port in the laptop which is very convenient. The last advancement is looks – some of these hard drives look very, very good! The one we ended up buying was designed by the same company that has styled most Ferraris. :)

What external hard drive did I end up buying?

SimpleTech Signature Mini Espresso external hard drive 500gb.  The price was $150 but I notice that Best Buy has it for $130.  Amazon.com has it for $99.

The storage is 500 gigabyte which is 10 times the old one. I’m under no illusion that this will be enough space forever but it should hold us for a few years. It had comparable data transfer rates to other drives and I found the small size was definitely a plus.

It also has a 1 click backup feature which I have yet to utilize but I am planning on doing this.

It plugs into your standard USB 2.0 port and has the following dimensions:  4.4″ x 5″ x 1.5″ and weighs in at 0.5 pounds. Very small.

This wasn’t the cheapest option for a hard drive but the small size was enough for me. The cheaper drives generally were larger (and not all that much cheaper).

Do you use an external hard drive for backup?  If you don’t do any kind of backup then I urge you to buy an external hard drive and start backing up.  I’ll be posting more on this topic.

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