Freecoms tough SSDs for travellers
The Freecom Mini Tough Drive SSD meets the need for a portable drive that has adequate capacity for most normal needs and is robust enough to withstand any hard knocks of everyday use by those who spend an amount of their time on the move.
This USB 3.0 drive is available in two capacities: 128 and 256GB. It is 87 x 53 x 17mm in size and so will fit comfortably into the palm of one’s hand or in one’s pocket or computer bag and, weighing just 70g (2.5oz.), one hardly notices it. It is coloured light blue, grey and black and as most of the surface has a non-slip rubberised surface it is not likely to slip out of one’s hand. However, the makers claim that being solid state, and with its anti-shock frame, it will withstand drops of up to 3 metres. (This I have not tried.)
Overall, as it is also certified to the IP55 environmental standard for both dust and water resistance it is likely to be able to withstand the use and abuse by road warriors who, in their travels, cannot always take the best of care of their equipment. Importantly, it has a short built in USB cable which stows flush with the body when not in use and hence cannot be mislaid.
The tiny Quick Install Guide covers the installation of the provided software and also recommends that one should make a backup on one’s PC of all the Freecom files preloaded on the Tough Drive and also makes the point that, although backwards compatible to USB 2.0 one will only get optimum performance when connected to USB 3.0.
The software provided is on the drive itself and is for both PC and Mac. The on-disc user manual is the standard one for all Freecom mobile and desktop hard drives. It covers installing the drive, installing the application software, and then saving the files preloaded files on the Tough Drive onto one’s PC.
As well as repartitioning and formatting software there is Nero BackItUp and a hard drive eraser which, overall, should meet most user needs.
Being USB 3.0 it has a theoretical data transfer rate of up to 430MB/s. However, although I found it appreciably faster than my USB 2.0 there a great number of variables involved and the data transfer speeds that I obtained fell far short of this figure. Irrespective of that apparent limitation I found that it was an easy and convenient drive to use and, being solid state, one is not faced with the worry at the back of your mind, that you have with a hard drive, that there is a chance -- no matter how remote -- that a heavy knock could wreck it and you could lose all your data.
The Mini Tough Drives SSD are available in 128 and 256GB capacity at suggested retail prices of £109 and £209 respectively even though they are offered on Amazon at £79.21 and £196.09. While these prices are considerable more than hard disc based drives, they meet a different need and could be a sound investment for those who are regularly on the move.
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