Maxtor OneTouch II review

£143
Price when reviewed

Maxtor’s second revision of the OneTouch offers the second-biggest capacity among the external disks here, and it’s relatively cheap per GB at 48p. It isn’t as small as the LaCie above, but the aluminium casing is reasonably svelte at 70mm thick and it comes with a plastic stand for vertical operation.

Maxtor OneTouch II review

There are dual-FireWire and USB 2 interfaces – as with the Seagate 200GB disk – and a power switch. Stylish transparent USB and FireWire cables are included in the box, along with the external PSU. This makes the Maxtor less portable; if you want a hard disk to carry around, look at the Seagate Portable.

Maxtor also bundles Dantz Retropect Express HD, which does a similar job to Seagate’s BounceBack. You can schedule automatic backups, or press the button on the front whenever you want. You can’t restore a broken Windows OS with one button press, but after you’ve manually reinstalled Windows you can then install the Retrospect software and choose which files and folders to restore from the OneTouch II.

If 300GB isn’t enough capacity for your needs, you can stack several OneTouch IIs on top of each other, thanks to the subtle ridges and depressions in the casing that prevent them from sliding around.

Performance was respectable over the USB 2 interface. Using HD Tach RW, we measured an average STR of 26.9MB/sec – similar to all other external USB 2 disks. Reading large files was slightly slower at 25.9MB/sec, and writing again par for the course at 23.2MB/sec. The OneTouch II managed 8.5MB/sec when reading small files and 1.5MB/sec when writing them – the only really disappointing result. As our files were extremes of size – 100MB and a few kilobytes – you can expect performance to be somewhere in between the small and large transfer rate results for most day-to-day use.

Although this performance isn’t stunning compared to the LaCie Big Disk, most people will like the fact that the OneTouch II is so quiet. At idle, we could barely hear the disk spinning in our test room. When seeking, we measured it at just 27.9dBA – again, practically inaudible. Essentially, the only way you’ll know the OneTouch II is on is by the blue LED on the front.

At £143, the Maxtor offers a lot of storage space and some decent backup software. It’s quieter than the Seagate and is leagues ahead for style. However, the LaCie 250GB, at £91, remains better value if you don’t need the backup software and extra 50GB capacity.

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