Freecom ToughDrive Pro review

Price when reviewed

The appeal of a miniature hard disk is partly portability, and many of this month’s drives will slip comfortably into a pocket. The Freecom ToughDrive Pro, however, is the only one that’s specifically designed to withstand the rigours of being regularly carried about. It comes in a rubber (sorry, “soft silicon”) sleeve and boasts an internal anti-shock mechanism; purportedly, these protective measures enable the drive to withstand drops of up to 2m.

Certainly, we found that dropping the drive had no effect on its operation, but we were a little unsure about the durability of the silicon case, which simply slides over the drive like a mitten and isn’t glued down. If you make a habit of throwing the ToughDrive Pro in a bag, we fear it could loosen around the lip, and attract dust and crumbs.

One of the ToughDrive’s nicest features is a built-in USB lead that goes straight into the host computer – a convenience matched only by the LaCie. We like not having to worry about cables, but it’s a very short lead, extending only 6cm between drive and PC. For use with a desktop PC, you’ll want to use the included USB extension cable, or the drive is likely to be left hanging in the air. Still, it’s a good idea that really strengthens the Freecom’s portable credentials.

The Freecom isn’t a fast drive, nor is it particularly sophisticated, with the only sort of interface being an activity light built into the USB cable. But if you want to carry a lot of data around and durability is more important to you than pure pence per gigabyte, it’s just about worth the price premium over the Toshiba.

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