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.

Freecom ToughDrive Pro review

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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