LaCie Rugged XL review

£117
Price when reviewed

With its bright orange casing and aluminium exterior, LaCie’s latest external hard disk certainly stands out. The dubious covering isn’t just for show, though, with LaCie claiming that the combination of rubberised sheath and metallic chassis makes this disk rugged enough to withstand plenty of bumps and falls.

As well as the outer shell, LaCie cites internal anti-shock bumpers and the protective layer of aluminium to help keep your data safe. There’s no official drop-height certification, but we’d certainly be comfortable lugging the LaCie around in a cluttered bag all day.

As well as being able to handle itself, the LaCie is well-equipped, housing mini-USB and eSATA connections, a power button and a strip of orange light on the front of the unit to signal when it’s turned on. All the relevant cables are included in the box, too.

Performance over mini-USB was good. The LaCie read and wrote our 300MB collection of small files in 17.5s and 22.8s respectively, with both times quicker than the A-Listed Maxtor One Touch 4 Plus, albeit by fractions of seconds – the Maxtor took 17.9s and 24.8s to complete the same tests.

Larger files didn’t prove troublesome, either: the LaCie took 19.9s to read our single 650MB file and 23.2s to write the same file to and from our super-fast RAM disk, compared to 22.1s and 22.7s from the Maxtor. When asked to read and write a 1.5GB file the LaCie didn’t flinch, either, reading in 46.8s and writing in 53.5s – again, quicker than its A-Listed rival, but not by much.

The Rugged XL got even quicker over eSATA, too: it took a mere 3.1s to write our 300MB group of small files to the RAM disk, and 5.4s to write the single 650MB file – with this figure barely dropping, to 6.2s, when writing to disk. The 1.5GB file was also handled easily, with the LaCie taking 15.1s to read the file and 13.8s to write it.

However, at £117 for 1TB, this is £27 more expensive than the A-Listed Maxtor while offering the same amount of storage – that’s 12.5p per gigabyte compared to 9.6p from the Maxtor. The only major difference is that extra protection and, while it’s certainly a welcome extra if you travel a lot, it’s not quite enough to earn LaCie an A List spot this month.

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