Freecom Hard Drive XS 3.0 1TB review

Price when reviewed

We’ve yet to see USB 3 hit laptops with a vengeance, but with PCI adapters now available for under £10 upgrading is a no brainer. As a result, all the big-name manufacturers are now releasing mainstream products, the latest being Freecom with its Hard Drive XS 3.0.

An external desktop hard disk boasting a generous 1TB of storage (with 1.5TB and 2TB options also available), the XS is a little different to the average bulky plastic drive. It’s covered all over with soft, tactile rubber and it’s compact too, measuring just 114 x 182 x 31mm (WDH).

Freecom Hard Drive XS 3.0 1TB

As it’s a desktop model there is an external power brick, which brings the overall weight to a hefty 974g, but its durable finish, which resists marking and scratching well, and its small size make it a contender as a carry-everywhere, do-it-all external data source and backup drive.

Performance-wise, it’s generally pretty swift. Writing 300MB worth of 3,000 small files taxed the Freecom the most, and in this real-world test it measured a disappointing 20.4MB/sec. That isn’t unusual for a USB 3 drive, but fortunately writing large files proved far quicker. We recorded peak speeds of 97.2MB/sec while writing a single 3GB file to the drive, and read speeds in the same tests of 53.6MB/sec and 106.3MB/sec respectively.

That’s almost twice as quick as most USB 2 drives, but further investigation reveals it isn’t the fastest drive on the block. Its times in the small files test aren’t quite as quick as the A-Listed Iomega Professional‘s eSATA scores, and it’s slower than the Buffalo DriveStation External USB 3.0 Hard Drive. In our single-file 650MB write test, the Buffalo returned a rate of 112MB/sec to the Freecom’s 88MB/sec.

So it isn’t the quickest drive on the block, but more important than this is the value for money. At £97 exc VAT the cost per GB hits 10.4p, compared to the Buffalo’s 9.5p, so unless you desperately want the sleek rubberised design, the Freecom XS 3.0 isn’t a compelling purchase.


Capacity 1.00TB
Cost per gigabyte 10.4p
Hard disk usable capacity 931GB
Hard disk type Mechanical

Performance tests

Write speed small files 20.4MB/sec
Write speed large files 97.2MB/sec

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