LaCie Starck 500GB USB Mobile Hard Drive review

Price when reviewed

Lacie’s Sam Hecht-designed products haven’t gone down too well with us in the past – we’re not sure why anyone would pay a premium for a plain, glossy black box. But the French firm’s collaboration with Philippe Starck has resulted in a much sexier-looking piece of equipment.

And although it’s a humble 500GB external drive, it makes the most of what it’s got: its gunmetal grey aluminium chassis boasts elegant curves and an attractive, textured finish, and the unit is bookended by sleek chrome-effect panels.

The LaCie is well-built too, with a quality feel – essential for a portable drive like this – and boasts a short, colour-coordinated USB cable that stows neatly in a space at one end of the drive.

Begin to use the drive though, and you’ll see that LaCie has prioritised form over function. In our benchmarks, in which we test the drive’s proficiency at reading and writing large groups of small files as well as larger chunks of data, we found the LaCie lagged behind competitors.

Our small file test saw the LaCie read files at 18.9MB/s and write them at 12.9MB/s. The LG External HDD XD2, which is our favourite no-frills USB drive, read the same files at a faster 28.7MB/s, and wrote them at 15.2MB/s.

The one highlight was that it outpaced the LG when writing large files. The drive wrote our test file at 27.5MB/s, quicker than the LG’s 24.8MB/s result, but fell behind again with read speeds, scoring 29MB/s – 4MB/s slower. This performance disappoints even more when you consider the price: at £82, and a whopping 17.4p per gigabyte, it’s far more expensive than the quicker 500GB LG, which cost just £64.

So while there’s little doubt this drive will look great sitting on a sleek designer desk next to a sleek designer laptop or PC, it’s not the most convincing drive elsewhere. It’s slow and you’re paying a very high premium for those looks.


Capacity 500GB
Cost per gigabyte 17.4p
Hard disk usable capacity 465GB
Hard disk type Mechanical
Cache size 8MB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM

Performance tests

Write speed small files 12.9MB/sec
Write speed large files 27.5MB/sec
Overall application benchmark score N/A

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