Maxtor Basics External Desktop Hard Drive review

Price when reviewed

They call it Basics, and they’re not kidding: this is a drive that makes even some portables look extravagant. It sports an access-light at the front, mini-USB and power sockets at the back, and, technology-wise, that’s it. The only other connector is a slot for a Kensington lock, to prevent miscreants from picking the thing up and carrying it away.

Maxtor Basics External Desktop Hard Drive review

Where the Basics excels is capacity. It offers a massive 1.5TB of storage, although when freshly formatted in NTFS it has a capacity of 1,396GB. The discrepancy is thanks to the way Maxtor – and all hard disk manufacturers – count gigabytes, which inflates the apparent sizes of their drives.

But although the Maxtor Basics external drive may be less capacious than you’d think, it still works out at a tiny price of 6p per gigabyte – better value than even some internal drives. And although such assurances invariably come back to haunt us, at present we don’t see too many ways you’re likely to fill even 1,396GB in the foreseeable future.

Indeed, this being a USB-only drive, to do so would entail more than 13 hours of continuous writing. That’s based on test results showing that the Basics took a very creditable 1min 45secs to receive our 3GB file. Other results weren’t so impressive, though: reading the file back took 1min 39secs, several seconds slower than some rival drives. Performance in our 3,000-file test was merely average.

In an apparent bid to add some interest to this world’s simplest drive, Maxtor has put it in a slightly quirky housing. It bulges, as if physically crammed with data, and discreet slots run down one side. The opposite side is smooth and shiny, to contrast with the mottled texture that covers the rest of the casing. It’s all rather arbitrary, but pleasing enough.

With no freebie software and no accessories, this is hardly a luxury offering – but then the name never suggested it would be. Rather, the Maxtor Basics focuses on price and capacity; and on those terms it’s the best deal you’ll find.


Cost per gigabyte6.1p
Hard disk usable capacity1.40TB
Hard disk typeMechanical


USB connection?yes
eSATA interfaceno

Performance tests

Write speed small files12.5MB/sec
Write speed large files29.3MB/sec

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