Hitachi took over SimpleTech a while ago and integrated the brand as a new product line into the storage division. There still is the simpletech.com Web site, now subtitled “by Hitachi.” There are too many different products to mention here. Rather, our interest is with the SimpleTOUGH, Hitachi’s rugged portable.
Like A-Data’s product, this is a 500GB USB 2.0 drive with a rubber coating for extra durability. Unlike A-Data, SimpleTech decided to integrate the USB cable with the drive so you can’t forget it anywhere. The mechanism is well-designed and fully hides the connector under the drive. And it provides a special look; the drive with its connector outstretched might remind you of a stingray or a small animal with a long neck. A visitor to our office found a different analogy, but this is a family-friendly publication.
The design is very solid and it has a mesh texture that Hitachi says provides better grip. Whether or not this is the case, we like it. Hitachi doesn’t mention any specific testing procedures, but it says that the SimpleTOUGH is drop- and spill-resistant (not water-proof). We believe Hitachi’s anecdotal claims of 10-foot drop protection, and we tested the second claim with a glass of water, which we emptied over the drive. After mopping up the mess, we blow-dried the USB connector to make sure there was no residual moisture and reconnected the drive. As expected, it was still working. Still, A-Data’s drive left the more robust impression.
Hitachi’s SimpleTOUGH provides a slightly quicker access time than A-Data, and the throughput is only marginally faster. The USB 2.0 bus is simply maxed out. However, Hitachi found other ways to add value to its product. It comes with ArcSoft Total Media Backup, which we present on the following page, and it’s covered by a three-year factory warranty.