Cloud Backup: Hitachi’s Life Studio Mobile Plus, Tested

Box Contents, Technical Data, And Assembly


We've been considering packaging in our reviews for a while given that, sometimes, you really can judge a book by its cover, especially when that cover is responsible for protecting the product throughout shipping and retail. Packaging also gives you clues about how eco-minded the manufacturer might be. From this perspective, Hitachi has created exemplary packaging by getting rid of unnecessary plastic and instead opting for form-shaped cardboard. Instead of including an installation CD, the hard drive is configured as a virtual CD drive that provides all required software.


A short, printed manual is included, helping the user through the first few installation steps. The drive also comes with two USB cables in addition to the docking station and 4 GB USB stick. In this Mobile version of the product, power comes directly from USB ports. To help deal with any low-power ports, Hitachi includes a Y cable with two USB connections. We found the USB cable a bit short, and had to use an extension cable to connect the Life Studio Mobile Plus to the tower PC located below our desk.


• 2.5" external hard drive
• 4 GB USB stick
• USB docking station
• 2 USB cables
• LifeStudio software
• Hitachi backup software

Technical Data

• Available capacities: 250 GB, 320 GB, and 500 GB
• Available colors: graphite and platinum
• Dimensions (HxWxD): 13.6 cm x 8.5 cm x 8.05 cm
• Supported operating systems: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 with USB 2.0 or 1.1 ports. Apple MacOS 10.5 or newer with USB 2.0 or 1.1 ports.

First Startup

Assembly is hassle-free. When unpacking, observe how parts are placed inside the box. Maybe even take a picture or two. Getting everything back into the box in case you want to return the product for whatever reason can be tricky.

Setting up the hard drive and docking station takes about one minute.

USB Connection

We mentioned the short USB cable; hopefully you won't need to buy a longer one. The drive is detected immediately after connecting, and both the hard drive and the USB stick show up as removable media. The next step is to install the software from the virtual CD drive.

  • Randomacts
    So its a do not buy..

    Not surprised.
  • WyomingKnott
    Hitachi’s Life Studio Mobile Plus is a brave attempt at solving that dilemma, but it only really appeals to mainstream users.
    Mainstream users being the majority of the market, this has the potential to be quite successful. "Only appealing to mainstream users" is not much of a handicap.
  • nforce4max
    No thanks, not every one has a dedicated 100mb per second or faster connection and it would be very slow moving my rather large collection of data (3TB worth) and I much rather have the privacy of having my data on hand and no one not knowing what it is.

  • bustapr
    Ever since I watched the movie Summer Wars Ive been afraid of the cloud...
  • dogman_1234
    Cloud computing is dangerous. Sure, many things people have said about other inventis being dangrous that turn out pretty good, the cloud is no exeption. I prefer an external HDD, thank You very much.
  • wildwell
    This thing sounds like it is already outdated... not enough storage space, too slow an interface, etc. I know this product is not aimed at Tom's members, but even my mother (a retiring baby boomer) has accumulated more data than would be practical for this system.

    Does anybody here back-up large quantities of data to the cloud? I've been thinking of encrypting a handful of folders and opening an account with Mozy or BackBlaze as a supplemental off-site backup. I need to backup about 3TB of total storage.

    My concerns are mostly with the geophysical security of these companies. Do they have multiple locations? How secure are these places physically from robbery, fire, etc. What about the financial stability of these companies? Their employee access to the data, etc?

    Any thoughts?
  • dogman_1234

    No. Thar is the issue with the cloud. No one knows the security of the serves. If a malware attack is comensed on the server with your info, they can't disconnect form the internet like you can. If an attack occures, you may lose your data...which beats the purpose. I would get several external HDD. It would be ALOT cheaper than losing your data to a company who doesn't relly care about service exept cash.
  • gmgj
    I see myself storing encrypted docs in the cloud in the near future. I don't see myself storing all my music video and pictures in the cloud. Its around 500 gig. I need a small fire safe for my usb drive. Large fire safes are HEAVY and unless you spend > $300, you get a cheesy lock that is hard to open and prone to breaking
  • dogman_1234
    dONT dend sensitive documents to the cloud. Someone could steal them and break in to them. This whole cloud thing is a joke.
  • dertechie
    dogman_1234dONT dend sensitive documents to the cloud. Someone could steal them and break in to them. This whole cloud thing is a joke.
    That's why you encrypt the things properly first. Good luck decrypting AES-256 without the key.