Eight Portable Hard Drives Compared: USB 2.0 Lives On

Brinell Purestorage Elegant S (500GB, USB 2.0)

The Purestorage line from Karlsruhe, Germany-based Brinell is available in 1.8” and 2.5” form factors. We received the latter for review. There are three model lines: "Understatement" is based on black chrome and wood, "Elegant" utilizes chrome and leather, and "Engineered" is based on chrome and brushed steel or carbon. So far, these drives are mainly found for sale in central Europe.

Our 500GB Elegant S sample has a polished metal frame and a black Nappa leather surface. Also available in white and beige, the textured surface feels luxuriously soft. We measured 109 x 74 x 13 mm dimensions, which is about as small as you can get with a portable 2.5” drive, and the 180 g weight is also within the expected range.

The drive's mini-USB port connects to any host PC via USB 2.0 and powers the portable drive. The unit’s performance is in line with most USB 2.0 devices. Brinell adds a cleaning cloth to wipe off fingerprints or dust. However, we found the €189 ($259 US) pricing too steep, especially given a short one-year warranty. For would-be North American buyers, the fact that these drives aren't readily available takes them out of contention almost immediately.


Although Brinell’s FAT32 formatting qualifies the drive for Windows and Mac/Linux users, the PureSync suite is only for Windows systems. The software supports compression and encryption, backup or data synchronization, exclusion of certain files, scheduled backup, and versioning (a given number of historical backups to preserve).