Eight Portable Hard Drives Compared: USB 2.0 Lives On

Samsung S1 Mini (250GB, USB 2.0)

Samsung’s S1 Mini is based on the firm’s own 1.8” hard drives, which come with an integrated USB 2.0 interface to save space and cost. S1 Minis are based on the new 4KB sector size rather than the common 512 byte size. This has little impact on the end-user, but it's very favorable for the drive maker, which can squeeze out around 10% more net capacity due to smaller ECC needs and inter-sector margins.

There are six different S1 Mini colors to please all tastes. Capacities span from 120GB to 250GB. All models come with a USB 2.0 interface, and the enclosure has roughly the footprint of a credit card, thanks to the smaller 1.8” drives inside. However, a mini-USB cable is not included. Even the 250GB model tops out at a featherweight 85 g. Samsung's S1 carries a three-year warranty.

All software comes installed already. Samsung adds several useful features, such as Auto Backup and SecretZone, creating a virtual drive with encryption. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get SecretZone working under 64-bit Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating systems. Apparently, the app hasn't been updated to work with these editions. We’ll look at the Samsung software shortly.