Sub-Terabyte External Hard Drives

Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus 1 TB

Maxtor’s OneTouch 4 Plus 1 TB is based on a 1 TB Seagate hard drive - Maxtor has been part of Seagate for a few years now. Note that the "4" in the product name refers to the product generation and not to the number of interfaces, which are USB 2.0 and Firewire 1394a. Maxtor’s drive doesn’t have a power switch, but the drive will turn on as soon as there is power on the USB or Firewire connection.

The OneTouch 4 Plus is clearly meant to be a consumer device, as it isn’t stackable. Looking at it from one side, the aluminum panel looks a bit like an ash tray, but nonetheless we liked the visual appearance and product quality.

Since we always run the performance benchmarks first and hence have to erase existing data, we ran into some trouble as we tried to obtain the backup software. It is not possible to simply download it on the Maxtor/Seagate website - you have to submit a support request and include the serial number. Our suggestion is to burn a software CD as soon as you power on the drive. Once that is done, you’ll be able to install it, and to restore it, should this ever be necessary.

The drive comes with a very powerful software package by Maxtor. Its Maxtor Manager allows backing up individual files and folders ; you can define individual file types, and schedule the backup to run at a given date and time. In addition to this there is a program called Sync that allows the synchronizing of folders and files between a host PC and the OneTouch 4 Plus. The main difference here compared to the regular backup feature simply is being up to date : Sync represents your current content, while the backup feature creates a snapshot of the designated data.

All files and folders dragged into the Encryption Tool will be password protected ; the password has to have at least six digits and characters, as well as numbers. It is possible to also password-protect the OneTouch 4 Plus, but this type of security isn’t really as secure as solutions based on full disc encryption. Finally, the last element of the software suite allows users to create entire system images. These can be used as a data source for disaster recovery using the included Linux boot CD to bootstrap the system prior to recovery. Be sure that the OneTouch 4 Plus is FAT32 formatted if you want to use the image recovery feature off the storage medium. And of course, this wouldn’t be a OneTouch drive if there weren’t a one-touch button to trigger one of the features I just mentioned.

Performance of the OneTouch 4 Plus was excellent : the 13 ms average access time is considerably quicker than that of the three other products, USB performance exceeded what we saw from Buffalo’s drive, and Firewire 1394a throughput almost reached 39 MB/s. Maxtor includes the power supply, a USB cable and a Firewire cable. Devices are available in capacities of 250, 500 and 750 GB, but are only being sold in the US and Canada at this point. We found it comforting to read about Maxtor’s (Seagate’s) five-year factory warranty.

  • brett_30
    I'm surprised that the waterproof and fireproof ioSafe Solo didn't make it onto this list!
  • I need the driver for this external hard drive, Im out of town and need to use it. Any ideas?