Freecom just released its new 2.5-inch ToughDrive Sport external hard drive that supposedly endures "even the toughest conditions." But is the thing kid-tested?
There's nothing wrong with a little gimmick to sell a product. Obviously, there needs to be something to make a product stand out above all the others, whether it features a limited-edition nose hair trimmer or can cut off all moving limbs in one fell swoop. Freecom's new ToughDrive Sport doesn't trim or dismember, but according to the company, it's definitely one portable hard drive that can put up with a lot of abuse. However, it's highly unlikely the company put the device to the true test: kids.
That said, you have to hand it to Freecom: it's definitely an interesting design. With the outdoorsman in mind, the ToughDrive Sport looks sturdy enough to survive an avalanche, and even sports an integrated USB that resembles rope-climbing cable. Supposedly, the drive can withstand a 2-meter drop to a flat surface that answers the question of "what would happen if you dropped it from the cliff of a mountain." Thankfully, the built-in metallic loop provides the means to keep it hooked to any belt, backpack or hardness during those long treks, keeping it safe from any accidental droppings.
On the technical side, the ToughDrive Sport comes in three sizes: 250, 320 and 500 GB. To keep the drive safe from hackers and malicious bears, the drive comes equipped with a secure hardware 256-bit password protection MD5 hardware. Passwords are encrypted and stored on a chip, and will grant access to the contents on the drive only if the correct password is provided. Why is that so special? If someone were to rip the hard drive out of the case (aka the malicious bear), the contents would thus be unobtainable. Sorry Pooh, no digital honey for you.
Besides providing a great security feature, the drive can transfer at speeds up to 480 MBit/sec via USB 2.0 (although the drive can also connect to USB 1.1 ports), and can transfer even faster with the included turbo USB 2.0 driver. During operation, the drive has a shock resistance of 300G; 1000G when not in operation. Its overall size is 6.1 x 3.15 x 0.83 inch and weighs only 9.2 ounces. The package includes "extensive" backup software, and according to the data sheet, the drive is useful with not only data storage, file sharing, backup and archiving, but for porting installations between multiple PCs. The latter sounds nifty, especially if the "plug and play" ToughDrive Sport works like the smaller USB drives and utilizes the U3 mini-OS.
"Business-user or consumer… we all carry our data with us and we all require it to be there when we need it," said the company. "Imagine what can happen when you’re on the move, for example biking, commuting to the office, running to catch a flight …. and suddenly your external hard drive accidentally falls from your notebook case or jacket pocket… it breaks, and hundreds of hours of video’s, music, your work, gigabytes of spreadsheets, documents, photo’s are all gone. Not anymore!"
Indeed, losing gigabytes of Apple music or those "special" movies would be a devastating thing, and by its appearance, the ToughDrive Sport does seem to offer more security against accidental damage than other portable hard drives. Currently the drive isn't out in the States, and Freecom did not offer any financial details or ship dates. However, European consumers can pick one up today for €109/£101 (250 GB), €129/£119 (320 GB) and €169/£156 (500 GB). Stay tuned for more North American information when Freecom sends over the details.
Honestly, we'd like to get our hands on one and let the Bestofmedia kids have a go at it! Then we'll see if it really can endure the "toughest conditions."