The other eGos we've tested are all fairly basic external hard drives, and the BlackBelt Mac Edition is no different; the smooth aluminum shell protects the 2.5-inch SATA hard disk spinning at 5,400rpm. The interface is just as clean as the exterior, with a cutout on the front edge that houses the single USB 2.0 and dual FireWire 800 ports. We applaud Iomega for bumping both FireWire ports up to the faster speed and keeping its compatibility with FireWire 400.
A tiny LCD on top of the drive glows green to show the drive is transferring data, and we're happy to see that Iomega includes an extra power port if you need extra juice. However, most drives today have a powered USB bus that can easily power the drive without needing extra cables. That said, there's an AC adapter in the box if you really need it.
The "Mac Edition" part of the name refers to its plug-and-play compatibility with Mac's HFS+ format, which lets it work with a Mac computer right out of the box. Iomega also includes a suite of software titles that add another layer of software protection, including a downloadable one-year-free subscription to TrendMicro Smart Surfing software for Mac, Iomega's QuikProtect file backup, and a lifetime 2GB per month subscription to MozyHome Online backup. The free software comes with purchase of the drive, but there are no CDs in the packaging. Instead, Iomega cleverly includes license codes for each program to access file downloads on the Iomega Web site.
Cost per gigabyte
The previous eGo Portable Mac Edition maintained an affordable price at 34 cents per gigabyte; however, it was still 7 cents per GB more expensive than the Fujitsu HandyDrive. This time around, Iomega pulled out all the stops and offers the 1TB eGo BlackBelt for just $220, or 21 cents per gigabyte. Although it's not quite as cheap as the Verbatim Acclaim, Iomega's triple interface certainly adds more functionality at a generous price compromise.
Using our same test methodology, we calculate the eGo BlackBelt hard drive to read data via USB 2.0 at an impressive 24.9MBps and 30.8MBps to write it back. Our FireWire tests achieved similar results at roughly 9MBps for both read and write tests. Both speeds are on the faster end of the spectrum, but you won't likely notice a big difference with the comparison drives unless you consistently transfer files upward of 10GB in size.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|USB read||USB write|
Service and support
Iomega continues to set the bar for external hard drives with a generous three-year limited warranty that covers standard parts and labor. The Iomega Web site and its user-to-user support forums are excellent sources for troubleshooting, but Iomega will replace the drive in the event of a manufacturer's defect.