In addition to physical protection, the eGo Portable also includes a suite of software titles that give it an edge on the competition, including EMC Retrospect Express Backup HD, Iomega's QuikProtect file backup, and a lifetime 2GB per month subscription to MozyHome Online backup. The free software comes with the drive, but you get no CDs in the packaging. Instead, Iomega cleverly includes license codes for each program, which you then download from the Iomega Web site.
EMC Retrospect Express HD is a lighter version of EMC's professional backup software and costs about $50, but it can still perform all the backup functions you need to protect your data, including incremental backups and setting dated restore points. The layout of the program is intuitive and easy to use, especially since there aren't many options on the home screen. In the setup process, you can choose to backup using either simple file duplication or by compressing an entire data dump into one file. The second method is a little easier to organize, although you'll need to reinstall the software onto the new host drive to restore the files. The deal also includes a free lifetime subscription to Mozy.com, a Web site that offers online backups and storage. You only get 2GB per month with the deal, but you can upgrade to unlimited storage for $4.95 per month if you want to take full advantage of the software.
Cost per gigabyte
Although the eGo Portable Mac Edition didn't achieve the lowest cost per gigabyte out of the competition, it still trumped the older model Helium by an impressive 11 cents at $0.34 per gigabyte. None of the latest drives we've tested can get cheaper than the Fujitsu HandyDrive, but keep in mind that none of the other products in the comparison chart below include the additional FireWire ports the eGo Mac Edition has. Considering the vast throughput increases in the performance charts, the eGo is by far the best value out of the bunch and clinches our recommendation for both speed and cost per gigabyte.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
The numbers speak for themselves, and while we're not surprised that the eGo's FireWire 400 scores are much faster than its USB 2.0 scores, we were a little taken back at the significant jump to FireWire 800. Read up on a very informative article on FireWire connections by CNET Labs Technician Dong Ngo to get a more detailed analysis, but we recorded a 15.09 megabyte per second difference between FireWire 400 and 800 on our Mac OS testbed. Dong maintains that FireWire 800 is faster than 400, but not by as large of a margin when transferring data on a Windows XP machine. The FireWire 400 benchmark is still 24.33MB per second faster than USB 2.0 on both operating systems, so you'll see a drastic jump in transfer speed no matter what connection you use.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|FireWire 400 (write)||eSATA (read)||eSATA (write)||USB (read)||USB (write)||FireWire 800 (read)||FireWire 800 (write)||FireWire 400 (read)|
Service and support
Iomega continues to set the warranty standard for external hard drives with a generous three-year limited plan that covers standard parts and labor. These new eGo Portables are the first generation of Iomega's drives to offer the full three-year guarantee, and we applaud the company for taking our criticism into consideration. 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.