Labels aside, most of the external hard drives that come through our labs are indistinguishable from one another--they employ the generic aesthetic formula consisting of a simple rectangular case and a USB port on top. Iomega continues to earn our recommendation with its latest portable drive series, the Skin. The line includes the "Knock Out," "Radical," and "Red Hot," and all three designs carry a custom graphic provided in collaboration with popular action-sports label Skin Industries. As usual, Iomega delivers the goods both inside and out with extra features like Drop Guard, plenty of data protection software, and an impressive warranty that lasts for three years. Granted the Sailor Jerry-esque designs aren't for everyone, but the Skin series certainly continues Iomega's reputation for putting out attractive, easy-to-use, affordable portable storage drives.
Design and features
At 4.9 inches long, 3.3 inches wide, and 0.7-inches thick, the Iomega Radical Skin is even thinner than the eGo Portable we raved about last year, thanks to the 2.5-inch drive inside. The small footprint earns points for portability, and its 0.36-pound weight fits comfortably in a shirt pocket for easy transportation.
The Radical Skin is adorned by a custom graphic designed by Skin Industries, a sports apparel company that was once exclusive to Freestyle Motocross (FMX), but now reaches across "all sports and levels from amateur to professional." Comparable to Sailor Jerry, Von Dutch, and maybe a little "Jersey Shore," the white and yellow script aggressively pops off the black background and looks much tougher than the majority of competitive drives we review.
The 2.5-inch SATA hard disk spins at 5,400 revolutions per minute, and a smooth case protects the inside with Iomega's Drop Guard feature for protection up to 51 inches. Just for kicks, we purposefully dropped the Radical Skin from three and four foot heights, and each time the drive worked flawlessly. The interface is just as clean as the exterior; a single mini USB 2.0 sits on top and a small LED light blinks green to indicate the drive is transferring data. The Radical Skin is also one of the first Iomega hard drives not to include an extra power port, since it draws data and juice from USB.
|Drive type||External USB flash hard drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Product Dimensions (LWH)||4.9" x 3.3" x 0.7"|
|Capacity of test unit||500GB|
|OSes supported||Microsoft Windows 7 / Vista / 2000 / 2000 Professional / XP Home / XP Professional / XP Professional x64, Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.6 or higher|
|Software included||Trend Micro Internet Security, Roxio Retrospect Express Backup software, Iomega QuikProtect, and MozyHome Online Backup|
In addition to physical protection, the Skin series also includes a suite of software , including a one-year free subscription to Trend Micro Internet Security, Roxio 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 purchase of the drive, but there are no CDs in the packaging; Instead, Iomega cleverly includes license codes for each program to download directly off the Iomega Web site.
Roxio Retrospect Express Backup HD is a lighter version of Roxio's $50 professional backup software, but it can still perform all the backup functions you need to protect your data, including incremental backups and dated restore points. The layout of the program is intuitive and easy to use, especially since there aren't many options on the home page. In the setup process, you can choose to either backup using simple file duplication or compress 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 in order 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.