LaCie Christofle Sphere review: Expensive, luxurious, beautiful, and fast

Helpful software suite
The next step after plugging the drive in is formatting the drive. The Sphere comes with a built-in partition that contains its software suite. This partition can be read from any computer, be it a Windows computer or a Mac. You first run the LaCie Setup Assistant software, which will then walk you through five steps to prepare the Sphere, including formatting it and installing backup and security software. You can choose to format the drive in either NTFS (Windows), HFS+ (Mac ), or into multiple partitions with multiple file systems. It took me just a few minutes to get the Sphere up and running.

The software suite includes Genie Backup Free, LaCie Desktop Manager, and LaCie Private-Public. You won't have to use any of the these applications to use the Sphere, but each of them offers some helpful features.

The Genie Backup Free automatically backs up your data every 8 hours. You can add more features to this software by upgrading to the Home or Pro version. This is a little disappointing; considering the cost of the drive, the full version of the software should be included. In my testing, however, the backup worked well; you can select which folder on the computer to back up or let the software pick important data to back up for you. The Desktop Manager shows the status of the drive, and you can use it to turn on the Eco Mode, where the drive will be put in sleep mode when it's idle for a certain amount of time. Finally, LaCie Private-Public is a security utility that lets you create a secure partition on the Sphere to store important data. The software supports the AES 256 encryption algorithm.

LaCie Desktop Manager displays the drive's status and manages its Eco Mode.
LaCie Desktop Manager displays the drive's status and manages its Eco Mode. Dong Ngo/CNET

Performance
It's not just pretty; the Sphere is also a great performer. In my testing with USB 3.0, it registered a speed of more than 100MBps for both writing and reading, ranking around the top four on the charts.

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 3.0 performance scores (in megabytes per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Toshiba Canvio Slim II
118.49 
118.8 
WD My Passport Ultra
117.87 
118.5 
Silicon Power Armor A15
112.09 
113 
Seagate Slim
111.49 
110.4 
IoSafe Solo G3
110.98 
109.1 
WD My Password Slim
107.89 
107.7 
LaCie Christofle Sphere
111.43 
105.5 
Canvio Connect
97.1 
97.4 
Seagate Backup Plus
110.1 
90.9 
Toshiba Canvio Desk
103.74 
88.9 
LaCie Minimus
104.9 
87.7 
LaCie FastKey
115.5 
87.1 
G-Drive Slim
100.3 
86.7 
WD My Passport Edge
97.68 
82.6 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
101.9 
82.4 
HP Portable Hard Drive
83.65 
69.4 

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 2.0 performance scores (in megabytes per second
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
WD My Passport Slim
39.59 
31.3 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
37.3 
27.7 
WD My Passport Ultra
33.67 
28.4 
LaCie Christofle Sphere
33.56 
28.4 
Seagate Slim
33.43 
28.4 
Seagate Backup Plus
33 
28.74 
G-Drive Slim
32.74 
25.6 
Toshiba Canvio Desk
32.71 
25.8 
WD My Passport Edge
32.69 
25.1 
Silicon Power Armor A15
32.64 
26.4 
Toshiba Canvio Slim II
32.58 
26.5 

When used with USB 2.0, the drive was also very decent, with some 28MBps for writing and 34MBps for reading.

Overall, the device worked very well in my trial and produced no heat or vibration. I did run into a small issue, however. While it worked very well with all USB 3.0 ports I tried it with, it seemed that certain USB 2.0 ports on the front of some desktops didn't provide enough juice to power it up. This isn't the first time I've seen this; many other drives have the same issue. With the Sphere, this is not a big deal since plugging it into the front of a computer, with the cable running around would totally kill its beauty affect.On top of that you need to use it with USB 3.0 to get the best perforamnce.

Conclusion
The LaCie Christofle Sphere is clearly not a normal storage device that you pick up at the local store when your computer needs backing up or is running out of space. With a beautiful and unique design, the Sphere is special and should not be compared with other storage devices just in terms of performance and storage space. It'll make a great (and useful) present for your special someone.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

LaCie Christofle Sphere

Part Number: 9000423

MSRP: $490.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Capacity 1 TB