The Samsung S2 Portable hard drive is almost identical to the company's S1 Mini that we reviewed in 2009, except that the S2 Portable is slightly larger because of the 2.5-inch hard drive spinning inside. With capacities reaching 640GB ($120) and being available in a variety of bright colors, the Samsung S2 Portable not only looks good, but it also has a low per-gigabyte price--a combination we like well enough to recommend it.
Design and features
The S2 Portable chassis is the same rectangular shape as the S1 Mini, but at 4 inches long by 3 inches wide and less than 1 inch thick, the S2 is a bit larger than the S1. The S2's weight varies slightly depending on its capacity, but most people won't have a problem with its size--especially if the drive winds up in a carry-on bag or a laptop case.
|Drive type||2.5-inch external USB flash hard drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Size (LWH)||4.4 inches by 3.2 inches by 0.7 inch|
|Capacity of test unit||640GB|
|Supported operating systems||Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, Vista, 7), Mac OS 10.4.8 and later|
|Software included||SecretZone and Auto Backup|
The S2 Portable is available in six colors that are not only visually pleasing but also help to distinguish the drive from the sea of external-storage solutions floating around the office. Each color wraps around the front and sides of the device, and a circular lattice pattern embellishes its top with speckles of glitter that accent its features. Similar to the grip on the Transcend StoreJet 25f, the back of the S2 Portable is covered with a slightly sticky plastic that prevents the drive from slipping on smooth surfaces.
The S2 Portable is USB-powered, so the only cable you need is included in the box. The drive has a soft blue light on its top that signals when it's transferring data.
Samsung bundles two supplementary Windows-only programs with the drive: Samsung SecretZone and Auto Backup software. The former is a simple imaging program that acts as a digital lockbox for your passwords and other private data. The executable file is already loaded onto the stock drive. Its installation is as easy as choosing a password and specifying how much space on the disk to dedicate to the new image.
The Auto Backup software is a file-based system, which means you have to specify which files and folders you want it to save. Its layout is easy and intuitive to set up, giving you full access to version control, backup scheduling, and file compression. The program also installs a small icon in the Windows taskbar that shows detailed information about the existing data on the drive. Unfortunately, neither program works with Mac OS X.