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.
Cost per gigabyte
The S2 Portable offers an excellent deal across all capacities, and we calculate the 500GB model to cost 20 cents per gigabyte--enough to push the LaCie Rikiki out of the first place position for affordable drives. At just $120 for the 640GB model, the S2 still offers plenty of storage for gigabyte gobblers on a budget.
We did a simple data transfer test and compared the Samsung S2 Portable with four other external drives in a similar price range. According to our stopwatch, the S2 Portable read our file at 28.89MBps and wrote it back at 25.26MBps, earning a top spot on write speed and coming in a close second behind the G-Tech G-Drive Mobile to read our 6.61GB media folder. Still, the differences between the top scorers are so marginal that you won't be able to tell the difference unless you're transferring a file that's 10GB or larger.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|USB read test||USB write test|
Service and support
Samsung protects the S2 Portable with a generous three-year warranty that guards against manufacturer defects. If you have a problem with the drive, Samsung will ship you a replacement drive while you send the defective drive to the company for testing. For general troubleshooting issues, Samsung provides a comprehensive list of FAQs, a glossary, a user guide, and even a self-diagnostic chart to check your drive for common errors before contacting the RMA service. The company also provides an e-mail form that puts you in direct contact with a Samsung technician.