SimpleTech Signature Mini review: SimpleTech Signature Mini

The drive comes bundled with Fabrik Local Backup as the backup solution both for Macs and PCs. We tried the software, and it worked well. It also ships with the Fabrik Ultimate Backup online service that offers 2GB of good-forever online storage for free or unlimited for $4.95 per month.

Cost per GB
Compared with competing portable hard drives that feature small, 2.5-inch laptop drives, the SimpleTech Signature Mini Black Cherry, along with the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini, is the cheapest option we've tested, costing $0.56 per gigabyte. We were pleased to see that you aren't asked to pay a price premium for the Pininfarina design as you do, say, with a Ferrari.

Model Capacity Est. street price Cost per GB
SimpleTech Signature Mini Black Cherry 320GB $180.00 $0.56
Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini 160GB $90.00 $0.56
Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive 160GB $100.00 $0.63
OWC Mercury On-The-Go 500GB $350.00 $0.70
Toshiba USB 2.0 Portable External HDD 160GB $140.00 $0.88

Performance
The Signature Mini Black Cherry did very well in the labs. It topped the charts among pocket-size, external hard drives on our USB 2.0 write test, scoring 147.4Mbps (as opposed to 138.5Mbps of the OWC Mercury On-the-Go). On our read test, it finished in the middle of the pack--we typically don't see much variance in read performance among USB drives. Do note that a drive with FireWire support, such as the OWC Mercury On-the-Go, will offer faster throughput using that interface than USB 2.0.

Transfer speed tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write  
Read  
SimpleTech Signature Mini Black Cherry
147.4 
154.6 
Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini
140.2 
151.8 
OWC Mercury On-The-Go
138.5 
162.6 
Iomega eGo
72.7 
158.2 
Note: (throughput in Mbps per second)

During the testing process, the Signature Mini Black Cherry worked smoothly and quietly. It also managed to stay relatively cool all the time, which is a pleasant surprise as the drive doesn't seem to have any ventilation.

Service and support
SimpleTech backs the Signature Mini Black Cherry (as well as other models in the Signature Mini series) with a generous three-year warranty. Its toll-free technical support is available from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT. At the company's Web site, you can find FAQs as well as drivers, software updates, and manuals.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 2.5"
  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Interface Type Hi-Speed USB
  • Capacity 320 GB
  • Spindle Speed 5400 rpm
  • Buffer Size 8 MB
About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.