Iomega eGo BlackBelt Mac Edition (1TB)
We recommended last year's version of the Iomega eGo Portable Mac Edition because of its impressive throughput speeds and a rugged design. Now the latest eGo BlackBelt version ups the device's capacity to 1TB for just $220 and adds an additional drop-protection measure that wraps the drive in a tough rubber enclosure. Now with physical protection from 7-foot drops and a useful backup software suite included, the Iomega eGo Portable Mac Edition is faster and cheaper than ever. If we haven't made ourselves clear enough, we firmly recommend this updated drive series.
Design and features
The eGo Portable Mac Edition is slightly larger than last year's model at 5.88 inches long by 3.75 inches wide by 0.93 inch thick, but the difference is unnoticeable unless you're carrying it around in a pocket. Instead of Iomega's classic glossy red, silver, and blue finishes, the eGo BlackBelt's exterior has a muted black glaze that gives the device a professional look. To keep it simple, Iomega offers the BlackBelt in only a 1TB capacity for $220, which keeps the drive's cost-per-gigabyte ratio lower than that of the competition.
|Drive type||External USB flash hard drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Product dimensions (LWH)||5.88x3.75x0.93 inches|
|Capacity of test unit||1TB|
|Supported operating systems||Microsoft Windows Vista / XP Home / XP Professional / XP Professional x64 / Windows 7 (32-bit)/Mac OS X version 10.4-10.6|
|Software included||Iomega Protection Suite Mac Edition, Trend Smart Surfing (free download), Iomega QuikProtect, MozyHome Online (2GB free)|
In addition to the new color, the BlackBelt also gets extra drop protection with a feature Iomega calls the "Drop Guard Xtreme Power Grip Band." That's a fancy way to describe what's simply an additional rubber safeguard in the shape of an "X" that wraps around the perimeter of the drive.
The accessory isn't just a throwaway piece; the band defends the eGo against a 7-foot drop, which is 3 feet more protection than the previous iteration offered. If you decide that the Power Grip Band is more nuisance than convenience, you can easily take it off or even put it on other select Iomega eGo drives.
Although it pains us to do so, we dropped the drive from different heights and each time it worked just as well as it did out of the box; we couldn't be happier with the durability of a device like this that's meant to go everywhere with you.
The other eGos we've tested are all fairly basic external hard drives, and the BlackBelt Mac Edition is no different; the smooth aluminum shell protects the 2.5-inch SATA hard disk spinning at 5,400rpm. The interface is just as clean as the exterior, with a cutout on the front edge that houses the single USB 2.0 and dual FireWire 800 ports. We applaud Iomega for bumping both FireWire ports up to the faster speed and keeping its compatibility with FireWire 400.
A tiny LCD on top of the drive glows green to show the drive is transferring data, and we're happy to see that Iomega includes an extra power port if you need extra juice. However, most drives today have a powered USB bus that can easily power the drive without needing extra cables. That said, there's an AC adapter in the box if you really need it.
The "Mac Edition" part of the name refers to its plug-and-play compatibility with Mac's HFS+ format, which lets it work with a Mac computer right out of the box. Iomega also includes a suite of software titles that add another layer of software protection, including a downloadable one-year-free subscription to TrendMicro Smart Surfing software for Mac, 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 access file downloads on the Iomega Web site.
Cost per gigabyte
The previous eGo Portable Mac Edition maintained an affordable price at 34 cents per gigabyte; however, it was still 7 cents per GB more expensive than the Fujitsu HandyDrive. This time around, Iomega pulled out all the stops and offers the 1TB eGo BlackBelt for just $220, or 21 cents per gigabyte. Although it's not quite as cheap as the Verbatim Acclaim, Iomega's triple interface certainly adds more functionality at a generous price compromise.
Using our same test methodology, we calculate the eGo BlackBelt hard drive to read data via USB 2.0 at an impressive 24.9MBps and 30.8MBps to write it back. Our FireWire tests achieved similar results at roughly 9MBps for both read and write tests. Both speeds are on the faster end of the spectrum, but you won't likely notice a big difference with the comparison drives unless you consistently transfer files upward of 10GB in size.
|USB read||USB write|
Service and support
Iomega continues to set the bar for external hard drives with a generous three-year limited warranty that covers standard parts and labor. The Iomega Web site and its user-to-user support forums are excellent sources for troubleshooting, but Iomega will replace the drive in the event of a manufacturer's defect.