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Iomega Media Xporter 160GB review: Iomega Media Xporter 160GB

Iomega dresses the Media Xporter in a fancy casing and tries to pass it off as the ideal companion for your games console, but really, it's just an average external hard drive.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read

Iomega's Media Xporter is an external drive that the company pitches as a companion drive for owners of Sony's Playstation 3 or Microsoft's Xbox 360 console systems. Whenever companies get into gaming peripherals, the design always tries to follow suit with something that either tries too hard to look flashy, or just tries to look like the console it's meant to work with — Pioneer's HTP-GS1 is a good, albeit dated example of the latter approach. Iomega seems to be trying to have a bet both ways in this regard, as the lurid green swirl is somewhat Xbox evocative — but then again, it's original Xbox evocative, rather than Xbox 360. With mirrored ends, it certainly stands out no matter what you plug it into.


Iomega Media Xporter 160GB

The Good

Drive design complements the Xbox 360. Sort of. Decent drive performance.

The Bad

Uses all of the 360's USB ports. Media conversion software badly explained. Have to download media conversion software. Expensive.

The Bottom Line

Iomega dresses the Media Xporter in a fancy casing and tries to pass it off as the ideal companion for your games console, but really, it's just an average external hard drive.

Connectivity on the Media Xporter is very simple, with a standard 5V charging socket (although no AC adapter is provided) and a single mini-USB socket on the back of the drive. A two-headed USB cable is provided for data connectivity and power — more on this later.

In storage terms, the Media Xporter is a 160GB, 5200rpm drive that uses a USB 2.0 interface for both power and data transfer. Iomega's big hook with the Media Xporter, as distinct from, say, any other portable external drive is that it has (and we quote), the "added capability to view/play your media on Xbox 360 and/or PlayStation 3 game consoles". Which is all well and dandy and highly commendable, were it not for the fact that just about any external drive — flash- or hard drive-based — works in exactly the same fashion with the PS3 or Xbox 360. As with other external drives, you can't use the Media Xporter to save, say, Xbox Live Arcade games or other downloads, as the USB ports on the Xbox 360 are read-only.

The Xporter does sell itself with the promise that video conversion software is included, but again this is something of a half-truth. What you actually get is a URL, from which you can download Prism Video Converter, which will handle a variety of conversion tasks. While it's not a massive download in and of itself, it's still an irksome step — why advertise something as "included" when it's really just an optional download?

We suspect that the Media Xporter will have the largest appeal amongst the Xbox 360 crowd, simply because the vast majority of users will have either no on-board storage, or only a meagre 20GB to play with. It's with the Xbox 360 that you will hit a particular limitation, however. The Xporter won't power up with only a single cable — the documentation is specific on this, and we tested with multiple systems to make sure — and so it'll take up both of the Xbox 360's front USB ports, which is too bad if you wanted to use, say, a Charge & Play cable at the same time.

On a basic playback front, the Media Xporter worked well enough for our needs, but we didn't expect that it wouldn't. In pure file transfer terms, we managed an average read speed of around 31Mbps, more than enough for HD video if that's what you're after.

Prism Video Converter is entirely workable, but not terribly well documented if you're not familiar with the ins and outs of video conversion, and it is well worth noting that a number of utilities, some paid and some freeware, will convert into a large number of formats that both the 360 and the PS3 will read natively.

Ultimately, the Media Xporter is all sizzle and no steak. With an asking price of AU$149, it's even arguably somewhat overpriced, so unless the style of the casing makes you weak at the knees, we'd suggest you look elsewhere.