Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile
Thanks to its military-grade ruggedized exterior, the 320GB Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile($95) is the ideal solution for on-the-go digital pack rats who don't want to baby their gadgets. It incorporates three layers of antishock protection and conforms to military-grade drop standards, meaning you won't have to worry about losing your data as it's rolling around in your bag. In addition to the tough exterior, the drive also stands out as the top finisher in our HDD speed and cost per gigabyte tests. As usual, though, the drive is lacking FireWire, which is the only hiccup that prevents us from awarding it our Editors' Choice award. If you're a strict USB 2.0 user and are rough with your toys, your search will end with the Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile.
Design and features
The Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile isn't the first external drive to get the rugged treatment. In July of 2008, we were smitten with the Iomega eGo Camo that withstood a drop at 51 inches above the ground and still worked perfectly. The difference between that model and the StoreJet 25 Mobile is that the eGo relied on a removable Power Grip band to protect the device, while the StoreJet 25 Mobile's protection is built into the chassis. In fact, Transcend boasts that the drive meets the U.S. military's drop-test standards, although we don't suggest you intentionally abuse it to test that claim.
The 2.5-inch internal hard disk is protected by three stages of shock protection: the first layer wraps the drive in a silicone shell to absorb vibrations, the second suspends the hard drive within a tight bracket, and the third layer reinforces the vibration resistance with a thick rubber casing surrounding the drive. Unfortunately, the single USB port on top of the drive remains uncovered and susceptible to dust and other particles floating around.
The drive is available in 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, and 500GB capacities, and each model is also offered in red and black. The drive itself is about the same size as the eGo as well; it measures 134mm long by 80.8mm wide by 18.8mm tall and weighs a little less than half a pound.
|Drive type||External USB Flash Hard Drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Available capacities||160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB|
|Product dimensions||134mm x 80.8mm x 18.8mm (LWH)|
|Capacity of test unit||320GB|
|Supported operating systems||Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS X, Linux Kernal 2.4.2|
A convenient button on top of the drive launches Transcend's StoreJet Elite backup software; within the preferences folder, you can set the drive to "remember" which folders and files you want to store. You can also schedule incremental backups, set different levels of security, and tell the drive to compress larger files and folders.
Cost per gigabyte
The cost per gigabyte for external storage is falling so quickly that it seems to reduce with each portable drive that comes through our labs. The Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile is indicative of this trend--the current retail price of our 320GB model is $95, which comes out to $0.30 per gigabyte--by far the cheapest external drive we've tested. In a comparison lineup with four other external drives, the next cheapest, the Seagate FreeAgent Go, is a full $0.17 per gigabyte more than the Transcend. We expect to continue to see prices falling on portable storage devices like these, but right now, you won't find a better offer than this one.
|Cost (in dollars)||Gigabytes||Cost per GB (in cents)|
Luckily, the StoreJet 25 Mobile didn't falter in our performance tests at all, delivering a solid 28.49 megabytes per second to read and 23.43 megabytes per second to write across our 10GB data folder. The gap in favor of Transcend between for the speed test benchmarks isn't quite as wide as the cost per gigabyte, but that extra 2MB per second faster than the Clickfree Portable Backup Drive is enough to secure our full recommendation for the Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile for traveling professionals who need constant and protected access to their sensitive data.
Service and support
Transcend backs all of its external hard drives with a two-year warranty that covers parts and labor, so long as the damage is not a result of "accident, abuse, misuse, natural or personal disaster, or any unauthorized disassembly, repair, or modification." A two-year warranty is acceptable for an external hard drive, but we always prefer three years to ensure the physical integrity of a portable device made to withstand the abuse of daily transport.