Transcend StoreJet Hard Drive review: Transcend StoreJet Hard Drive

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MSRP: $115.00

The Good USB powered; tiny; includes carrying case; two-year warranty; great price.

The Bad Low throughput; crippled backup software; no Linux drivers; drains notebook battery quickly.

The Bottom Line Data hits the road with Transcend's inexpensive StoreJet USB hard drive, but it's hardly high performance.

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7.3 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Support 8

Transcend StoreJet

Transcend's StoreJet ultraportable hard drive lets you take 20GB to 40GB of your favorite files with you. Powered through its USB cable, the drive delivers reliable, if not speedy, file transfers. The best part is its low price: it's about as cheap as mobile storage gets these days.

The white-plastic case with chrome accents makes for an elegant device that will blend right in with an Apple PowerBook or Sharp Actius MP30. At 4.2 ounces and measuring 0.6 by 2.8 by 3.7 inches, it is smaller than Apricorn's EZ Bus Mini drive and easily fits into a notebook pouch or a shirt pocket. The StoreJet comes with a 30-inch USB 2.0 cable, a padded case, and a mini CD that contains manuals, drivers, and programs for the drive.

Inside the StoreJet is a 1.8-inch Hitachi hard drive that spins at 4,200rpm and has a 2MB buffer. A blue LED shows that the unit is powered and blinks when data is flowing. Because it is powered through the USB cable, there's no power adapter to lug around. However, playing music from the StoreJet drained the battery on our IBM ThinkPad R50 28 minutes faster than doing the same task with the system's native drive, and 3 minutes sooner than with the EZ Mini.

If you have Windows Me, 2000, or XP, or Mac OS 9 or newer, setup is simple: just plug in the USB cable. The drive takes about a minute to set itself up as the next available drive letter. Windows 98 users will have to load the included drivers manually. No Linux drivers are available. The drive came formatted for FAT32, which we changed to NTFS, yielding 18.6GB of usable space (on the 20GB version), and it was able to read and write data at 72Mbps, or about 35 percent slower than the EZ Mini's throughput.

Software for the device is a mixed bag, with utilities for backing up, password-protecting files, taking your Internet Explorer Favorites with you, and editing an Outlook address book. Unfortunately, ExBoot Express can back up only the contents of the system's C: drive, and it merely mirrors the drive's contents without compression or the ability to perform incremental backups. Using ExBoot, the StoreJet was able to back up the 14.7GB of data on our ThinkPad R50 in 40 minutes, 7 seconds.

Transcend StoreJet comes with a two-year warranty, a step down from Apricorn's three years of coverage. The company's Web site has downloads of key files and basic FAQs but lacks any setup tips or an online forum. You can e-mail Transcend's technicians anytime with a question (the company promises next-day response) or call toll-free weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT. Our e-mail was answered in less than two hours, and we waited on the phone a mere two minutes to speak to a customer service representative.

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