EZQuest Cobra+ 120 review:

EZQuest Cobra+ 120

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Huge 120GB capacity; extremely rugged; great performance for an external drive.

The Bad Heavy; no weekend support or dedicated service line; no bundled software.

The Bottom Line The Cobra+ 120 offers speed and space galore, but the trade-offs are more weight and somewhat limited tech support.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

EzQuest's Cobra+ 120 offers massive capacity, excellent performance for an external FireWire hard drive, and a rugged construction that's ready for sharing around the office--although it's perhaps a bit too heavy for truly mobile use. However, the company's limited support hours keep us from wholeheartedly endorsing the Cobra+ 120. EzQuest's Cobra+ 120 offers massive capacity, excellent performance for an external FireWire hard drive, and a rugged construction that's ready for sharing around the office--although it's perhaps a bit too heavy for truly mobile use. However, the company's limited support hours keep us from wholeheartedly endorsing the Cobra+ 120.

It may be big...
The shiny, silver Cobra+ 120 presents some fundamental trade-offs in terms of cost, capacity, and portability. At $329 for 120GB of storage, it offers a lot more space for about the same price as other portable drives such as the WiebeTech MicroGB. But the Cobra's also big and heavy, measuring 8.875 by 7 by 2.25 inches and weighing 6 pounds. Much of the drive's extra heft is due to its rugged construction and materials--you can't build a bomb shelter with balsa wood. It's best suited for moving around an office or a home instead of jet-setting with a mobile exec.

Because it's a FireWire (IEEE 1394) drive, installing the Cobra+ 120 requires nothing more than plugging in the included AC cord and the FireWire cable if you're using a PC. You may need to install some software if you use the drive on a Mac. A quick-setup guide helps facilitate the process, and additional information is included on CD along with Mac drive utilities. The only thing we missed here was bundled backup or other software to use with the drive.

...but it's also fast
In CNET Labs' tests, the Cobra+ 120 turned in scores that compare quite favorably with those of the average desktop model, thanks to the drive's 2MB buffer and new Oxford 911 IEEE 1394-to-ATA bridge chip. HD Tach appraised the Cobra+ 120's burst-transfer rate at 37MB per second, its maximum read speed at 31MB per second, and its maximum write rate at 20.8MB per second--excellent marks for a FireWire drive. The Cobra+ 120 also performed well in our real-world transfer tests, writing large files at 18.4MB per second and small files at 4MB per second, while reading them back at 20.3MB per second and 2.9MB per second, respectively.

Support for the drive is acceptable but could be better. EZQuest backs the Cobra+ 120 with a one-year warranty. Telephone tech support is available weekdays only, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT--a bummer for consumers. Also, you have to call the main (info/sales) number rather than a dedicated line, so that's one hoop to jump through. Online support is adequate, including FAQs, an e-mail link to tech support, software downloads, and registration.

The Cobra's mongoose
It's hard to beat the Cobra+ 120's combination of capacity, speed, and rugged construction. While its weight makes it best for short, desk-to-desk hops, for us, the Cobra+ 120's mongoose was EZQuest's lack of weekend or evening phone support. But if that doesn't faze you, this drive is otherwise a good buy.

HD Tach 2.70 tests
Measured in MB per second (longer bars indicate better performance)
Maximum write speed   
Maximum read speed   
Read-burst speed   
EZQuest Cobra+ (120GB; 7,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
20.8 
31.6 
37.0 
WiebeTech MicroGB (4,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
16.0 
24.7 
37.3 
SmartDisk FireLite (40GB; 4,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
15.6 
24.6 
36.8 
 
Write tests
Measured in MB per second (longer bars indicate better performance)
Small files   
Large files   
EZQuest Cobra+ (120GB; 7,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
3.96 
18.42 
SmartDisk FireLite (40GB; 4,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
3.39 
14.84 
WiebeTech MicroGB (4,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
3.2 
15.05 
 
Read tests
Measured in MB per second (longer bars indicate better performance)
Small files   
Large files   
EZQuest Cobra+ (120GB; 7,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
2.93 
20.3 
SmartDisk FireLite (40GB; 4,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
3.18 
19.73 
WiebeTech MicroGB (4,200rpm; IEEE 1394)
2.71 
17.68 
 
CNET Labs' tests evaluate the range of performance you may expect from a hard drive. The HD Tach test measure a drive's maximum sustained write and read speeds. In addition, it measures read-burst speed, which evaluates the performance of the drive's read-ahead memory and the drive controller.

The EZQuest Cobra+ 120 turned in excellent times for an external FireWire drive, and its scores even matched those of the average internal drive.


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