Product Type: Freecom External Hard Drive
Newest Review: ... but not as durable. The Toughdrive does posess an extra feature not usually seen - Freecom's integrated password protection. Upon plu... more
Tough but has a few bad apples
Freecom Toughdrive 750 GB
Member Name: dannylee
Freecom Toughdrive 750 GB
Advantages: Compact, constructed well enough to be carefree about handling
Disadvantages: Seemingly not perfect quality control
I work for a company which maintains a fair amount of IT systems. One of the main elements of maintenance is a solid backup.
It's important to have software which can comprehensively do the job of compiling valuable data, but it's even moreso to have a portable hard drive which can be trusted to keep and hold it.
Freecom Toughdrives have been our mainstay USB portable drives for a long old while, and they do the job with satisfaction. There is only one achilles heel of the toughdrive which seems to be that of every 15 drives we buy, 1 may develop a fault sooner or later which is seen to be a manufacturing defect. The remaining drives will give long, unrelenting service being put to use for hours every day shipping large files over and over again with long periods of use. Toughdrives are fully in line with the expected speeds and use power-over-USB, so unless you have an ancient computer then no accompanying power cables are necessary, even though every toughdrive has an adaptor jack tucked underneath the USB fob. We have never needed one, but on one particular system it was necessary to use a powered USB hub as whilst the Toughdrive was given enough power to work, it was not quite enough to be 100% reliable. This is not a fault with the Toughdrive, but something to consider if yours seems to act odd when transferring the big stuff.
With that out of the way, it seems that credence must be given to the Toughdrive's good points. Faithful to it's namesake it IS highly portable. Not only is the casing adorned with a rubber sleeve for shock dissipation, it also has an integrated USB cable which tucks away very neatly with very little fiddling. It is still a good idea to use the supplied USB extension cable to avoid uneasy torsion of the short USB jack whilst the drive hangs off the back of a computer or laptop, but nonetheless as a compact self-contained unit it is easily the smallest and most storable of drives we've used.
We use these drives for both backups AND general utility. We find no problem in having a Toughdrive forever roaming our office shelves and floating about amongst screwdrivers and pliers in our toolbags. The same can't be said for most other portable drives which may be prettier and more presentable but not as durable.
The Toughdrive does posess an extra feature not usually seen - Freecom's integrated password protection. Upon plugging the toughdrive in, you will see not only the data-holding partition of the toughdrive but also a password-protection drive next to your CD/DVD Drive within your 'My Computer' window. This lets you set a password to secure the contents of the drive itself in a very simple and direct way. For the average computer user who simply needs one Toughdrive to get them around, this can be a very useful addition and it does legitimately work to blanket-protect whatever you're storing. I can't imagine that it is infallible (very few password systems of this type are) but it can certainly stop prying colleagues or acquaintances from looking at sensitive stuff.
All in all, Toughdrives are a bit more utilitarian and ugly compared to some, but that is more down to the obvious attention to keeping data safe than keeping data pretty. Pretty Good, but if you're really unlucky you may end up with the one that stops working within weeks. This injects a bit of uncertainty in a dangerous area. Nobody wants to move all of their valuable, irreplacable files to a Toughdrive for it to suddenly be flushed away. Perhaps using it in a 'trial period' can put minds at ease. After all, It is not as if every hard drive ever made by anyone was bulletproof - you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. It's a shame to put emphasis on a few bad apples, because the good ones ARE great.
The 750GB drive specifically is one we are using many of just lately, so this review applies best to them. The actual internal hardware and manufacturer used will surely differ between drive sizes so some unreliability or quality control on the 750GB may be worse or better than other specifications. Just be aware of this!
Summary: Tough, rough and ready but beware of the small minority of defects
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