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At the time of writing this, this item has one other review which was far from positive. Unlike that reviewer I have nothing but good things to say about the Onetouch external drive...
I bought this from Maplins at the end of 2007 as I have a huge amount of music to store and I just didn't feel comfortable saving it on my laptop as it would slow it down too much and might even fill up the laptop memory. I originally set out to get the 1TB option (1000 GB) but it was out of stock. Being as impatient as I am I bought the next best thing, the 750 GB.
On opneing the box, everything was clear. There was the power cable (with UK and European plug adaptors), the USB cable, instruction booklet and the external drive itself. So far, so good. I plugged it all in and switched it on. The installation software is built into the drive and it took a few minutes for everything to be installed onto my computer and for it to be ready to use. I started by copying a few folders at a time as a slow introduction but once I became confident of its abilities I started copying larger amounts over.
I have quite a bit of music and photos stored on my work computer and it made sense to transfer them onto my drive so that everything ws backed up in one place. In one go I transferred 8GB of files from my work computer to my external drive. It took a while to do but there was no problems in doing it at all.
I currently have almost 400GB of files (music, photos and office documents) and I never have any problems or delays in accessing data. All I need to do now is plug it into my laptop and I'm off, it automatically loads everything and I have instant access to my files on the external drive. You also have the option to set is so that the external drive automatically saves everything from your computer and makes back-up copies. I haven't used that feature but it is a good one to have surely.
The drive itself is pretty sleek, black with curved sides. Its fairly small and easily stored away on a shelf or in a drawer. It also has a nice white light which flashes when it is switched on.
Maxtor is a big Hard Drive manufacturer and I have used them before even buying drives to put into two of my own PCs and both times the drives have worked fine, knowing this I thought they would make good external drives...
In the box you are provided with the External Hard drive itself which comes very well protected in a moulded plastic box shaped to fit in perfectly and the drive itself comes wrapped in clear plastic. You also get a plug with both a European and UK adaptor so you can use the drive wherever you go, the instruction book is Multilanguage and very basic and has the slogan "Save your life" on it. Included also is a USB 2.0 cable, which is of reasonable length, for connecting it to your computers high speed USB 2 port. I don't know what it is lately with electronics, but the manuals that come with them seem far to basic!
The Maxtor OneTouch 4 is quite a good looking External Drive, it is a rounded box shape that slopes down. It also has the brand name Maxtor on the side in shiny black lettering and on the front of the drive (this is covered in protective tape when you open it to protect the finish). There is also a bright white light which pulses when the drive is on and active, in my opinion the light is too large and bright as it illuminates the crack down the middle of the drive where it has been fused together.
Installing the drive is very simple to do. Simply plug your drive in to any USB 2 port and your PC should recognise it and it will load the installation program automatically. This process will take about 5 minutes and it gives you screens telling you the features of your drive while you wait. After that you will be prompted to reboot your computer after which the drive will be fully functional.
The drive does not feature 750GB as advertised but 699GB but those of you who have bought hard drives will know that manufacturers measure the amount of space differently and you always get slightly less than advertised. It comes with Maxtor software and manuals preloaded on the drive which take up around 200MB of space which can be removed if you don't want it. It also comes with a 5 year (limited) warranty so I thought this thing would last me a while.
The software that comes with the drive is called Maxtor Manager and has three basic functions. Firstly you can check the amount of free space that your drive has (you can also do this through the My Computer section of your PC), you can also run a drive check to make sure your drive is functioning correctly, I did this as soon as soon as I started using mine and it reported no problems, lastly you can customize the OneTouch button which is the button on front of the drive, it is automatically set to back up folders of your choice but you can change the folders or make it run a program when pressed. If you want to just drag data from your PC to the drive you can do this by browsing the drive like you would your local hard drive.
The copy rate is reasonably fast and through USB 2.0 I transferred many GBs of my music, photos and documents to the drive in minutes. The meter measuring copy speed was reading about 20MB/S. You can also purchase a FireWire cable if you want to use the drive this way (or if you have a Mac) and the copy speeds will be improved slightly. To really give the drive a work out I installed a game (World in conflict) and I played it with no issues, with my work done I switched my PC and External Hard drive off satisfied.
The next day when I came to my computer switched it on I went to access my documents on the drive and nothing happened. I checked all the connections, no faults. I checked the manual but it was totally unhelpful and had nothing in the way of troubleshooting. The Maxtor Manager software reported no hard drive connected but thankfully had a link to the Seagate/Maxtor site where the problem was diagnosed as a failed drive. Wow, a drive guaranteed to work for 5 years had failed in a single day! After a quick search on the net I found stories from other people who had the same problem, not a good sign. The drive which apparently "Saves your life" ruined mine, my entire music library, photos and work had been deleted.
This drive was not cheap costing £119.99 from a local PC store. Thankfully I was able to get a full refund, I was offered a replacement but declined after my terrible experience and hearing about others. If by some miracle you get a working drive it would be worth every penny as an internal drive of the same size is about the same price but an external is far more versatile, the software is great and the drive is quite good looking, a shame it didn't last more than a day... 2/5