This new version retains the advantages and disadvantages of the previous models:
- Capacity limited to 500 GB, with no other sizes.
- A reinforced casing to combat knocks, dust and splashing.
- A nice design though the Rugged hasn't changed at all in design terms since its first version, which dates from USB 1.0!
- Backwards compatibility with old USB standards.
The internal drive is a Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 (HTS725050A9A364), which runs at 7200 rpm and has 16 MB of cache, all on an SATA-2 interface.
Faithful to the Rugged tradition, the USB 3.0 model doesn't disappoint when it comes to speeds. Our tests place it not far behind the eSATA version. The test for large files and for sequential writes even make it one of the fastest drives around currently, rivalling with 3.5-inch format models such as the Verbatim Quad-Interface External Hard Drive.
Access times are however mediocre, which isn't a big problem for a drive designed for storage and transport of files:
Even though it isn't as tough as with internal drives, the PCMark Vantage index places the Rugged USB 3.0 well. Its score isn't exceptional in comparison to those for SSDs or better HDDs but remains good for an external drive. It could therefore occaisonally do more than simply store files:
The other side of the coin in terms of the Rugged's resistance to water, bangs etc is that it is less easy to transport than smaller USB drives. Volume here is not far off 360 cm3 while small drives are often less than 150 cm3. Obviously without the generous rubber protection of the Rugged USB 3.0. The Rugged also weighs 270g against 180g for the featherweights in the category. All the same 270g is easy to transport but less than most external drives in the 2.5 inch format.
- Excellent USB 3.0 performance
- Very nice finish and excellent protection
- USB cable too short
- Currently only exists in 500 GB version. We're awaiting other models impatiently.
The Rugged USB 3.0 should be as successful as the previous series. It's ideal for those who often transport large volumes of files... and whose computer is equipped with the new USB 3.0 interface.