SimpleTech 500GB External Hard Drive Hands On


Good hard drives come in all shapes and sizes, from the practical, boxy models popular with IT folks to the fancy-pants portable units that artistes and poets use to store their highfalutin’ work. The SimpleTech 500GB is an amalgam of those two: small and unobtrusive enough to be ignored but with styling that screams “I take part in Critical Mass rides and might go to Burning Man next year.”


The drive uses wall current and connects via USB 2.0. There is a large button on the top to initiate backups and it also includes a 2GB MyFabrik account in the box for offloading some of your storage to myFabrik’s unique sharing system.

The drive is about seven inches long and SimpleTech, a worldwide manufacturer of flash and HD devices, tapped Pininfarina to design the drives, the same folks who designed the Ferrari. Pretty fancy, huh?

Contents may have shifted.

Amazingly, the drive comes with both Mac and PC backup software. The Mac version requires a little helper app for the button on top, but as far as I can tell the two applications, both from ArcSoft, are identical. It’s formatted in NTFS, which is kind of useless for Mac folks but definitely makes it ready to rock for Windows folks.

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Installation on my Mac Pro was simple — I just ran the TotalMedia backup installer and then the button helper. I had to restart, which was a pain, but I made it through without crying.


The drive is actually very quiet. I have three hard drives in my immediate vicinity, and the SimpleTech device is the quietest of the lot. The 500GB costs about $200 and the smaller models, which include 160 and 250GB, cost $99 and $120, respectively. Definitely not bad for such a hefty drive.

Drives, as they say, are all the same. However, some folks — SimpleTech included — try a little harder to make a nice-looking, solid product.

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