The ADATA DashDrive Durable HD710 (1TB) ($89.99) is a big blue portable hard drive. It’s got a layer of armor to physically protect the drive mechanism, but it’s priced just like a more pedestrian portable hard drive. While the rubberized armor is a plus, some fussy minuses keep the drive from scoring higher overall. Call it a middle-of-the-road rugged drive, and you’d be spot on.
Design and Features
The DashDrive Durable HD710 comes in a selection of colors, including black, yellow, and blue (the color of our review unit). The colors are accents on the rubberized covering on the black plastic housing on the drive, which no doubt helps protect the drive against a hard knock life. The cover is glued on to the drive housing, but a determined child or pet will be able to peel the rubber cover off after some effort. It’s not a big ding, but forewarned is forearmed as they say.
The rubberized cover also has a channel molded into the edge, which grips the included USB 3.0 cable. This differs from the one on drives like the one built into the Apricorn Aegis Bio 3.0 ($249) and the Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive ($199) in that the cable isn’t permanently attached. This is both a plus and a minus. It’s a plus because the channel is convenient and the cable is easily replicable with a standard USB 3.0 micro-b cable if the cable ever becomes frayed or breaks. It’s a minus for two reasons: The cable is kind of finicky connecting to the DashDrive Durable HD710′s connector, because the micro-USB b connector on the drive needs better guide indents and the drive’s protective flap exerts pressure on the cable connector. The extra pressure of the flap puts undue stress on the connector.
The other minus is because when the cable is wrapped around the drive, the cable’s sheath is exposed and could scuff and wear away at several points. It’s also fussy trying to get the cable into the storage groove, and when the cable is in the groove the cable’s connectors are exposed to damage from being tossed around in your travel bag. We’d recommend keeping a spare cable available for when the included cable inevitably becomes worn. Since we’re on a roll here, the portion of the plastic chassis that isn’t covered by the rubber coating has a faux carbon fiber weave decal on it. Fake carbon fiber invariably looks fake.
The DashDrive Durable HD710 is touted as surviving military-spec tests for shocks (drops) and water resistance (including 30 minutes of submersion). While admirable and likely reliable under perfect conditions, the drive has an annoying cover protecting its one micro-b connector. Like the cable storage, the cover is floppy and fussy to get perfectly seated. And as we all know, getting a protective door correctly seated is meant protect the connector against water, dust, and physical damage. Durable drives like the Editors’ Choice LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt (120GB SSD) ($199), LaCie Rugged Mini (500GB) ($119), and Editors’ Choice ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD (120GB) ($499) all have exposed USB connectors, suggesting that if the drive is sealed right internally, the door flap can be superfluous.
The drive itself is fairly innocuous. It’s a standard 1TB mechanism, formatted FAT32 out of the box so you can use it with Macs and Windows PCs equally out of the box. If you need to store large files (larger than 4GB), we’d recommend reformatting the drive NFTS for Windows, HFS+ for OS X, or exFAT for both. The drive came blank from the factory, with no included or pre-loaded installers for apps. You can download several utilities and trial apps on ADATA’s website, including OStoGo (for booting Windows install disks from the drive), HDDtoGo (password protection/document synchronization/Outlook portability), and a 60-day trial to Norton Internet Security. Not a bad lineup, but useless to you if you’re away from an Internet connection.
The DashDrive Durable HD710 is a decent performer on our benchmark tests. The drive is able to copy our 1.22GB test folder in 15 seconds, surprisingly similar to the SSD-powered LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt (17 seconds) and the ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD (16 seconds). On the PCMark05 (4,297 points) and PCMark7 (1,350 points) tests though, the DashDrive Durable HD710 showed that it is definitely a physically spinning hard drive when compared to the ioSafe (25,101 PCMark05, 3,946 PCMark7). The takeaway is that the DashDrive Durable HD710 is fine as a data backup drive or a device to transfer files between computers, but if you need speed for tasks, then a SSD powered drive makes more sense.
For the same price as a vanilla hard drive like the Toshiba Canvio Slim II (1TB) ($99.99) or the Seagate Backup Plus ($89.99), you can get the ruggedized DashDrive Durable HD710 which will take a few more knocks and abrupt movements if you regularly pick up your laptop in a rush while the drive is still attached. However, flaws like the fussy port flap and cable retention groove detract from the drive’s performance and price. The result is more middle of the road than outstanding, so if you absolutely need a fast, rugged drive (emphasis on rugged) we still recommend the LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Thunderbolt or ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD.
|Rotation Speed||5400 rpm|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1 TB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc