Iomega – eGo Blackbelt review

comprehensive protection with portable external drive
Photo of Iomega – eGo Blackbelt

Iomega is an old hand in the storage and backup market, and has just updated its range of portable solutions with the stylish new eGo series. We have the eGo BlackBelt 500GB model on test, so named because it’s black, and has a rubber ‘belt’ around the enclosure to protect it from knocks and scrapes.

It’s certainly one of the better looking devices of its type, is slim and portable enough to fit in a pocket and is finished in smooth gloss black with silver lines. In combination with the rubberised strap Iomega offers additional security in the form of its Drop Guard Xtreme shock tolerance protection, which is awarded to drives that can survive falls of up to seven feet, though the test procedure specified “onto industrial carpeting” rather than solid floors or concrete.

Regardless, it certainly seems to have enough in its armoury to take a good deal of punishment, and Iomega backs this up with some impressive tools on the inside as well.

The eGo on test is a USB 2.0 model (USB 3.0 is also available) and connects to your computer via the twin USB to mini-USB cable supplied; with the additional connector provided for computers that may not supply enough power to the drive through a single port. After this point it should be picked up as a standard drive and, although Iomega does offer a range of useful software, this is via free download rather than coming preinstalled.

The tools on offer include a one year subscription to Trend Micro Internet Security, Iomega Retrospect, Iomega QuikProtect for Windows and MozyHome Online Backup (with 2GB of free storage).

Retrospect Express covers backup and restore using a typical wizard-based approach and allows you to search backup sets for specific files, create scripts and schedules for automated tasks and create a bootable CD for disaster recovery. Presentation here is pretty basic and initially the wide range of tools can appear overwhelming, but with a bit of practice it’s easy enough to find your way around.

MozyHome is a useful addition for those who would prefer to keep copies of important files at a remote location, and comes with 2GB of free online storage. Once an account has been registered you’ll see a clear, tabbed interface that makes it quick and easy to create schedules and add files. File status is reflected in Windows Explorer to indicate whether the current version of a file has been successfully backed up, has been modified since the last backup or is scheduled for future upload. It’s a nicely automated process and offers encryption, detailed summaries of activity and can also be used to create local backups if you prefer the software to Retrospect.

Finally, QuikProtect is a fast, stripped-down alternative that’s capable of saving multiple file versions and works quietly in the background to maintain the integrity of a backup set when files are changed, or at predetermined intervals.

Though the range of software provided here is undoubtedly comprehensive, many of the key functions are duplicated in the different packages so for most users one will be sufficient depending on personal preference and backup requirements.

Though the eGo is a bit more expensive than more basic rivals, there are already significant discounts available online and as an effective combination of portability, style and security it’ll take some beating.

Company: Iomega

Iomega has done a great job with the eGo, which offers plenty of peace of mind through both external shock protection and the range of software that's available. It'd be well suited to those who would carry large amounts of data around on the move and, being reasonably priced, there's no reason not to recommend it.