Reviewed By: LPMiller
When one thinks of Plextor, one doesn't really think of hard drives. Burners, video converters, sure. But not a NAS, certainly, and not a portable hard drive designed to take an occasional beating, or a least a drop off of a desk. Yet, Plextor comes though with typical regard to quality, with the Shock Proof 80GB Portable Hard Drive.
Plextor PX-SP08U Features:
• Capacity: 80 GB
• 5400 RPM, 8MB cache
• 3.33 in x 0.74 in.x 5.51 in
• USB 2.0 Max 480 Mbps
• USB 1.1 Max 11 Mbps
• Two- Year Limited Warranty (Parts and Labor)
In The Box:
Plextor offers up a fairly basic package, though for a portable hard drive, one doesn't really expect the kitchen sink. You get the 80GB 2.5 inch drive (a 120GB version is also available), a USB 2.0 cable, micro manual, and the silicone bumper that gives the Shock Proof it's name. As the drive is pre formatted, all you really have to do is plug and go.
With the silicone bumper, the drive comes in a little larger than your typical 2.5 inch enclosure, but does offer quite a bit of protection when you drop the drive, or in my case, have it out right stolen off my desk by a 2 year old with intensive Marine climbing training. Shock Proof is a bit misleading - no drive is truly shock proof, and a you could certainly slam down the Plextor with sufficient force to slam the drive head. But it's a lot less likely to happen with the typical klutz moments one suffers. In fact, I didn't even have to go out of my way to invent ways to drop it, since my commando 2 year old managed to throw the Plextor against the wall a few times before I caught her, followed up be her highly coordinated father dropping it down a flight of stairs.
Yeah, I'm that good.
All in all, the Plextor managed to survive my family, which in an of itself is high praise. And darn near impossible.
The more reviews I do, and the older I get, the less I find myself caring about raw benchmarks. A portable hard drive, in my mind, works or doesn't. It's either too slow, or fast enough. What I care about is compatibility, and data integrity; in that regard the Plextor comes through just fine.
Copying over 16.4GBs of music took about 25 minutes, matching the time of the X-Micro drive I reviewed a year back. Increasing that to 50GB's worth of music, video and photo files had the Plextor managing about 40 minutes, which actually is about the same as my external Maxtor firewire drive. Accessing the data from an computer I plugged the Shock Proof into was easy, though Windows file indexing seemed a little slow when you had many nested folders. That's still pretty typical of a 2.5 inch drive though. I did not come across any kind of file corruption from the transferring.
One thing that seems hit or miss with a drive of this size is streaming music or video, which can drag on any drive that's solely powered by the USB port. On a USB 2.0 port it wasn't a problem, but my laptops 1.1 only port did cause a few stutters, depending on how badly I was stressing my CPU. Still, for those thinking of using a drive like this to keep the music
handy, the Shock Proof works just fine on a typical 2.0 port.
I did something that isn't really the greatest idea in the world - I treated the drive like an actual full sized hard drive. In other words, I kept it plugged in and on, 24/7, for a full week. I constantly accessed the drive for backing up files, and basically treated it like an AC powered drive. I've actually killed portables this way - they aren't really intended for that kind of usage. But the Shock Proof didn't cause any system problems, didn't lock up and start clicking at me, and handled constant formats and rewrites without a problem. In my case, it might be due to the Samsung MP0804H drive used in the Shock Proof - personally, I've always had good luck with Spinpoint drives.
Really, there are only 2 major downsides to the Shock Proof drive. One is the price - at 169 bucks, it's a bit spendy for a 2.5 inch drive, even at 80GBs. The other is the lack of AC adapter, which is only going to be a big deal if you happen to have one of those USB ports that just doesn't provide enough juice to power the drive. It's rare, sure, but it does happen. In fact, Plextor has a list of a few systems that won't power up the drive at all (here), and unlike a lot of portable drives, it isn't even an option. Still, most ports will handle the power needs, and while the price is a little high, it might just be worth it if like me, you live with a monkey. Plus, that two year warranty isn't exactly standard for this type of drive, even if you don't have monkeys.
Little of This, Little of That
It's a little expensive, though you can find it for cheaper if you shop around. It's only powered by a USB port. But it lives up to its name of Shock Proof, handling both wild toddler and klutchy techy with ease. After a solid week of constant use, it didn't even heat up all that much. While I do think a drive of this nature should either be cheaper, or have some sort of back up software included in the price, the Plextor Shock Proof did impress with how tough it was, how it handled constant accessing, and its decent transfer times. It's not going to set speed records, but it is likely to survive the jostling of life, which is really the important thing when it comes to transporting your data.
- Tough, rugged silcone bumper
- 80GB storage space
- Samsung drive
- Little expensive
- No AC power
Rating: 8 out of 10
I sooo need to update that picture. I'm much sexier now.