Review: Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go for Mac FW800/USB 3

Verbatim intros “design for Mac” and we review their stylish black portable drive “Store-n-Go” with FireWire 800 and USB 3 interfaces. Internally, the Verbatim Store-N-Go for Mac is home to a Toshiba 500GB 2.5 inch disk mechanism. Early next year, Verbatim will also ship these Mac portable disks in a 1TB configuration.

In 2005, Verbatim became market leader in optical media. In 2010, Verbatim has been very busy working its way up the charts to become market leader for magnetic disk drives. We wouldn’t be surprised if they succeed in 2011. One thing is certain: Verbatim is rapidly shedding its brand image of “cheap and bad design”. Earlier this year, the company earned a Red Dot Award with its Clip-It USB flash drive (of which we are giving away 6 2GB versions; take a look at the IT Enquirer home page) and the Store-N-Go drive I’m discussing today is a beautifully designed black portable drive with a glossy top.

Even the packaging of the Store-N-Go for the Mac is gorgeous. The drive comes packed in a thick clear plastic enclosure — not at all the cheap blister packaging of some competitors, or the uninspired cardboard box carrying most drives. Even the plastic sheet that is attached to the glossy top to protect the gloss side against fingerprints and scratches has been designed to look good.

Design is an essential part of a device’s perceived quality these days, and Verbatim has done an excellent job at that. But how about the drive’s performance and sturdiness? Well, for starters the Store-N-Go for the Mac comes HFS+ pre-formatted so you can immediately start using the device as a Time Machine backup disk. The box includes a 50 cm FireWire 800 cable with metal connectors (it’s nice to see a quality cable being delivered with a drive that costs so little; I’ve had cables included with expensive aluminium enclosures that were a risk to your Mac’s FireWire ports), a thick USB 3 cable and a power cable that connects to a USB port.

The Store-N-Go for Macs in its quality-oozing packaging

The FireWire 800 port allows this portable drive to be connected to any Mac, be it Power or Intel Mac. The USB 3 port is future-proof, but currently will only appeal to people who have a Mac Pro with a working third party USB 3 port installed. The drive inside is fast, but obviously no faster than SATA II specifications allow for. In other words: with FireWire 800 you’re almost going to hit the limits of the SATA speed specs, with USB 3 you’ll have headroom.

The drive performed very well in my testing. It did better than the Verbatim SureFire and only a little worse than a G-Tech G-Drive Mini. Below is a table with the test data using the AJA System test at a file size of 128MB. All drives were connected through FW800, except for the Mac Mini’s (late 2009) internal disk (SATA).

Drive Write in MB/sec Read in MB/sec
Store-N-Go 66.6 76.6
Mac Mini internal 52 50
SureFire 41 28.9
4Big 70 80.2
G-Drive Mini 68 69.9

The enclosure of the disk drive looks really nice. The glossy top is well done, with that “translucent” look we all know from Macs, the Magic mouse, etc. Especially the black version looks really nice. The whole enclosure is made of plastic, but it’s a very thick plastic shell — I know, because I pried it open. And yes, you can get to the insides but it’s very difficult not to damage the glossy top in the process.

The only thing I am worried about with Verbatim’s new Mac disk is heat dissipation. Inside the shell’s fanless design there is little to dissipate heat and the disk does run quite hot when used for an hour on end — after testing a full copy of a video folder from the 4Big to the Verbatim (300GB which took little under an hour), the shell felt warm, but the disk inside felt quite hot — I’d say well within the 50 to 60 degrees Centigrade temperature range.

I don’t know if that matters much, as 2.5 inch drives will probably mainly be used as backup and offload disks, with run times of less than an hour for each file copy/move operation. Given that most portable disks are enclosed in plastics, I doubt if it will affect the disk’s lifespan much, but if a video editor would consider the disk as an alternative to a G-Drive Mini, for example, it might be a point to think over.

Concluding: the Verbatim Store-N-Go is a very fast portable disk with a beautiful design, delivered with quality cables in a quality packaging. Pricing is approx. 90.00 Euros. Fior that price you get a brilliant product in more than one sense of the word.

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