StarTech 2.5in USB 3.0 Encrypted Hard Drive Enclosure Review

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StarTech are a company built on the principle of helping consumers and business alike with connectivity.  Whether that’s special cables to connect devices, video splitters or even KVM switches, if you need it, they will generally have it. Founded in 1985 by Paul Seed and Ken Kalopsos, they specialize in hard to find connectivity parts.  They have a massive range of products available and keep their range up to date.  StarTech operate in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and Mexico. Today I will be taking a look at an interesting 2.5” HDD caddy, the StarTech 2.5in USB 3.0 Encrypted Hard Drive Enclosure.  How will it perform? Let’s find out.

Warranty Information
Warranty 2 Years
Hardware
Interface USB 3.0
Bus Type USB 3.0
Number of Drives 1
Drive Size 2.5in
Drive Type SATA
Drive Installation Fixed
Fan(s) No
Chipset ID Fujitsu MB86C311
Connector(s)
Drive Connectors 1 – SATA Data & Power Combo (7+15 pin) Receptacle
Host Connectors 1 – USB 3.0 Micro-B (10 pin; SuperSpeed) Female
Performance
Type and Rate USB 3.0 – 5 Gbit/s
SATA II (3 Gbps)
Max Drive Capacity Currently tested with up to 1TB 5400 RPM hard drives
Hot Swap Capability No
Software
OS Compatibility Windows 2000/ XP(32/64-bit)/ Server 2003(32/64-bit)/ Vista(32/64-bit)/ 7(32/64-bit)/ Server 2008 R2/ 8(32/64-bit), Mac OS X, and Linux
Physical Characteristics
Colour Black
Enclosure Type Steel and Plastic
Max Drive Height 9.5 mm [0.4 in]
Product Length 123 mm [4.8 in]
Product Width 77 mm [3 in]
Product Height 14 mm [0.6 in]
Product Weight 94 g [3.3 oz.]
Power
Centre Tip Polarity Positive
Input Voltage 5 DC
Output Current 1 A
Output Voltage 5 DC
Plug Type H
Power Adapter Included Optional
Environmental
Operating Temperature 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)
Storage Temperature -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F)
Humidity > 70% RH
Special Notes / Requirements
System and Cable Requirements Available USB 3.0 or 2.0 port
Note It is recommended that the enclosure act as a backup to important files, and not as additional storage (unless also regularly backed up), as lost passwords or hardware failure (SATA drive or enclosure) will result in the stored data being unrecoverable.
Packaging Information
Package Quantity 1
Shipping (Package) Weight 310 g [10.9 oz.]
What’s in the Box
Included in Package 1 – 2.5in SATA Enclosure
1 – USB 3.0 Cable
1 – USB to DC Adapter Cable
1 – Mini Driver and Screw Kit
1 – Carrying Pouch
1 – Cleaning Cloth
1 – Instruction Manual

 

Now let’s take a look at the packaging.

The enclosure comes packaged in a crisp white box, with black and grey text which states the model in 7 different languages in total.  There is a predominant yellow stripe going horizontally across the centre of the box.  There is also a picture of the enclosure present.

On the rear we have a list of what’s bundled with the enclosure, also in different languages as with the front.  Like the front there is also an illustration of the enclosure with the StarTech part number included.

Inside the packaging we have a couple of accessories including the instruction manual,  USB3.0 connection cable, a small screwdriver with 4 screws, a cloth carry case, a cleaning cloth and a DC mains adapter cable (not shown in picture).

The cleaning cloth is a nice touch considering the finish of the enclosure; it attracts fingerprints like no tomorrow.   Now lets take a closer look at the enclosure itself.

From a quick glance, you can see the StarTech enclosure oozes style.  It looks amazing and is made to a very high standard.  The build quality is to a high standard and StarTech have0 done a good job at making the enclosure look sleek and professional.  We can see the numerical pad which is for encrypting your data.

On the flipside of the enclosure, the back plate is made out of metal and has a phenomenal finish which reflects very well.  It clearly states the model number, the country it was made in and that its RoHS compliant, which means it restricts the use of harmful materials during the manufacturing process such as lead.

Time to put the StarTech enclosure through its paces.

To test the StarTech USB 3.0 to 2.5” SATA Enclosure, I used my trusty Western Digital 320GB Scorpio Blue 5400RPM 2.5” HDD.  First of all I connected up the enclosure via the USB cable up to my PC.  I was amazed to see the quality of the display and scrolling text on the enclosures screen.  It looks really professional and I can see why it costs so much.  After having the option to set a password to encrypt the data on the HDD (which there was none currently), I decided to carry on without one. Once it fully powered up and installed the driver via the USB cable, it allowed us to transfer files onto the drive immediately.  One fantastic feature I liked about the enclosure was the HDD temperature monitor which I have illustrated below.

To test the speeds of the HDD and the enclosure I decided on ATTO which is a very versatile storage benchmark.  My testing methodology includes testing over USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 to not only show the speed difference, but to also showcase the speeds for all users, as not everyone currently uses USB 3.0 Here are the results from ATTO. As we can see from the results, the USB 3.0 speeds were literally double over USB 2.0.  This shows the true potential of USB 3.0 which I consider to be the standard now from my point of view.  It also shows that USB 2.0 limits the SATA HDD to the maximum bandwidth available so if you want to make the most of your storage devices, USB 3.0 is the way forward.

After having the chance to have a play around with this enclosure, it was my first experience with a StarTech product.  How do I feel? Well first of all, I absolutely love it, the encryption feature is a massive selling point and for business use, would be the perfect way of protecting important data and documents.  If you wanted to use it without a password, it’s still a very handy device to have.  It’s very small, sleek, stylish, lightweight, limited by the weight of the HDD itself at least.  It also allows you to have a very cost effective way to carry around large volumes of data with minimum space required. In terms of performance, it performs exactly how it should.

Obviously via USB 2.0 you are limited by the bandwidth but you get the full bandwidth available over USB 3.0.  If you were to use an SSD which would greatly improve the read and write speeds, you would still effectively be limited over the USB 3.0s controller if your SSD is SATA3.  Although it would still be superfast and the difference would be negligible. On the style front, it is sublime.

The finish of the enclosure is fantastic and really looks the part.  The only drawback it’s a magnet for fingerprints.  Cue the included soft cleaning cloth and prints away!  StarTech really have thought of everything with this fantastic enclosure.  The encryption feature which features 256bit AES encryption, is worth the price tag, especially if you work in a high profile position and carry important data which is very valuable around with you.  The touchpad is a very nice feature and allows you to monitor the temperature of the HDD and how long it’s been on line for.

With that being said, StarTech do have a massive range available and do this without the encryption feature at an obviously lower cost. Overall I was very happy with the enclosure and would happily recommend it.  Its stylish, small, lightweight, everything you could want in a portable HDD enclosure.  The design of the device is perfect and clearly deserves our award for design and the price is brilliant. It was a very pleasurable experience with StarTech and can’t wait to see more of their range.

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value
4.7

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