Articles: Storage

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As computer-related devices are progressing more and more, many of us now have a mobile hard disk in our pocket that can keep as much data as you need for an entry-level or even better PC. It has even become a necessity since designers, folks from IT departments and people who work with images or video files often find the capacity of flash drives not sufficient for their needs.

3.5” external enclosures used to be the only solution for such users, but now the manufacturers are offering mobile 2.5” hard disk drives which storage capacity has already exceeded the psychologically important 100GB mark. “Compact, but capacious” is the marketing slogan for devices of this form-factor.

One of them, the 120GB Handy Drive from Fujitsu, is going to be discussed in this review.

Closer Look

The size of the package is somewhat alarming as it could have easily accommodated a 3.5” drive. Fujitsu just took care that the drive came to you undamaged. The device is surrounded with packaging cardboard and there are shock-absorbing cardboard partitions on every side between the drive and the external box.

The drive itself doesn’t try to impress you with its looks. It is a simple gray box the size of a cigarette case and weighing 200g. The metallic container with a manufacturer logo on the top panel has a rough surface and gets less soiled with use than glossy-surfaces models. As least you won’t see your fingerprints on this case unless you’ve just been dismantling a petrol engine.

The front and rear panels of the container are fastened to the sides by means of screws. The set of connectors is surprisingly scanty because there is actually only one connector here. It is a mini-USB located at the rear panel near a LED indicator of operation mode. There is no additional power connector although you can spot a hole for it, covered with a sticker that is the same color as the case. This may be regarded as a drawback but the 4200rpm hard disk installed into the Handy Drive requires so little power that you are unlikely to find a computer that wouldn’t provide the necessary current via the USB. We had no power-related problems during our tests. By the way, you can’t learn the power consumption of the device in its specifications, but the specs of the Fujitsu MHV2120AT installed into this Handy Drive say that it has a peak consumption of 4.5W when spinning up its platters and needs a mere 1.6W in other operation modes. And if you open the 280-page description of the HDD, you can also learn that its operating temperature range is 5 to 60°C and its MTBF is 300,000 hours. You can also find a description of all disk interface commands there if you want to know them.

The included accessories are modest and typical: a USB cord, a user manual, a pouch, and a CD with an electronic copy of the user manual in PDF format, Windows 98 drivers and a disk formatting utility. The pouch has a special compartment for the interface cord but lacks a strap to be attached to your belt or wrist.

That’s about all we wanted to tell you about this device prior to testing it. We will compare it with other 120GB models: a HD-227FW and U2 with FireWire and USB interfaces, respectively, a Transcend StoreJet, and a Western Digital Passport. You can learn more about these drives in our earlier review called 2.5-Inch External Hard Drives with 120GB Storage Capacity. Take note that the opponent devices are based on 5400rpm HDDs whereas the Fujitsu Handy Drive has a 4200rpm disk, slower but more economical (which is important for notebook owners). So, we’ll have a chance to see if the difference in the spindle rotation speed means anything for mobile hard disk drives.

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