Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini Review

Propane - 2008-02-04 10:06:19 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: Propane   
Reviewed on: March 11, 2008
Price: $TBA

Introduction:

One of the problems that has plagued the modern computer since its introduction in the 1930s is the issue of storage. As time went on, people invented devices to help solve this problem and one of these devices is the ever familiar hard drive. These hard drives started out holding about 5 megabytes, which isn't much by today's standards, but a huge amount by the 1960 standards - almost as huge as the drive physically was. Now we have similar drives that hold much more. So much more, in fact, that most people won't ever be able to fill one up. However, with the introduction of online music and movie stores as well as the introduction of high definition video, the computer or media enthusiast might find that their hard drive just isn't holding quite enough. Many of the people who frequent Overclockersclub.com might just jump and buy a new, high capacity, internal drive without even thinking of an external like the drive I will be reviewing. This is a silly mistake though as an external drive, which can have capacities matching even the best internals, has many benefits, including the ability to take your data with you to wherever you might be, and also the ease of install.

The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini is one such external hard drive. It is incredibly small, only a little bit bigger than my iPod, and can hold 250 gigabytes (Gb). There is also a 160Gb version that you can currently buy according to your needs. The drive has only one cable to connect: a USB cable that gives the drive its power and also provides the data link. Because of this, you will need a powered USB port or a powered USB hub. All of this sounds just great, but lets take a closer look at how the drive looks and preforms!

Closer Look:

The packaging that the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini comes in is the kind of packaging that is always a project to just get open. The front of it shows the product and lists some of its stats like its capacity and its transfer mechanism. The back has a picture of the product and lists many features including the requirements for both mac and PC platforms.

The front of the drive has a nice brushed aluminum look and feel to it. Also, Maxtor put its name on the bottom of the drive in a very nice way that isn't overly flashy. The back of the drive has a nice rubber feel to it and the sides have a hard plastic feel to it. Overall, the drive feels pretty sturdy and looks classy.

As the picture below shows, the drive is very thin and has a single USB connection port on the long side.

Most drives come with software nowadays and the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini is no exception. Keep reading to learn more.

Closer Look:

Most external hard drives these days come with an external software suite that allows the user to preform many tasks like backing up your computer's main hard drive at regular intervals. Later we will take an in depth look at the software package that comes with the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini but right now we are going to concentrate on the packaging that it comes in. Even though the software's installer comes on the hard drive, Maxtor included a CD with an installer on it as well. This CD comes in a small CD sized booklet that contains the CD and a small pamphlet on how to use the drive and software.

Now that we know what format the software is distributed in, lets take a look at how well it runs.

Installation:

The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini drive utilizes a USB 2.0 connection, but will also work with USB 1.1 if you are willing to sacrifice speed. Since the USB provides power as well as data connectivity for the OneTouch, there is only one cable to be plugged into any available USB port that your computer has. If your computer doesn't have any powered USB ports, you are out of luck unless you buy a hub that provides its own power.

Now that you have your drive plugged in, you can run the installer on the drive or insert the CD and install the software off of it. When you run the installer or insert the CD, a window comes up that asks what language you would like to use and since Overclockersclub.com is primarily English speaking, we will continue with it. After selecting the language you wish to install in, you can continue on by selecting what you want to do. We want to install the software, so that is what we are selecting.

Now the install shield wizard comes up makes sure everything is installed that needs to be before continuing.

Then, like most programs you install, you are presented with an EULA which you have to accept to continue installing the software. When you accept it, you can then choose your installation directory and then watch all the new files get installed.

Finally, you are asked to restart your computer. I didn't and everything worked fine, but it's still probably a good idea to restart just to make sure everything gets set up right.

Now that our software is installed, let's configure it.

Configuration:

The Maxtor Manager software that comes with the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini is very comprehensive and has many features to help facilitate your data's safety and regular backup. From the software's main menu, you can do everything from change the power saving settings of the drive to making it so that your drive is completely encrypted so even if your drive is stolen, your data will be safe. There are many options, so let's take a close look at them all.

The first screen that we are presented with is the "My Drives" menu. From here, you can see the status of any connected Maxtor external hard drives. There are also several buttons along the bottom and through them you can do several tasks like change the power saving timeout, check for software updates, and test the drive.

The next window allows you to set up several different backup plans that will transfer data from wherever you chose, to your OneTouch 4 Mini at some regular interval. You can manage all your backup plans from this screen.

Next up is the sync menu which is similar to the backup but the files are kept up to date between the local file and the external drive.

The next menu is the Safety menu. This makes a complete hard drive image so if anything bad happens to your hard drive and it becomes corrupt, you can restore everything from the image.

The final screen that is present is the security menu which allows you to set up encryption and a password for your drive.

Let's see what the specifications of this drive are.

Specifications:

Features:

Testing:

To test the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini I used one of the Internal drives on the test system as well as the Seagate FreeAgent Go 160GB model. I will use the program HD Tune to test several values, such as transfer rate, access time, burst rate, and CPU usage.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Drives:

Lets take a look at the graphs. Keep in mind that the two comparison drives are internals and attached to the computer with a SATA connection.

Conclusion:

The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini has a lot of things that really make it an attractive buy, but most are not what you look for in a typical hard drive. Instead of blazing speed and low CPU usage, the OneTouch offers extreme portability because of its small size, a rather large storage capacity, and the ability for it to run without an external power adapter. These features are amazing, because who dosen't want to carry around 250Gb of storage in a device about the size of an iPod. Even after these facts are brought up, there is yet more praise to be mentioned about the included software. This software allows you to do everything from creating a backup schedule to making an entire disk image with the click of a few buttons. If you need storage portability the Maxtor one touch will give you that and more.

Pros:

Cons: