We’ve seen a few USB 3.0 gadgets, but the 500GB Sony HD-EG5 is the first truly pocket-sized USB 3.0 external hard drive we’ve tested. Perfect for laptop users, it will suit those buying a new Ultrabook or who already own a recent USB 3.0-enabled model.
In design, it’s compact and covered in brushed aluminium, only a little larger than the average smartphone and a similar shape. Ours was black, but there’s a selection of colours available. Apart from the USB 3.0 connector, the only feature is a blue light to indicate drive activity. The 56cm cable is used to both power the drive and for data transfer. We’d like a little more information – such as an indicator of available space – but it’s attractive and very portable.
We tested the drive with HD Tach, as well as by performing standard data transfers, with a current model USB 3.0-enabled laptop. With HD Tach, the drive recorded random access times of around 16.8ms, which is mid-range speed overall, but fast for a 2.5-inch drive. The average read speed was 86MBytes/sec, with maximum burst speed while reading from the drive of 238MByte/sec, both of which rate well for this size drive but don’t match 3.5-inch external drive speeds.
When transferring movie files, we achieved read speeds over 100MByte/sec. Even for 3000 small files totalling 100MB, which is a challenging task for any drive, we managed a decent 20MByte/sec read speed.
Write speed was slower, averaging 5MByte/sec for small files and 16MByte/sec for large media files, but these are mostly acceptable.
In terms of overall performance this is a great little pocket drive, and its slimline design is appealing. It comes with backup software, and encryption, and it’ll make a great accessory for a new laptop.