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It should be noted that although Hitachi lists all three HDD sizes on its website, we were unable to find the smaller 250GB drive selling anywhere. The 320GB version can be bought from several retails for about $80, while the 500GB variant that we are testing will set you back some $120.
The plastic shell has been given a carbon fiber look and offers a good amount of grip, but this is not what makes the drive resistant. Rather, there's a thick rubber wall on each side designed to absorb impacts.
The SimpleTough portable drive is meant to withstand a ten foot drop, which is considerably higher than the four feet the A-DATA SH93 is designed to survive. As briefly noted in our introduction it can also handle the pressure of a one-ton truck.
Besides being able to take a beating like a champ the SimpleTough is also water resistant -- which means it can resist spills and other incidents involving water, but won't survive a swim in the pool like the SH93 did.
Pulling apart the SimpleTough gave us a better understanding of what makes this a rugged product. With the rubber walls removed, we took apart the hard plastic casing and found two large rubber sleeves wrapped around a Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B hard drive. These sleeves help absorb impact and pressure further.
The "never-lose" foldaway USB cable made it easy to start using our 500GB SimpleTough drive. We plugged it into our test system and just as easily were able to fold this cable away to take the drive on the road. This is a more user friendly and practical design compared to what A-DATA used for their SH93.
The SimpleTough is also very light, weighing in just 267 grams, while measuring a relatively large 15cm (L) x 10cm (W) x 3cm (T). Given the durability features, the dimensions are within reason. Also of note, Hitachi has included a comprehensive three-year warranty to back the SimpleTough portable USB 2.0 drive.
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