A-DATA SH93 Features & Design

The A-DATA SH93 is only slightly more expensive than your typical portable 2.5" drive, priced at around $110 for the 500GB version. Other than that, there's not much typical about this drive. It is designed to be rugged and durable, with A-DATA aiming at students, people constantly on the move and "sports enthusiasts."

Besides the model we tested today the SH93 also comes in 320GB and 640GB capacities, priced at around $80 and $150 respectively, and your choice between bright yellow and red colors.

The SH93 incorporates a rubber-plastic mix for its housing which acts as a cushion protection against bumps and falls. It fully meets the "MIL-STD-810F 516.5 procedure IV" military standard for transit drop tests, allowing the drive to endure 1.2 m (4 ft) falls onto a hard surface. If you were to drop the SH93 while carrying it or knock it from a desk, this is about how far the unit would fall, so it's a fair test to certify the drive with.

Its casing also acts as a water proof skin protecting the 2.5" hard drive inside from water damage. A-DATA claims that the SH93 is completely waterproof, according to IEC 529 IPX7 standards, in up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes, which should give you more than enough time to fish it out of a pond. It is worth mentioning that the drive itself does not float so don't go dropping it in the deep end.

We wouldn't just take A-DATA's claims without first playing rough with the drive for a few days. Apart from knocking it off the desk around a dozen times, I wanted to see how the SH93 handled rough concrete and gravel. Surprisingly, the rubber took this punishment very well without so much as a scratch. Of course, throwing the SH93 in dusty gravel a few times did make it quite dirty, though its waterproof feature came in handy here.

To clean the drive we simply ran it under the tap and had it looking like new again. Given that the SH93 is waterproof, we then submerged it into the kitchen sink for half an hour, plugged it back in and found our data was still intact as advertised. Upon closer inspection we found no evidence of any leaks when dismantling the SH93. So long as the USB port lid is closed, you'll get away with exposing this portable drive to water.

Other than the rubbery outer shell there is another unusual design aspect of the SH93 that A-DATA hopes will help make this product a little more desirable. Instead of requiring users to separately carry around a USB cable, the SH93 includes a 30cm long USB cable that wraps around the body of the drive.

This is a great idea, although reattaching the cable to the outside of the housing after every use was quite annoying. The cable is not easily tucked away and the whole process is a little clumsy and awkward. That said, we see no obvious solution to the problem so users will just have to be patient when packing up their SH93.

Rounding out the exterior features is a bright blue LED that signals activity when the drive is in use. As for its internals, the 500GB SH93 model we are testing today uses a 2.5" Fujitsu MJA2500BH hard disk drive sporting 8MB of cache and spinning at 5400RPM.