SimpleTough Durability Testing
We decided to carry out a little experiment of our own, punishing the SimpleTough 500GB to see how it lived up to the manufacturer's claims.
We filled the hard drive with data and then took it upstairs to drop it out the window. You know… the usual stuff. This was roughly a 10 foot drop, perhaps a little more. In any case, we dropped the drive once and checked the data only to find everything was working fine.
The SimpleTough was dropped half a dozen more times without incident. Surprisingly, it got away without so much of a scratch. Next we tested for water resistance. As mentioned before this is not a waterproof product, being advertised as "spill resistant," we only showered it with the hose a few times and found the data inside intact.
We then decided to put its pressure tolerance claims to the test and drove over the SimpleTough with a car (VW Jetta). In order to gather evidence the car was parked on top of the drive for a few minutes while we took some photos. The SimpleTough seemed unfazed by this. After dusting off the tire marks and plugging the drive back in, we were pleased to find all our data still safe and sound as promised by Hitachi.
There was one more aspect of the 500GB SimpleTough portable drive that we needed to test, especially after it had been brought to my attention that a number of users were having problems with the ribbed USB cable.
Apparently for some users bending the cable damaged it to the point that the drive wouldn't work anymore unless it was on a certain angle. What's more, many of them said to have run into the issue within days of using the drive under normal conditions -- thus we figured it would be easy to expose any weaknesses with the cable.
We twisted the ribbed USB cable from end to end several times quite violently. We plugged it back in and the drive was detected instantly as it should. While the drive was connected to the PC we decided to transfer a large 8GB file while twisting the drive some more, and again had no problems whatsoever.
There is no chance anyone would treat the drive as we did, but in an effort to expose any weaknesses we also folded the cable up very tightly and wrapped electrical tape around it. Despite holding this position for hours and repeating the process several times throughout the day we continued to use the SimpleTough without incident.
Finally, we focused on the end that connects the cable to the case, bending it back and forth, and found it had no impact on the drive's operation. By now we are confident that there is nothing wrong with the design of the cable, which brings two conclusions: either there was a design flaw that has quietly been corrected, or perhaps there was a batch of defective drives that made their way through testing. What we can tell you with absolute certainty is that the drive we have here is at its 100% even after being driven over!