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Having thoroughly tested the 500GB Hitachi SimpleTough we are struggling to find a fault with this portable hard drive. It would have been nice to get eSATA support, as this interface provides significant performance improvements over USB 2.0. Considering most competing products also lack it, we cannot give Hitachi too much grief for overlooking the technology, but it would have certainly given them an edge.
The only other fault we could find was that the drive can only be connected using the standard "type A" USB cable which comes attached to it. The A-DATA SH93, for example, could also connect using a Mini-B USB cable.
Although for many this won't be a deal breaker, having the option means I could plug the SH93 using my camera cable, which is always hooked up to my PC and sitting on my desk where it is easy to access. Having a fixed USB cable on the SimpleTough could bring a problem down the road should it get damaged somehow, although our durability test showed it is more than capable of resisting several twists and bends.
The Hitachi SimpleTough proved to be one of the strongest portable hard drives we have ever tested. It's meant to be considerably tougher than the A-DATA SH93, being able to endure drops more than two times higher, while still offering some resistance to water. It can't handle submersions like the SH93, though.
While on that topic, in spite of the fact the SimpleTough will survive plenty of hard knocks and bumps with no trouble, it cannot withstand fire. This is something that a few of you were disappointed to learn about with the A-DATA drive, however keep in mind that no other portable hard drive can claim such a feature and we don't expect any will in the near future at this price point – though we'd love to be proven wrong.
Outstanding product: Hitachi SimpleTough 500GB Portable Hard Drive
With a price tag of roughly $120, the 500GB Hitachi SimpleTough is an incredibly good value just like the A-DATA drive was. The hard drive itself costs ~$90, which means you are getting this nearly indestructible case for $30.
Overall we feel the 500GB Hitachi SimpleTough is a better product compared to the recently reviewed SH93. While A-DATA's device was impressive in its own right, the SimpleTough looks better, is even more durable, and offers a more practical cable design for the same price. We highly recommend it to anyone looking for a large portable storage device that can take more than just a hit.