Hitachi Lifestudio Desktop Plus review
2TB + 4GB hard disk, USB Hi-Speed, 83 cm x 181 cm x 23 cm
Hitachi’s LifeStudio Desk Plus is an unusual external hard disk; it combines 2TB of conventional storage with a removable 4GB USB flash drive for carrying important files with you. When you’re back at your desk, a magnetic mount on the front of the main unit holds the stick in place and also allows the disk to be accessed from Windows, just as if you'd plugged it into a USB port.
The desktop disk doesn't support USB3, so we weren’t expecting performance to be outstanding. In our large file transfer test the LifeStudio managed 28.7MB/s write and 42.7MB/s read speeds, which are about as fast as you can expect from a USB external disk. Small files were understandably slower, being written at 12.4MB/s and read at a healthier 25MB/s.
Hitachi includes a reasonably comprehensive software suite with the disk; the backup software works reasonably well, even if it's slightly basic, but the highlight is the LifeStudio media browser. It scans for any films, music and photos stored on the disk, arranging them in an attractive 3D interface. It was easy to navigate between files using the drop-down menus, even with a massive 100GB multimedia collection. Sharing photos was also incredibly simple thanks to Facebook, Flickr and Picasa integration.
Like most other single-bay external hard disks, the LifeStudio doesn’t have a fan. Noise from the hard disk itself was minimal, even when writing a large amount of files. We wanted to like the LifeStudio more, but it's simply not good value compared with buying the Freecom Hard Drive XS USB 3.0 and a separate USB flash drive.