Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro 500GB review
500GB hard disk, USB3, 125x80x14mm
Thanks to its glossy black panels and silver-coloured wraparound band Hitachi's Touro Mobile Pro could be mistaken for an iPhone 4, but it's actually a portable USB3 hard disk which is certainly more attractive than most.
The Touro isn't all looks and no substance. It fared well in our large files benchmark, writing them at 76.4MB/s and reading them at 94.5MB/s. It was also fast at reading small files, doing so at 62.2MB/s. However, like many portable external hard disks, it struggled when writing small files, managing a sluggish 13MB/s.
If this was all there was to the Touro Mobile Pro, it would be a pretty if unremarkable USB3 portable disk. An extra twist is provided by the bundled copy of Hitachi's own-brand backup software which is paired with 3GB of free online storage, so you can back up your most critical files to the cloud.
Setting this up isn't quite as slick as it could be. You have to configure two different sets of files you want backed up – one for files backed up to the Touro and another for files backed up online. It'd be more convenient if you could simply pick which of your locally backed up files you also want backed up online. The interface for doing this is fiddly too, forcing you to use an unwieldy tree interface in a small non-resizable window.
Once set up the backup program works well – backups occur either automatically in the background or according to a schedule you set. It will also only back up those files which have changed since the last backup. Like Dropbox, previous versions of your files are retained so you can revert to them in case you mess up the current copy.
Unlike some services we've seen such as LiveDrive, the online backup service doesn't integrate with Windows Explorer, so you have to use Hitachi's backup program or the web interface to restore files. This works well enough; a Google-like web interface lets you search for files by file name, although it can't index the contents of files. The glitzy file browser has a 3D wall view, but a more useful list view with information such as file sizes and modification dates would have been useful.
It's also possible to use the online backup service as general-purpose online storage, sharing large files with others by uploading files from any web-connected computer and sending them a link. This is fiddly, though, as you can only upload one file at a time. Extra online storage is priced very competitively – 250GB for 49 euros (around £42).
At 11p per gigabyte the Touro Mobile Pro doesn't cost more than other 500GB USB3 portable disks and is especially good value if you'll use the free online storage. Other disks, such as the Freecom Mobile Drive Classic 3.0 are faster at reading and writing small files, though.