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Hitachi Rugged Portable Drive 500GB review

Hitachi SimpleTough 500GB
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £68
inc VAT

The SimpleTough is inexpensive and its sturdy build will be reassuring if you travel a lot or specifically want a water-resistant disk.


500GB hard disk, USB2, 31x100x145mm

The Rugged Portable Drive is the first external hard disk we’ve seen from Hitachi, a company better known for its range of internal hard disks. The 500GB Rugged gets its macho name from its chunky, ruggedised design which Hitachi claims is shock and water resistant.

Although we wouldn’t want to abuse any hard disk, the Rugged certainly feels robust, although the design is bulkier than other portable USB disks. However, a small opening around the 5V-to-USB connector (which is exposed when the integrated USB cable is plugged into a port) could allow water to seep in.

We like the convenient captive USB2 cable which wraps around the edge of the drive and is impossible lose. The USB connector is protected from knocks and scrapes as it slots into a recess underneath. The cable is quite short, so a two-plug extension lead is also included. The extra plug provides extra power in case a single USB port isn’t enough to power the SimpleTough.

A rebranded version of ArcSoft’s TotalMedia Backup program is bundled. The wizard-style interface is helpful for novices, although it could feel restrictive for more experienced users. It can copy just those files which have changed since your last backup, and you can schedule when backups are made. It can’t keep older versions of your files and your backups are stored as proprietary disk images so you’ll need a copy of the program to restore them – they can’t be accessed using Windows Explorer.

The Rugged’s performance copying large files was excellent, averaging around 29MB/s. It wasn’t quite as fast at copying small files as other portable USB2 disks we’ve seen, but it still managed a respectable 16.8MB/s at both writing and reading small files.

Even if you’re not after a rugged portable disk, you’re not paying any extra for the Rugged’s sturdy build quality. At 14p per gigabyte it’s actually one of the cheapest USB portable hard disks we’ve seen. Iomega’s portable eGo costs the same and its backup software can save previous file versions, but the Rugged’s marginally better performance and ruggedness make it narrowly the better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Award Best Buy


Hard disk Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B
Capacity 500GB
Formatted capacity 465GB
Price per gigabyte £0.14
Disk size 2.5in
Interface USB2
Power connector USB from host
Spindle speed 5,400rpm
Cache 8MB
Seek time 12.0ms
Weight 266g
Size 31x100x145mm
Power consumption idle N/A
Power consumption active N/A

Buying Information

Backup software included ArcSoft TotalMedia Backup
Price £68
Warranty three years RTB

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