Verbatim InSight 320GB Portable Hard Drive

Author
Daniel Doty
Editor
Aron Schatz
Posted
March 26, 2010
Manufacturer
Verbatim
Product Page
InSight
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40023
Verbatim InSight 320GB Portable Hard Drive
Compact but big on storage capacity, the InSight drive is available in a sleek piano-black finish with capacities of 320GB and 500GB and carries a 5-year limited warranty.

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Page 1
Introduction

There are a ton of manufactures making external storage solutions, such as Seagate, Western Digital, and Hitachi, just to name a very few. Most people do not even think of a manufacture such as Verbatim when considering portable external storage solutions. Verbatim is proud to introduce a line-up of portable storage for everyone's needs. Today, ASE Labs is going to take a look at a very unique Verbatim portable drive, the InSight. Their claim to fame with this drive is the "Always On Display." You might be wondering what does this mean? Stay tuned and read on as we give you the heads up on this unique and interesting portable storage.

Packaging

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Taking a quick look at the package, we noticed right off that it includes a little LCD display. This is something that we have not seen before in any single 2.5" portable drive. We noticed that many spots on the front, side, and back of the package reminded us of the "Always On Display." Something that we found nice with this drive is it is both Microsoft Windows and MAC compatible. Many of the portable storage solutions do not offer drives that are MAC compatible. A very nice addition to the features we felt.

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The back of the package lets us know that the drive includes Nero BackItUp software as a bundled system backup application. This is a nice touch.

One discrepancy that we noticed right away; on the box it describes that it carries a full 5 year limited warranty. On the Verbatim web site describing these drives, they claim that the units come with a full 7 year limited warranty. We'd be inclined to trust the box over the website and so should you.
Page 2
Package Contents

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What we can see here is the user manual, description of how operating systems interpret bits and bytes differently, a promotion-able web site address, and the usual USB cable to connect your new drive to the computer. Nero BackItUp is included, but a phyiscal disk with the program isn't included. Instead, it comes loaded on the portable drive in a folder for you to install.

Recommendation: When one purchases this new drive, it would be wise to copy the included Nero BackItUp folder to your local hard drive or a CD in case you accidentally delete it from the new drive.

Now, we wondered what the little sheet of paper is all about that claims one can redeem promotional offers from Verbatim. Of course, all of you realize curiosity here at ASE Labs just overcame us, and we had to check it out to give you, our faithful readers, a better idea of what else is offered with the drive.

Rather than go into a really long and boring description of what we found, we figured it would be best to just give you a good picture of the web address. As everyone knows, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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As we pretty much figured, it would be other offers for some of their other products and/or affiliate products.

Again, we were a little put out that Verbatim did not include a CD with the Nero BackItUp software. However, most portable drive manufactures do not include a disk and have opted to install the folders on most of their drives. This cuts cost down a great deal and allows the new owner to install it on what ever system they wish, without the need to carry an extra disk with them.

Next up, lets take a look at this unique portable drive.
Page 3
The Verbatim InSight 320gb Portable Hard Drive

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When we first took the drive out of the protective sleeve that it was wrapped in, we found a nice sticky protective plastic film covering the top of the drive. This helps protect the shinny piano black finish that is on the top side of the drive. We're sure that Verbatim figured one could not have too much protection from unwanted scratches.

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Once we removed the clear plastic covering, we were instantly impressed by the high gloss piano black finish. We also notice that the "Always On" LCD was in fact displaying some information without the drive even being plugged into a computer. It simply gave the generic volume name "Verbatim" and the amount of free space (297gb) on the drive itself. Verbatim is likely using an e-Ink display. This type of display only uses power when changing the information and doesn't use any power when the information is static.

The sides and bottom of the drive are coated in a flat black, almost rubber, type of finish. When we sat the drive on the lab bench and attempted to slide it, it has a good grip. The coating on the bottom of the drive is some form of a non-slip type of material. This is a very nice addition.

Plugging it in

When reading the included user manual, it states the drive will go through a "scanning" period when it is first plugged in, and anytime that the user plugs the drive into a computer. Here at ASE Labs, we strive to at least keep up with the times, so we have upgraded this test system with Windows 7. We plugged the drive in and, sure enough, it started doing the "scanning" that the user manual claimed it would.

Waiting and waiting, it took about 3 minutes before Windows 7 would recognize the drive and allow us to check it out. This isn't a long time, but it did take enough time that people may get frustrated. Figuring that this may have been due to Windows 7 needing to load drivers for the unit, we shut it down, unplugged it, and plugged it back in. There was no change. It was pretty much the same 3 minute waiting period as the first time it was plugged in.

What Verbatim says about this scanning is that the drive is calculating the drives free space to show on the LCD. One of the main reasons for the "Always On" LCD display is to show the user how much free space is left on the drive when one disconnects the unit. Unfortunately, this only works on Windows XP. When using Windows Vista or Windows 7, it will not display the drives free space until the user plugs the drive back in and it completes the "scanning" period. Unfortunately, we did not have a system running Windows XP or a MAC at our disposal at the time of this review. The unit may be using the lax security of XP to run a program in the background upon insertion of the drive to do a fast calculation of space that Vista and 7 won't allow. This is speculation.

Once we have gotten past the "scanning" period, we moved on to the drive itself. There was a folder on the partition for Nero BackItUp as expected. We installed Nero BackItUp and launched the application. Not being proficient with the included software, and wanting to attempt a back-up of our system, we opted to use the Windows 7 image software to get a feel of the drives performance. What it claimed that it could not back up to the drive due to the drives file format. We checked, and sure enough, the drive is factory formatted to FAT32. To maintain easy cross OS ability of use, Verbatim uses the de facto filesystem for removable storage. Since the software needed NTFS, we opted to reformat the drive. We proceeded to do a full system back-up image using the standard Windows 7 back-up utility. Went without a hitch. Backing up on the InSight drive only seemed to take about 5 minutes longer than our backup drive that is internally installed in the test system.

Now lets take a look at a performance benchmark and give some final thoughts on this very unique storage solution.
Page 4
Performance Benchmark

To test this drive, we used ATTO Disk Benchmark and ran the Verbatim InSight against a Western Digital Passport 160GB drive. The ATTO Disk Benchmark does both a read and write benchmark to get an idea of the speed that the drive can do both tasks.

If you would like to check your own internal drive, the ATTO Disk Benchmark can be downloaded for free and seems to be one of the only disk benchmarking software that works well with Windows 7 at the moment.

It can be downloaded here: http://www.attotech.com/products/product.php?sku=Disk_Benchmark

WD Passport.jpg


InSight.jpg


The top screenshot is a picture of the Western Digital 160GB Passport drive and the bottom picture is the new Verbatim InSight 320GB drive.

As we can see, they perform almost identical to each other. We searched the web to try and find a site that would give us some kind of an idea on how to open the Verbatim InSight, but they are such a new product that we did not find any information regarding this. We really did not want to start prying with screw drivers and break the casing, so we are left wondering what exact drive is installed in this unit. Regardless, the performance is saturating the USB2 bandwidth. This is why both drives operate at nearly the same speed.

Conclusion

With Verbatim delving into other products other than their excellent disk media, we were a little surprised at the unique design of this offering from them. We found that it is very stylish, and will enhance any computer center. Although we did not use the included Nero BackItUp software, it is an nice addition for those that are in need of good image software. The unique "Always On" built in LCD display is an nice addition to a portable drive, and we may see more of this type of inclusion on other manufactures as well. Even though the display will not correctly show the free space available on Vista and Windows 7 until the unit is plugged in, it will still give this information at a glance. The top piano black finish is very glossy and enhances the drive's appearance. The bottom "non-slip" coating will help many people when deciding where to place the drive on their computer center as well.

Some things that we found could have been different is Verbatim could have included a CD that had the Nero software. Another annoying issue that we found was the drives "scanning" time. As mentioned in this review, it took about 3 minutes before we could access the drive. Windows XP may take a shorter time, but we did not test the drive on a system with XP. As with many other products on the market, the piano black high gloss finish is very, very prone to fingerprints, so keeping it clean may be a slight issue.

All in all, we found the InSight to be a great portable storage solution with a very unique design and great performance. At the time of this review, the InSight 320GB drive retails for about $79.99 (Amazon, Newegg). This is a fair price for the size and uniqueness of this unit.

The drive is unique. If you need one with ability to show you storage space left, this is a recommended purchase.

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images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/18/3792lrf.jpg promotions.jpg images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/24/3810lfp.jpg front.JPG images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/24/3811lxf.jpg back.JPG images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/24/3812lsf.jpg content.JPG images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/24/3813l20.jpg with_plastic.JPG images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/24/3814lf0.jpg drive.JPG images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/24/3815lx0.jpg WD Passport.jpg images/siteimages/upload/2010/03/24/3816lqk.jpg InSight.jpg

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