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Appeared on: Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Freecom FHD2 Pro


1. Introduction

Freecom FHD-2 Pro - Page 1

Freecom Technologies is the leading manufacturer of portable/mobile products, aiming to make things easier for users that want to transport their important data anywhere. Freecom users already know the wide range of storage solutions the company has to offer, from USB keys to optical storage devices, such as the external 16x DVD Writer CDRInfo tested some months back.

Their latest mobile storage solution from Freecom is the FHD series and specifically the FHD-2 Pro hard disk. It is an Ultra thin mobile 2.5" hard drive, with a durable high quality aluminum design, equipped with a "one button data synchronization" system that Freecom calls SYNC Button.

- Features

The Freecom FHD-2Pro is an external hard drive, that can be used to store, access and share all your important information with the touch of a button. The main advantages of this drive is that it does not need any AC adapter, since it is powered by the computer's USB port and is so small, that it can fit in your pocket. The Freecom FHD-2Pro hard drive has the following features:

 

- Specifications

The technical specifications of the FHD-2 Pro drive are shown below.

Freecom FHD-2 Pro
Interface USB 2.0/1.1
Power requirements No AC adapter needed, powered by computer through USB
Capacity 20, 40, 60 or 80GB
(depends on model)
Hard drive type 2.5" UDMA/Enhanced IDE compatible, low noise, low power consumption
Shock resistant 175g, non-operating 800g
Average seek time 12ms
Max. data transfer rate 480Mbit/s (USB2.0)
Dimensions 127 x 79 x 15mm / 5 x 3.1 x 0.59inch
Weight 175 gr. / 6.17 ounce

- The Package

We received the 60GB version of the Freecom FHD-2 Pro drive. The retail package has all that is needed to get the drive fired up.

In the box, you will find two USB cables (a USB data cable, and a USB power cable for computers that cannot provide enough current to power the hard drive), the FHD-2 Pro, a quick installation guide, the Freecom warranty registration form, and a CD with Freecom Personal Media Suite and Acronis True Image Software.

 

 

The CD also includes device drivers that are only needed for Windows 98 systems. It should be reminded that the offered software does not support the MAC OS.

 

Freecom has done a great job with the design of the drive. The Freecom logo sits at the top of the drive and the blue indicator led makes it quite impressive. The whole design seems robust but with rounded edges. The SYNC Button is "surrounded" by the blue indicator led. It really looks like a small toy, so, you might want to keep small children away while the drive is working :-).

- Installation

We had no problem installing the Freecom FHD-2 Pro. However, in some systems, a second USB2.0 connection was needed to power up the device, but most new PCs will not need this. Microsoft Windows XP recognizes the device as a Toshiba MK6021GAS drive, which is in fact the 2.5" hard disk that is hidden below the Freecom cover.

By using the device manager, you can easily set the write caching and safe removal options.

In the following pages you will see the comprehensive tests that we put the Freecom FHD-2 Pro through, to investigate its performance along with a small presentation of the software included in the retail package. For the purposes of this review, we used the following software:


2. Software Installation

Freecom FHD-2 Pro - Page 2

- Software Installation

Freecom has included in the package a small program to synchronize and protect data when the FHD-2 Pro is connected to a PC.

By clicking on the "Install Software" button from the installation program, we installed the "Personal Media Suite" software. Freecom also offers the Acronis True Image software, a very handy image creation software, but the Acronis software will not be presented in this review. However, you can see more details about this software here.

As you can see below, with Freecom's Media Suite, you can secure and compress folders or files...

... you can synchronize all files in a folder...

... or even create an autorun file to be executed every time you plug in your device.

However, you should be careful when synchronizing files with this software, since it can replace important files without even asking you. Unfortunately, this is not a two way synchronization, so files are only copied from your PC to the FHD-2 Pro device. Below you can see the options that you can set from within the Media Suite

The easiest way to configure the program is from the tray icon, which offers all the same functionalities as the main program's layout. So, everything can be done from the tray icon.


3. WinBench 99 Tests

Freecom FHD-2 Pro - Page 3

WinBench 99 Tests

We did a series of tests, using WinBench99.

Although the drive cannot compete against other hard drives with similar capacities, it should be noted that the Toshiba disk used by Freecom is a 4200rpm drive. For such a drive, transfer rate tests reported very good rates.

Average values were reported as well at this WinBench99 test. However, speed performance is not the point here. Mobility and ease of use are more important with such a drive.

WinBench can simulate the use of certain applications with this hard disk. However, most users will not use this hard drive as their primary hard disk but as a back up storage device. Again, most applications reported average performance.

The "Data Density" graph gives more information about the drive's performance throughout the entire disk's capacity.

click to enlarge!


4. Intel's IPEAK Tests - Reading Tests

Freecom FHD-2 Pro - Page 4

Intel's IPEAK Tests - Reading Tests

Below, you can see all the reading test results, as reported with Intel's IPEAK suite.

All reading graphs indicate average performance. However, it should be reminded again, that even average performance is more than acceptable for this drive since its use is as a backup device with the aim to be as small as possible. In any case, this is more or less expected, since competitors use 3.5" drives, while Freecom uses 2.5" drives, making the drive easy to carry.


5. Intel's IPEAK Tests - Writing Tests

Freecom FHD-2 Pro - Page 5

Intel's IPEAK Tests - Writing Tests

Below, you can see all the writing test results with Intel's IPEAK suite.

The Freecom's reported writing behaviour was similar to its previous reading behaviour, where average values could not place the drive in the high performance category, but mobility makes it a very handy tool for backing up large amounts of data.


6. HD Tach Tests

Freecom FHD-2 Pro - Page 6

HD Tach Tests

We also used HD Tach 3.0.1.0. The software can perform three types of reading tests. We tested the Freecom FHD-2 Pro with the "Full bench test" (variable zone), which takes much more time than the other two, but produces more accurate and detailed results.

click to enlarge!

To be honest, we were not expecting such good performance from the Freecom FHD-2 Pro. However, performance graphs indicate again average speed rates which are in any case, more than acceptable here.


7. Conclusion

Freecom FHD-2 Pro - Page 7

Conclusion

Freecom is well known for producing innovative products to help make users lives easier. There is a large series of devices to support notebook users and their latest external hard drive, the FHD-2 Pro, comes to meet users needs when it comes to small, portable backup solutions.

The installation of the device is as easy as can be. Even novice users will have no problems at all. Despite this, Freecom offers a very detailed guide in the retail package, which has everything users will need, from cables to installation CDs and installation guides.

Using the SYNC button, you can now easily transfer files from the PC to the Freecom drive. The software included in the retail package, can protect files or folders, synchronize files with your system, or even create autorun files on the Freecom drive, to be executed immediately when the hard drive is plugged in.

The only drawback with the drive is its performance, which is average since the Freecom FHD-2 Pro hides a small 2.5" Toshiba drive under the stylish cover. However, the speed performance for the 4200rpm hard drive is very good although it certainly cannot compete with 7200rpm 3.5" drives that competitors use. Alternatively, Freecom could have opted for a 5400rpm 2.5" drive if they were after speed. However, the Freecom target group is not speed seekers, but professionals that need to use small mobile devices, mainly for back up.

The Good

The Bad

Retail Package
Reading
Writing
Connectivity
Mobility
Features


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