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It’s not as fast as a Ferrari, but it looks slick next to a model racecar or attached to a new aluminum iMac.
What surprises us the most about the SimpleDrive Pininfarina external USB hard drive is that it’s not available in red - the 1TB SimpleDrive Pininfarina is silver. Pininfarina is the same Italian design firm that created cars such as the Ferrari P4/5 and the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, and when we think Ferrari, we think red.
The drive’s conservative color is more representative of the drive’s USB speed - which doesn’t exactly burn rubber. We used Xbench (free) to test the drive’s speed, which came in at 9.6MB per second in the Sequential Uncached Write test, and 10.41MB per second in the Sequential Uncached Read test. That’s a tad bit slower than the USB speeds of the Iomega UltraMax Desktop (4 out of 5 stars), which posted 10.5MB per second in the write test and 11MB per second in the read test.
The LED ring on top of the SimpleDrive Pininfarina blinks when the drive is writing data, and it also gives you a rough estimate of your remaining storage space. There are four sectors in the LED ring, each one representing a quarter of the drive’s storage. For example, if one out of the four lights is on, then your drive is a quarter full, and you have about 750MB of storage space remaining. If two of the lights are on, it’s halfway full. It’s a handy indicator, but it’s too bad that the LED and button position on top of the drive prevents you from stacking another drive on top.
The bundled ArcSoft TotalMedia Backup software lets you easily back up your data using a step-by-step wizard. The drive also comes with a software utility for activating a one-touch backup feature. Unfortunately, you can’t make a bootable backup.
If 1TB of storage is more than you can handle, the SimpleDrive Pininfarina comes in a variety of smaller capacities. A 750GB drive ($300) is available in the same silver case as the 1TB SimpleDrive Pininfarina. A 500GB drive ($180) comes in a black case. You get a blue case with the 320GB drive ($140), and the 250GB version ($100) has a white case.
The bottom line. The SimpleDrive Pininfarina USB speed is far from blazing, but it’s no dog, either. At least it’ll coordinate nicely with your new aluminum iMac.
LED capacity meter. Easy-to-use backup software.
Mediocre USB speeds. Can’t stack other drives on top.