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Iomega eGo Helium 500GB review

Complementing the style of your Mac – that’s how Iomega pitches its Helium range of portable hard drives.

The range comprises just two models, of either 500GB or 1TB capacity, and Iomega manages to pack these into an extruded aluminium case that’s 15.5mm thick. The natural light-coloured metal is a similar match to modern Macs, albeit with a rougher, sandpapery texture.

Engraved into the top of the metal case of the Iomega eGo Helium is the company name – and that’s the only decoration on this minimalist product. One end is entirely plain, while the other has a mini-USB 2.0 port and a white LED that lights when connected.

As with all USB 2.0 drives, the Iomega eGo Helium is rather slow when it comes to actually getting data into or out of it. In our lab tests we saw a peak sequential transfer speeds of 37MBps for reading files, and 28MBps for writing.

In the unlikely event that you could sustain that peak transfer rate, it would take 5 hours to fill this drive with your data. 

Construction is simple and sturdy looking, although the ends and especially corners are a little sharp and will scratch any plastic or delicate objects if you carry it loose in your bag.

There is no carrying case included in the Iomega eGo Helium’s packing box. Nor are there any form of feet to reduce damage to or from surfaces you lay it on.

At a listed price of £121 for the 500GB and £167 for the terabyte version, when buying direct from Iomega, the Iomega eGo Helium  drive is poor value. Shop around and you may find online retailers selling the smaller model for around £90.

But if you are a Mac user, you’d be crazy not to look at the WD My Passport Studio. It’s around a tenner more to buy but offers superior milled-metal construction.

The WD portable drive could also benefit from an even more modern interface, yet as it stands offers well over twice the performance thanks to its FireWire 800 option.

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