Review of SimpleTech Simpledrive 500GB

Full review of SimpleTech Simpledrive 500GB

One can never be too OCD when it comes to backing up their data and you only realize how precious it is once it’s gone. I recently learned this the hard way, when my HD failed and left me with an empty computer and an aching heart. Well, I have changed my ways thanks to the SimpleTech Signature Mini Espresso 500 GB USB 2.0 portable hard drive.

The SimpleTech SimpleDrive is exactly as the name implies, ‘simple’ and the included backup software makes backing up any file a breeze. The Signature Mini is by far the thinnest external HD that we’ve tested and is perfectly durable enough to take that extra storage on the go.


The device can only be described as “absolutely stunning”. The SimpleDrive was designed by Pininfarina, the iconic design company that also designed the Ferrari, so just think of buying the SimpleDrive as getting something roughly as aerodynamic as the Ferrari at a fraction of the cost. The drive measures in 8.25 inches long by 1.5 inches tall and is 5 inches wide. The top of the unit features the SimpleTech logo surrounded by a raised plastic shiny oval, which truly gives the device a stylish look.

The unit features clean edges that slope towards the front resembling a distant cousin of the Ferrari. The HD comes with a high speed USB 2.0 Y-connector to plug into two USB ports to power the unit, just in case one USB is unable to supply enough power, however this was not an issue in tests. The dimensions of the SimpleTech were pretty impressive, the unit is about the size of two Motorola Q’s stacked on top of each other and is therefore ultraportable.

The drive’s guts are comprised of a 7,200rpm 3.5-inch hard disk drive. With its minute size and limited weight of 5.8 ounces you may be hard pressed to find the unit noticeable when carried in a backpack or coat pocket.

The back of the unit sports a Mini USB port and the DC-IN power jack, which is used with the optional AC power adapter available for purchase for use with USB 1.1 ports that are unable to provide enough power to the unit.

The unit has a velvety texture which enhances grip and features a rich deep color scheme that is borderline black, but just not all the way there. On the top of the unit two-service LED lights indicate the power on (red) and function of the hard drive (blue). Two rubber feet on the bottom of the device keep the unit secure in place. The hardware itself is overall very sleek, extremely portable and sports a sturdy build.


The unit comes preloaded with the ArcSoft Total Media Backup software, which can be used on Mac and PC. The preinstalled back up software is easy to use, with a clean interface for backing up data. Windows users can use the software to burn data and music disks, however the software is unable to create a bootable backup of the operating system for both. All in all, the bundled Fabrik Local Backup software for both Macs and PCs worked well enough.

The unit is also bundled with a free 2GB account for, which is online backup service. If the 2GB are not enough an unlimited package is available for around $5 extra a month.


The unit is plug and play, so setup is extremely simple, just connect the drive to either a PC or Mac with the included USB and you’re ready to start backing up to your heart’s content. The SimpleDrive runs decently cool. Nothing really to report, other than the fact that it only gets minimally hot after running for several hours. As far as noise is concerned, the unit is almost perfectly quiet. However, when transferring files a faint whirring sound is barely audible.

The unit is delightfully fast and put up some great numbers in tests. In tests, it took 47.2 seconds to write a 1.27 GB folder of mixed file types and 36.3 seconds to read the very same folder. The SimpleDrive is undoubtedly fast enough for the average consumers needs.


The SimpleTech Signature Mini is an extremely portable external hard drive that boasts an elegant design. Furthermore, its impressive performance, wide array of colors and hard drive capacities make it perfect for any user looking for a smart storage solution. As a portable storage solution, the Signature Mini external hard drive about as good as it gets. The bundled software and online storage service are very handy backup utility tools, however the online backup is PC only.

Posted Feb 5, 2009

SimpleTech Simpledrive 500GB Technical Specifications

  • Harddrive 500GB


  • Sleek modern design
  • Needs no external power
  • Ultraportable
  • Inexpensive per GB


  • Cannot make a bootable OS backup
  • Short USB cord
  • No FireWire