Iomega Helium

The Iomega Helium is an elegant blend of design and practicality. This portable drive had a Mac user in mind with Apple’s HFS+ file system pre-formatted before you even get it out of the box. This means you’ll be able to use it for straightforward file storage or Time Machine backups.

Sleek looks and matte aluminium finish exudes quality. There’s a decent weight to the drive and has a genuine cold metal touch. The curves of the exterior, mirror those found on the new MacBook range and there’s not even a hint of glossy design anywhere on the drive, which means it will withstand smudge marks and stop it from becoming a dust magnet.

I benchmarked the Helium against three other desktop class drives connected to my MacBook Pro using FireWire 800. The results were quite surprising (times are minutes):

527 items 3.37GB
Western Digital My Studio: 1.17.73
Iomega Ultramax Plus: 1.46.31
Iomega Ultramax (2007 model): 2.16.82
Iomega Helium 2.18.51

1.09GB single file
Western Digital My Studio FW800 24.63
Iomega Ultramax plus: 27.29
Iomega Ultramax (2007 model): 41.59
Iomega Helum: 38.92

The Helium only comes in a 320GB capacity and is priced directly against its closest competitors from the likes of Western Digital and Toshiba.

Overall, we found that the Helium meets the TechCast checkpoints when buying a portable drive:

  1. Is it plug-and-play?
  2. Does it have a durable design?
  3. Is it cost effective?

Can it transfer a large amount of data quicker than I can make a cup of tea?

This quiet, stylish and portable drive will happily slip in your laptop bag on your travels or sit happily on your desk. If you’re the owner of the new range of Macs, this new drive from Iomega will be right at home. One thing’s for sure, the smooth aluminium finish is a refreshing change from the attack of gloss that most drives seem to have these days. As demonstrated in the benchmarks, the Helium’s 5400RPM drive is very nippy, exceeding or closely matching the speed of my old SATA RAID FireWire drive.

2009-02-11 Onwah Tsang

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