So far most of the USB 3.0 products we've looked at have been designed for inside the home. Their plastic piano black cases, bulky power supplies and odd shapes have made them virtually useless for users on the move looking for real portable solutions. It is a bit surprising that most of these products that have mainly been little more than proof of concept enclosures have cost so much more than their USB 2.0 parts that they are replacing.
LaCie is out to change that and has released a new USB 3.0 enclosure that ditches the fancy plastic and bulky power supply and replaces it with aluminum and cushioning rubber. The LaCie Rugged is the first real USB 3.0 external HDD we have tested and would even consider portable in the true sense of the word.
USB 3.0 has been synonymous with high cost till now, too, something that we didn't like when reviewing the Buffalo DriveStation HD-HXU3. GIGABYTE has done everything they can to insure that USB 3.0 is available on every desktop motherboard, from the low cost commodity boards used to build office machines to the latest super board, the X58A-UD9. These products placed a lot of USB 3.0 ports in the market, the first step in a total USB 3.0 take over.
Now that USB 3.0 ports are out there in the wild, the accompanying products can follow and start to gain some market share as well. Keeping the price reasonable is a key to how fast USB 3.0 will grow. The LaCie Rugged has that part covered, we were able to find the 500GB version for less than 150 USD.
Let's take a look at what the LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 500GB HDD has to offer.