It is certainly no secret that ADATA's DashDrive line-up of products covers a vast range of markets. Everything from USB 3.0 flash drives to the AE400 Air and even external hard drives like the last HV610 which we tested recently are included in this segment. So then it would go to say it's not so surprising that this DashDrive naming also carries drives that touts itself as waterproof and shockproof.
The drive we are going to look over today indeed does match all of the above specifications. To be more precise ADATA says this DashDrive HD710 has matched military specs with stringent IEC 529 IPX7 waterproof testing and even MIL STD 810G 516.6 drop testing.
Even with all of the above testing the drive maintains compatibility with current Windows operating systems next to Linux Kernel 2.6+ and Mac OS X 10.6+.
The DashDrive HD710 does have a rather rugged appearance; this alone would give you the feeling that it has some additional features. The "durable" feature is achieved with a rubber sleeve that fits over the plastic structure and is glued in place with epoxy.
The back of the drive retains the same features as the sleeve wraps around the edges encompassing the majority of the drive. All that is left open is the center.
The bottom corner of the drive houses the USB 3.0 connection, this too has a rubber cover to seal the drive and maintain its waterproof capabilities.
As we always do I pulled apart the HD710 to see the inner workings. After opening we did find that there was in fact a nylon seal along the edge of the housing. Inside we found a Samsung ST500LM012 5400RPM hard drive.
The PCB for the HD710 followed the simple design as the previous HV610 DashDrive. Only this time we found a new controller and the USB 3.0 connection has been shifted to the right.
The controller we found in the HD710 was somewhat disappointing as it's the ASMedia 1051, which does not support UASP, but instead BOT (Bulk Only Transport).
The ADATA HD710 has access to the HDDtoGo software from ADATA. As mentioned in our previous review of the HV610, this software allows for a secure environment for transferring and keeping data on the DashDrive.
The Internet options tab allows for setup of no trace browsing and even syncing of your favourite web sites, supporting IE and Firefox.
File synchronization is as simple as checking a few boxes and clicking synchronize.
PC Lock allows you to secure your PC after the HD710 is unplugged. You can customize the lock screen with the photo of your choosing. The PC will only unlock if you plug the DashDrive back in or optionally setting a desired time period.
The security settings allow you to set a password of your choice. This will encrypt the drive with 128-bit AES.
In the unfortunate event you lose your drive there is also the option of filling out this page. When someone finds the drive and tried to access it they will be greeted with information to insure a safe return.
Located in the about section there is a built in update function, saving you a slight bit of time to keep your device software up to date.
Benchmarking external hard drives will consist of three pieces of software. The first is ATTO for marketing performance followed up by CrystalDiskMark to test NCQ at QD32 keeping in mind that for an external storage device to support NCQ it must also have UASP support. The last is DiskBench for the real world aspect of things.
Even without support for UASP, the HD710 was capable of 112MB/s write and 112MB/s read, due to the internal drive being slightly higher end.
CrystalDiskMark further confirmed our ATTO numbers showing us the same 112MB/s read and write.
DiskBench numbers came in above expectations. At 91MB/s we transferred 15GB of mixed data in just two and a half minutes.
For starters I can confirm this drive is waterproof, in my sink at least. After submerging the drive with the test data on it I had no issues plugging the drive back in and retrieving the data. Just be sure to press the rubber seal against the USB 3.0 connection securely or you may not be so lucky. As far as the shockproof feature goes, that too passed as tossing it down the stairs in my home did not affect the drive.
As far as performance is concerned I am very pleased with this HD710, being that it is much faster than the previous HV610 we reviewed, a full 30MB/s in DiskBench.
Pricing might take you by surprise, but do take in account for the durability of the drive and security it offers. To get yourself into the DashDrive Durable HD710 500GB model you're looking at $79.99 or $99.99 for the 1TB model. To put this into perspective you can grab the previously reviewed HV610 1TB model for $10 less than the 500GB HD710, but you do lose features such as waterproof and shockproof.