When you are in the market for external storage it can take weeks and maybe months to find something that fits your personality. Then there are also those external drives that you see and are instantly drawn towards. The ADATA HE720 is one of those such drives, and apparently ADATA knows this too, marketing the drive as the "thinnest of them all". Coming in at 8.9mm thick it appears the engineers over at ADATA took the time to sand this enclosure by hand to achieve this, as the direct competitor, the Toshiba Canvio, is 9mm thick.
The HE720 is cased in a brushed stainless steel enclosure weighing just 164 grams. As far as capacity is concerned the DashDrive Elite is available with 500GB of storage utilizing a USB 3.0 connection with backwards compatibility with USB 2.0. This drive maintains what has become industry standard with Windows XP/Vista/7 and 8 support along with Linux Kernel 2.6+ and of course Mac OS X 10.6+. As with all of ADATA's DashDrive external drives this one too has a three year warranty.
At first glance the DashDrive exudes a professional elite appearance, in fact I'm surprised this didn't come with leather packaging to further the experience. Unlike previous DashDrive's we have looked at, the USB 3.0 cable hangs loose with this model.
The DashDrive HE720's enclosure carries a brushed design, eliminating the possibility of those pesky fingerprints. The enclosure also integrates a blue LED to indicate drive activity.
The back of the drive carries the model and serial numbers placed on a tag in the center.
At the edge of the drive we find the USB 3.0 connection nestled alongside the backup button that we will touch on further in the review.
After opening up the HE720 we found ourselves a Seagate Momentus Thin. It is worthy to note that you will damage the enclosure should you decide to open it up, thus voiding the warranty.
As you can see our Seagate drive is tightly fit inside the enclosure. This does not leave to much room for shock protection.
Looking over the PCB we find the VIA VL701-T4 controller. This gives the HE720 UASP support and thus NCQ capability.
The DashDrive Elite comes with ADATASync installed on the drive, and this too is where the backup button we seen earlier comes into play.
With ADATASync you are able to create a schedule to back up your drive, you can also trigger a backup using the backup button on the drive at any time.
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.
Running through our numbers from ATTO, the DashDrive Elite was able to give us 111MB/s read and 109MB/s write.
CDM also confirmed our previous numbers reigning in the DashDrive at 111MB/s read and 110MB/s write.
DiskBench numbers came in above expectations. At 82MB/s we transferred 15GB of mixed data just under three minutes.
It's no secret that every company out there right now has their own approach at making an external drive. This saturates the market to a certain extent and makes things tougher for the end-user when trying to decide what drive is right for you. The flip side is we get a nice bit of competition that keeps prices down and company's innovating. Now I wouldn't say that the DashDrive HE720 is a breakthrough in innovation, but it does carry some pretty nice features. The first of which is its very thin profile at 8.9mm, which has led ADATA to self-proclaim the "thinnest" profile for themselves. The second is the enclosure, giving a very professional look and feel with its brushed surface and choice of materials.
Performance wise this drive is suitable for day to day use for anyone that wants a drive capable enough to handle quick transfers, but would rather capacity be king. The built-in ADATASync software is also a plus with the ability to have the drive automatically sync your data.
As far as pricing goes the DashDrive HE720 is available for a pleasing $62.99 in the states. This makes it the most affordable of the DashDrive series while offering the same three year warranty from ADATA.