Pros: Big, desk friendly, quiet.
Cons: No power switch.
This hard drive is serious business – it is mammoth and absolutely no frills. But it is two terabytes of raw storage capacity to capture and/or backup hordes of data.
Don't expect to get a great deal from this hard drive, unless of course your only interest is its performance. It comes with no fancy software. It doesn't even pretend to have a user manual (instead it has a "Quick Start Guide"). There's also no chewing gum to be had anywhere inside the box. But inside the box is a two terabyte behemoth that will store just about anything you need it to store.
The drive enclosure is fairly large, at roughly the same size as a run-of-the-mill external CD/DVD burner (except that this drive is meant to stand upright). There is a small blue LED on the front to indicate drive status (on or blinking). There is a connector for the power adapter in the back. That's it. No power switch. No formatting/software CD. No extended warranty offers or offers for other great Hitachi products.
The hard drive is nearly silent when operating. My Dell Optiplex 760 is at least 10 times louder than the external hard drive that dwarfs its internal drive. The only indication of what the beast might be up to is the blue LED. If it's blinking, then data is being accessed, written, or deleted. If it's steady, data is ready to be accessed, written, or deleted. If it's off, then data is not ready to be accessed, written, or deleted.
Data transfers seem to operate near the limit for USB 2.0 – or at least my computer's USB 2.0 limit. I don't see an appreciable difference between accessing/writing data on the external drive versus the internal. It's not USB 3.0, but that's OK because neither is my computer.
Packaging for this box is pretty good. Shipping via courier shouldn't pose a problem for this drive unless the carrier randomly kicks boxes – hard.
It comes with a USB 2.0 cable. The cable is only about 24 inches long – which was fine for me.
This drive is not intended to be moved around – it's meant to be dedicated to one location. If you want a portable drive, this is not the drive you are looking for. Go find a USB powered drive.
This drive is relatively stable when stood on end. Obviously it should be tucked out of the way so you don't knock it over when reaching for your stapler, but short of having Moe, Larry, and Curly as your cube neighbors, it should be fine. If you're planning to lay the drive on its side – there are no feet for this purpose, so think really hard about ventilation and cooling first. The quick-start guide makes no mention of "proper orientation."
I use my drive for storing large volumes of pictures/video and backing up my hard drive files (not the operating system – just the data files). The automated backups in Windows XP work great with this drive.
My one complaint is that there is no power switch. It's not a big deal to disconnect the hard drive from the PC using the Windows interface; however once that's done the only way to power down the hard drive is to remove the power adapter. Functionally this is no different than a power switch, but it is a bit more inconvenient when I shut down for the weekend so I tend to just leave the drive on soaking up electricity.