Freecom Hard Drive Sq review

Square is obviously the new black over at Freecom, as the Hard Drive Sq is the second in its new range of compact, square hard disks.

Its first Sq drive was a portable model that was so slim it looked more like an SSD drive than a conventional hard disk. The Hard Drive Sq isn’t quite that small, as it uses a larger 3.5-inch disk drive and is very much intended as a desktop drive. Even so, it’s a lot smaller and more attractive than most desktop drives, measuring just 16cm wide and deep, and a mere 3cm high.

We tested a 2TB model that costs £169, but Freecom also sells 1TB and 3TB models priced at £119 and £199 respectively. The drive is equipped with a single USB 3 port that is backwards-compatible with the USB 2 used on Macs, so we had no problems hooking it up to our office iMac and running a few tests.

We got a speed of about 240Mbps from the Sq drive, which is about what you’d expect when using a USB 2 interface. However, the Sq drive isn’t the cheapest hard disk around, and at this price Mac users could perhaps have hoped for a faster Firewire interface as well.

We also have to give Freecom a bit of a slap on the wrist for boasting that the Sq drive “connects to TV” and that you can use it to record and play video. That rather implies that the Sq drive has the ability to act as a digital video recorder. However, the Sq drive doesn’t have a video interface or any video-capture features of its own, which means that – like any other hard drive – it can only be connected to a TV or set-top box that has its own USB-recording features already built in.

OUR VERDICT

If your Mac has a Firewire interface then you might want to look at a more Mac-oriented Firewire drive. However, the Hard Drive Sq performs perfectly well as a USB 2 drive, and its attractive, compact design means that it would look neat sitting on top of a Mac Mini or alongside an iMac.

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