Are these drives as tough as they look?
At first glance, it’s the big, chunky drives from LaCie and G-Tech that would seem to be the most sturdy and rugged. That’s not always the case, though. Despite its shock-absorbing rubber sleeve, LaCie quotes a drop-test height of just 1.5m for its Rugged RAID drive. The armour-plated G-Drive goes slightly further at 2m, but that height is still matched by the far less imposing Freecom Tough Drive. In fact, it’s the rather conventional design of Buffalo’s MiniStation Extreme that makes the boldest claim, quoting a height of 2.3m. The weakling of the group would appear to be Transcend’s StoreJet 100, which looks like an ordinary portable hard drive wrapped in a thin rubber pouch, and only claims to be able to survive a drop of 1.22m. In the end, regardless of size and appearance, all five drives survived a drop from a height of 2m with no problems at all (and after we had run other tests of course). LaCie did add that the Rugged RAID could survive a one ton vehicle driving over it, but we didn’t have one to hand so we’ll take their word for that particular test.