Maxtor recently announced the release of the fourth generation of their OneTouch series of external hard drives, and the entire line up was on display at the NYC Blogger Event held last week by Seagate, their parent company. In addition to having a variety of new products on hand to see and demo, they were kind enough to send attendees home with one of the new OneTouch 4 Minis.
The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini is an ultra compact external hard drive, as pictured in the promotional image above. The aluminum, plastic, and rubber enclosure surrounds a 5400 RPM, 2.5" PATA hard drive with 8MB of cache memory. The available capacities include 80GB, 120GB, and 160GB, and the retail prices for these can be expected to be about $99.99 for 80GB, $119.99 for 120GB, and $149.99 for 160GB, once they become more widely available.
Turn to the Maxtor website for current information on the general features and specifications for these drives. What this review is going to look at is the specifics of the 80GB OneTouch 4 Mini provided by Seagate.
The below left image shows the refined style of the 80GB OneTouch 4 Mini, with minimal text and no graphics. The simple design features an aluminum top with the Maxtor logo printed at one end, plastic sides, and rubberized bottom to keep it in place. Maxtor describes the design as rugged, and I would agree. It just feels solid and the various surfaces should do well to protect the drive from the bumps and bruises of every day use.
For a bit of a size comparison, the above right image shows the OneTouch 4 Mini next to another 2.5" external drive enclosure. Both units are very compact, but the other unit is pretty much an aluminum shell that barely fits around the drive; no rubber base, and no plastic banding on the side for extra protection. The actual dimensions of the OneTouch 4 Mini are 4.9 x 0.59 x 3.22 inches, so finding a home for it on your desk shouldn't be a problem.
The below left image shows the edge of the enclosure where the only two interruptions to the black band can be seen. The only connection on the drive is a mini-USB 2.0 port; there is no need for an external power source as the drive is able to operate on the power provided by the USB bus alone. The other feature is the "OneTouch" button found right around the corner. This is what activates the software that made this series of drives so popular. The button also doubles as an activity indicator, providing a solid white light when powered up, and blinking when active.
The rubberized bottom of the drive is shown in the above right image, which is also the home to a label that provides some manufacturing information and device certifications.
While the drive can operate with just the one mini-USB 2.0 connection, it does take a somewhat special cable. As shown below, one end has the mini connection for the drive, while the other end has two full size connections; one for data + power and one for power.