HDDR320E03E - 2.5 inch, USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive from Toshiba

Toshiba always does not make a big noise about its external hard disks and so, you will be forgiven for the sake of overlooking upon them when you are shopping for a new external hard drive. Fashion has reached even the most mundane of the computer peripherals and Toshiba is among the lots to launch a fashionable range of external hard drives. The following review is on the 320GB external hard drive of this great looking series of theirs.

A very funky design:

The Toshiba HDDR320E03E 320GB external hard drive is just the size of an iPod. This hard drive is ultra portable, having its dimensions to be 0.65 x 3.2 x 5 (H x W x D) and weighs just 155grams. The body of the unit is very glossy and has been designed ergonomically. The size of the drive is so convenient that it can be stowed into your jacket’s pocket. As it was designed to be placed on the desk or taken on the go, Toshiba had paid more attention to the overall aesthetic and technology. The drive possess an anti-slip underside that ensures that the external hard drive stays in place irrespective of the texture of the surface. The only external interfaces are a standard USB 2.0 connector and a blue LED that shows disk activity.

The short mini USB cable:

The only noticeable feature on the Toshiba HDDR320E03E portable hard drive is a mini-USB port located on the top edge. Being a USB2.0 hard drive, it is a safe bet as almost all the modern computers can use it. But another thing that must be kept in mind is that, it’s pokey performance lags behind the eSATA and FireWire. This single USB 2.0 port serves as the power supply and conduit between the drive and the computer. We are surprised and slightly disappointed that Toshiba did not offer a FireWire connection port.

The USB cable that Toshiba has included in the package is way too short. The cable is only 13 inches in length, which is serviceable for use with a laptop but to connect to a desktop tower unit and conceal the drive requires more cable.

Shock proof and Ramp technology:

Toshiba has also equipped HDDR320E03E 320GB 2.5″ USB External HDD with shock proof and ramp technology that helps the drive resist rough handling and undesirable system performance. The internal shock senor helps to protect your data from the low impact drops. This ensures the durability and reliability of the drive.

Ease of use and the process of installation:

The Toshiba HDDR320E03E 320GB Compact Size external hard drive is extremely easy to use as all that you need to do is, plug and play. The software bundle included is the NTI shadow backup software, which comes preloaded on the drive. The drive appears as TOSHIBA EXT in your PC. As you explore the drive, you will find two files named shadow for mac and shadow for PC. As the name indicates, if you possess a mac PC, then make use of the ‘shadow for mac’ file else, the ‘shadow for PC’ option. Installation of the NTI shadow backup software is very simple and will take only a few minutes. Once the installation is completed, automatic backups can be scheduled that run in the background.

The NTI Shadow software:

The job wizard menu page is broken down into two panels, just like the Windows Explorer. The parent tree structure is in the left panel and the files and sub-folder are located on the right. You have the option of selecting a location from the left pane, which will put a green checkmark in the box, or one from the right, which will put a red checkmark. You will also be given options to decide on where to place the content on the external hard drive. Toshiba has offered three options for scheduling. The first is, every time you save on your PC, the second is when you save backup every specified number of hours, days, weeks and the third option is specify day(s) and time to perform the backup. The NTI Shadow software also gives options regarding version of backups, so you can keep multiple versions or just one. Once the fields are completed, the users are presented with a summary page to review all the options selected. The backup software has a log feature too that not only displays the date and time each job was executed but also stores the features selected when setting up the job.

Compatibility and Capacities available:

The HDDR320E03E 2.5” hard drive from Toshiba is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, or, Vista and on Macs with OS X 10.3.9 or later.

The 320GB capacity of the drive gives plenty of room for photos, music and videos. The 2.5” USB external hard drives is also available in other capacities such as, 160GB, 250GB, 400GB and 500GB. These models are available in gecko green, hot red, electric blue and black and frost white respectively.

Average performance:

Though the design of this new external hard drive of Toshiba has been updated dearly, the performance remains to be the same. The spindle speed of the drive is 5400rpm, with its cache memory being 8MB. The read speed of the drive is fine but the write speed is horrendous. It copies 1GB of data in about 54 seconds. This is not particularly stunning performance but this is not particularly a problem for those that just want to move data from one place to another, or those that will be slowly building up a duplicate of their multimedia files as they get them. It will be slow copying large volumes of data to the drive though. For instance, a 300GB of data, will be taking around 7 hours. Make sure you start your copy early!

The package:

All of the accessories that you will ever need to be used with the HDDR320E03E will be available along with the package. The whole device is shipped in a hermetically sealed plastic container. The package includes the 2.5” 320GB external hard drive itself, an USB cable, a backup software, quick install guide and warranty information. This external hard drive is packaged with a multilingual user’s manual. The user guide can also be found in Toshiba’s website. The FireWire port is missing and that is disappointing too. Toshiba and other manufacture’s bus-powered drives offer power booster cables or external power sources to compensate for this shortcoming. Unfortunately, the Toshiba drive’s booster cable uses a short Y-shaped design, meant to draw power from two USB ports on the same side of a laptop, which means it cannot be used to mount the Toshiba drive on the older PowerBook models that feature a USB port on each side.

Cost efficiency and Warranty information:

The cost per GB is equivalent to the SimpleTech Signature Mini and the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus Mini. These two drives have better write speeds than that of the Toshiba HDDR320E03E.

Toshiba HDDR320E03E 320GB 2.5” USB External Hard Drive comes with three years limited warranty. Toshiba has a technical support line for storage available weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


The pros of Toshiba HDDR320E03E 320GB 2.5” USB External Hard drive being a large capacity for a travel drive, compact design, being USB2.0 powered, having a backup software and the cool and quiet performance. The cons being the average performance and absence of a FireWire port. However, unless you really adore its design and a fashion freak, you will find that this drive is not so inspiring and appealing as you will find faster models of similar capacities for a much lesser cost.