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By Hanleigh Daniels 5 May 2011

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When it comes to the often drab topic of external storage, only two things matter. The first thing is obviously capacity, as the more storage space you have, the more movies-, music- and backup capacity will be available to you. 
 
The second thing is transfer speed and you’ll notice the need for a faster transfer speed when dealing with large amount of multimedia and trying to copy large file sizes such as high-definition movies or Blu-ray rips, which can take an age over a traditional USB 2.0 connection. 
 
The lightning quick transfer paces of both USB 3.0 (up to ten times faster than USB 2.0, as seen on the Iomega eGo 500 GB USB 3.0 portable hard drive) and eSATA (up to six times faster than USB 2.0) are much more suited for tasks like these.
 
As roomy as the African Savannah
 
Western Digital’s (WD) Elements 2 TB  (2000 GB) External hard drive has the large capacity, but unfortunately only accomodates USB 2.0 transfer speeds of up to 480 MB/s.     
 
The Elements HDD measures in at 36.14 x 179 x 116.58 mm and weighs in at around 1.02 kg, making it almost the same size as Seagate’s 1.5 TB FreeAgent Desk External Drive (33.7 x 172 x 175 mm, 1 kg) but a little bigger than the Imation Apollo UX 1.5 TB portable hard drive (32 x 180 x 110 mm). Besides having dimensions of around the same size as these drives, the WD Elements HDD also shares their reliance on a power adapter, being too big to be USB-powered.
 
 
Software or lack thereof  
 
Seeing that there’s so much storage space provided with the drive, one would expect to employ it as a backup drive for your PC. But unlike the Seagate or Imation, the WD Elements External HDD doesn’t come with any software solutions simplifying the task of backing up all your precious data and multimedia content onto the drive, the likes of Seagate’s Manager software, NTI Shadow backup software or Nero BackItUp 4 Essentials. 
 
This means that you’ll more than likely be stuck with the time-consuming task of copying and pasting the files onto the drive, unless you want to download backup software yourself.  
 
The bottom line
 
WD’s Elements External HDD offers plenty of additional storage space for your bucks, seeing that it carries a recommended retail price of only R899, compared to the Imation Apollo UX 1.5 TB which went for around R1965 (excl. VAT) and the Seagate FreeAgent Desk External Drive for R1490. It should have come with an additional backup solution, but for that price one could live with having to download it oneself. 
 
Pro
 
Relative compact size, offers plenty of space for your multimedia content and to serve as backup storage device.
 
Con
 
Not USB-powered, a little heavy to carry around, and no additional backup or data encryption solutions.
PROS
Relative compact size, offers plenty of space for your multimedia content and to serve as backup storage device.
CONS
Not USB-powered, a little heavy to carry around, no eSATA or USB 3.0 on offer and no additional backup or data encryption solutions.
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