Verbatim 160GB FireWire/USB Portable Hard Drive

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Manufacturer: Verbatim

Product Name: 160GB FireWire/USB Portable Hard Drive

Review Date: 09/22/08

Author: Kristofer Brozio

Flash drives are nice, but they’re not large enough yet to take huge amounts of data with us, so that’s where portable hard drives come in handy. Of course you can get  a large 3.5″ hard drive, but when portability is a factor you’ll want to look at the 2.5″ models as these allow us to take large amounts of data but yet remain lightweight and portable.

Today for review I’ve got the Verbatim 160GB FireWire/USB portable Hard Drive, it allows you to take large amounts of data with you and remain portable at the same time. The enclosure itself is plastic so it’s lightweight, and as the name suggests, it can be used with either USB or FireWire connections. The drive come pre-formatted for the Apple file system, but it can be easily formatted to be used with a PC as well.

So read on to check it out…

The Verbatim Portable Hard Drive comes in a display style box, with the drive shown on the front and information listed front and back.

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Included with the drive is a user manual, Firewire cable and a USB cable. The USB cable features two USB connections as one is used for extra power if need be.

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The enclosure itself is made of plastic so it’s very lightweight, it’s about as wide as other enclosure but it’s thicker, so that makes it a bit bulkier.  There are four rubber feet on the bottom of the housing, and the back is where you’ll find the USB and Firewire connections. The appears to be small ventilation slits on both side of the connections to help cool the drive inside.

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Specifications:

Verbatim 160GB FireWire/USB Portable Hard Drive

Expand the storage capacity of your laptop or desktop PC, with a sleek Verbatim Portable FireWire/USB Hard Drive. Whether you are on the go or at home, rest assured that your favorite music, photos, video and critical data are safe. Back up your MAC with a Verbatim’s FireWire/USB portable hard drive which is fully compatible with the Leopard Time Machine feature.

Product Number: 96529

Capacity/Speed: 160GB/5400 RPM

Specs/Features:
* Rotational Speed – 5400 RPM
* External power – FireWire or USB port
* Interface One 6-pin FireWire (IEEE 1394) ports, One USB Mini-B port
* Data Transfer Rate – FireWire 400 Mb/s (max), USB 2.0 High-Speed: 480 Mb/s (max), USB 1.1 Full Speed: 12 Mb/s
* Unit Dimensions – 3.38 in. X 5.38 in. X 0.63 in. (86 mm X 137 mm X 16 mm)
* Unit Weight – 5.8 oz (164 g)

Installation is fairly easy, if you don’t include the fact that it must be formatted to use with Windows. Formatting took about 45 minutes total.

The drive is quiet when in use, and it’s lightweight. The Enclosure is plastic, which is something that might concern me, most other enclosures I have or have seen are metal or at least partially metal. Metal enclosures not only help protect the drive but also help dissipate heat to keep the drive cool. I’m also not sure the type of drive inside the enclosure, either SATA or IDE, I couldn’t open it as this was a loaner unit, and didn’t want to damage it, also I couldn’t find any mention on the Verbatim website either.

Here’s a quick comparison shot of the Verbatim and two other 2.5″ HDD enclosures that I have on hand. The one on the left is an IDE drive, which the enclosure is part plastic and part metal, the middle one is an SATA drive with a metal enclosure and of course the Verbatim drive is on the right.  The Verbatim enclosure is about the same width as the others but higher making it a bit more bulky.

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For testing and comparison I ran SiSoft Sandra 2009 Removable Storage Benchmark, and compared the Verbatim to my 2.5″ 160GB SATA drive and an OCZ Rally2 Turbo Flash Drive. The higher the scores the better.

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I used the USB interface only of the Verbatim drive, as I don’t have any firewire drivers to compare. You can see the Verbatim drive performs very well in testing, but we can see the Endurance Factor is rather low on this unit. (The Endurance Factor gives an approximation of the life span of the device.)

Conclusion:

The Verbatim 160GB Portable Hard Drive is not a bad little product overall, it’s fast and lightweight, making it nice and portable to take with you where ever you go.

The plastic enclosure is a small concern, but most people will be careful anyway with this product and others like it considering it’s a hard drive inside.  As for heat dissipation and plastic, well it’s not the best for it, but there are ventilation holes on the back, only time will tell really if this system works or not.

Pros:

-Small and Portable

-Seems well made overall

-Excellent speed

Cons:

-Formatted to Apple file system

-Plastic Enclosure

Grades:

Overall:

Design:

Performance: score-10-10

  • Dana

    i have lost my usb chord, does anyone know where i could buy another one?

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  • Ajeet

    Very detailed and greate review provided on the unit and it helped me a lot.

    thanks much,

  • James

    Didn’t work with Vista Home Premium (flashing blue light instead of steady light) but was fine with XP. Work that out. :’-(

    My powered hub doesn’t even acknowledge that I’m plugged in and the drive seems to try initialise unsuccessfully.

  • Dennis

    The one part of the equation that you could not know about is the support or warranties on the Verbatim hard drives.

    I had a 2.5 Portable 160 Firewire die on me in September (purchased in June) and after following Verbatim’s instructions to return it in September the company still has not resolved the issue.

    If you have a problem with the device you are talking overseas while the company is in Carolina.

    Two months after sending the drive back to them and numerous phone calls I am not sure I will every get my drive fixed. I would look at LaCie or Iomoega in the future for drives.

  • Dave

    I had just the opposite experience. It worked great on an HP laptop with 64 bit Vista, but won’t function on an older Dell laptop running XP Pro.

  • Cathy

    I am absolutely horrified at the service that we are receiving from VERBATIM. The VERBATIM WILL NOT work on our Mac! We have had the VERBATIM formatted etc – this piece of garbage does not work on a Mac!!!! the VERBATIM works on the stores PC’s and our friends PC. When you plug the VERBATIM into ours the VERBATIM DOES NOT WORK!!! They told us they would send us a new VERBATIM???? What for? the VERBATIM will not work. Not only that, they said we have to return the VERBATIM at our own cost – $30!!! You’d think they would care about their products!!

  • Mandy

    So you can’t use this on a dell computer?

  • kristofer

    Yes you can use on Dell.. anything with USB port will work

  • Glen.

    THIS PRODUCT Will NOT RUN ON MY PC OR ANY I HAVE TRIED TO DATE, I HAVE TRIED TO RUN IT ON MY PC RUNNING WINDOWS VISTA 64BIT BUT DIDN’T WORK!!. I WILL NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT NAME AGAIN!!!!. “VERBATIM WHAT A JOKE”. I HAVE NOT SEEN THIS PRODUCT WORK ON ANY PC YET, “MAC, XP HOME, OR VISTA 64BIT”.WHEN I CLICK ON THE ICON ALL I GET IS A MESSAGE PLEASE INSERT DISK INTO DRIVE, WHEN I TRY TO FORMAT THE DRIVE I GET THE SAME MSG , “I THOURT IT WAS A DISK DRIVE”.THANKS K BUT ANYTHING WITH USB WILL WORK HUH, I HAVE 6USB PORTS AND IT STILL WILL NOT WORK ON ANY OF THEM.

  • Mel

    i try to run this on a dell with xp and it’s saying i have new hardware but it’s not recognised.
    am i doing something wrong?

  • Jack avon

    product is a peice of Junk, never again will i buy. It worked on my Vista PC for one month, then cut out suddenly and has competely destroyed all the data. I had 180 GB of Data, including all my photos, emails, documents etc. All gone and lost for good. I,m gutted, but i have learnt i wont use these product again

  • pete

    I bought this for my mac from an Apple store, and it worked fine for few months, but then suddenly stopped. Now nothing can be read or written to the drive.

  • Serg

    Mine has toshiba mk1652gsx. It is easy to open, top comes out if to use a little force.
    Cheers

  • Yandro

    I have this device and this is what I think. This Hard Drive Is very small and compact as well as ship. The only problem is that most of the time it my laptop, desktop computer, and Xbox 360 doesn’t read it. This device is a serious problem and I don’t recommended at all.

  • Ricardo

    I have just bought one of these. In Australia we don’t get the fire wire connection. I thought the drive had gone faulty after I formatted it NTFS and kept getting messages from Diskeeper that it would only work in FAT 16 format. However it works fine and has a Samsung drive. So fingers crossed……..

  • Paolo

    These drives must draw a fair bit of power, and not having an external power connector they will not run on a LOT of PCs I have tried it in. I have had it fail with a ‘device not recognised’ error on a Dell and a HP. Custom built PCs with decent motherboard hardware seem to work ok.

  • archie

    Hi, I have one of these drives, it is a 320 GB USB only version. I want to know if anyone has removed the board that seems to be attached to the end of the drive to provide the external USB connectivity. I want to try to put the drive in my MacBook but don’t want to kill it trying to remove the board. Any help wold be greatly appreciated. Cheers.

  • Furious Anne

    This afternoon suddenly the FireWire Portable Hard Drive is unreadable on MacBook…whereas it had worked at midnight…Will try to use USB contact, but I AM NOT PLEASED!

  • Gus

    Hi, i have one of these drives, except it’s usb only. I connected it to the usb ports on the front of my case and didn’t got detected by windows even though the blue lighs were on, then I plugged it on one of the ports in the i/o backpanel and worked perfectly. The same happened with a friend’s pc, seems like most front case usb ports don’t have the necessary power to for the hard drive, so you may need to plug it on the back or if that doesn´t work use a Y shaped usb cable to plug it on two ports and get double the power. Formatted it to ntfs and is working ok so far.

  • Janes

    I bought one of these and it works on 3 out of the 4 computers I have. This is disappointing given what you want one of these for! Verbatim kindly sent me ausb y lead although I think it should have been shipped with one anyway…but that still didnt work. I would avoid these drives at all cost!

    James (from England, UK)

  • lhou

    i was totally disappointed with this VERBATIM 160GB. many time i reformated the drive…i will absolutely tell to my friends that buying this item is not a good idea..!!!!

  • cedric

    I got my Verbatim 160 in January 2009 from BigW Townsville for $88.
    It is running like a dream under XP SP3 FAT32.
    Tickled pink.

  • adam

    Will NOT work with my Vista 64-bit. At least, I HOPE that’s why the blue light is blinking.
    SO help me if Verbatim lost ALL THIS DATA ON ME.

  • JOhn De Little

    Much the same story… worked well initially but now the pc grinds to a staggering halt and nothing seems to work, least of all transfering or recovering date from the verbatim storage… £47 I shall never see again. Staples should be informed of this piece of crap and stop selling it immediately. harumph!!

  • John Mitchell

    People please. Calm down. First connect the drive, USB will detect it and then open folders within. OK, if you want to keep the software contained, save it to your internal drive and then. FORMAT the existing FAT system to NTFS for Windows XP, Vista, Dell Laptop, etc. Format to Mac system for Mac (excuse I know little about Mac). Now then, save whatever you wish to store on your Verbatim external drive. These are not intended for booting: OS. Running programs or software. We buy these mostly to increase portable storage capacity. Used for entertainment: Movies, Photos, what-have you. So, that we can transport from 1 computer, pc, Mac, or laptop to another, situated anywhere. Plug it in and away we go. The drive I have here is silent, cool, rapid, so far, perfect. Format took 15 seconds. Sexy blue LED confirming active. Time alone will test durability. So, far I am satisfied, no complaints. Access speed is faster than internal 2.5″ drive and faster than some 3.5″ external drives that I use. I suspect it may be SATA, but cant open the case, so not able to peep inside to verify. :)

  • Epingle

    I bought a 320G verbatim in June and all of a sudden, the usb port is recessed into the unit…Now I have the hassle of mailing it back to the company…looks great doesn’t scratch but we all know, how many of these $150-200 units are we supposed to buy a year to be sure not to lose our data! Make these units reliable!!!!!!!! they sure cost enough!

  • Stu

    In March 2009 I purchased a VERBATIUM, 160 GB and only once have I been able to use it. I THINK it might have my genealogy data on it but now I can not tell as I can not get it to open. Golly, for 70 bucks, I expected it to work, do I have to go out and buy another brand????? GEE WHIZ.

  • wun

    I can’t believe they are making hdds now, not worth the time, i’m sticking with my western digital drives, never had one fail on me yet still have a 60gb still going strong.

  • Roger Scott

    Cheap piece of crap. It burned up my front USB panel. I sent it back on an RMA and got another one and it did the exact same thing on a different computer. Verbatim will not talk to me. They keep rebuffing every attempt by telling me I have already been given an RMA. DO NOT BUY unless youw ant to risk burning up your USB circuitry.

  • jules

    brought a 160gb maybe a year or so ago and was great while it lasted – well it did what it was purchased to do. ive maybe used it 30 times in the space of 10months.

    this thing is absolute garbage and wont work in any computer and from reading others comments its a waste of time contacting verbatim. not only did i have work on it, i also had all the batman animated episodes!!!

    to its credit, it makes a great door stop though…

  • Ken Maier

    I brought the Verbatim from Offise max. Tried to install #160 Model #JH8923 on my e-machine with no sucess. I have Vista computer.
    I get no icon to identify that it’s working. I plugged the unt into another computer and got the same results. Can you help me out?
    Ken Maier
    PS: officemax wouldn,t help at all

  • Jorge R

    I got a verbatim 160. I used it for back up data it worked wll with vista and xp professional.
    All of a sudden it stop working. On vista does not recognize verbatin drive and on xp it stop loading
    and get freezed. The blue light is on and the hard disk run. I hope can get back the data.

  • nathan

    i have the 120GB and i plugged it into all the usb ports and nothing worked, i could hear the drive working but it wasnt detected on my laptop, how can i fix this easily?

  • will

    i hate verbatim protucts well at lest my hard drive it worked for 1 day then it never worked again so i will never buy or tell anyone to buy from verbationn again……………………………………………………….

  • Corris Davis

    I have the verbatim JH8923 using this device for files and music. The external device will not work after having it for a year. Does anyone know how to get this device to work just enough to retrieve the data that’s on the device right now.

  • Bob

    We bought 2 Verbatim 500GB external hard drives about 4 months ago. Both of them start making problems now when they are connected to the USB port. The drive is not recognized correctly and keeps coming up and going away as if there were a bad contact of the USB cable. This happens for both drives on all computers. Therefore: DO NOT BUY Verbatim hard drives!!! It’s bad quality!

  • CHRIS

    I cannot get this piece of junk to work on my mac. The drive makes a clicking noise and a blue light comes on. That is about it. My mac will not recognize that it is plugged in. I bought myself the Verbatum and my wife the WD brand. (So we could tell them apart). We both have macs. The WD works beautifully, like it is supposed to. Now I have to go buy the WD for myself. Awesome.

  • jeff

    hi, I bought the verb 160 over a year ago . I wasn’t able to get it to work, so I put it in a box and forgot about it. I was going through the box, found it,decided to look it up on line and found this site. I was trying to open it,banged it
    a few times on my hand and gave it a good squeeze , plugged it in and for the first time the stupid thing started up . who knows how long it will last. give it a squeeze.

  • Raed

    I have bought one, 160 GB, and I am not satisfied with its performance, It may be stopped at any time without any recognizable reason.

    BAD,BAD,BAD Brand.

    GO TO HELL verbatim

  • Jess

    I bought a 160 GB USB portable hard drive in November and I am having the same problem many of you are. It connected only intermittently and by February it wouldn’t connect at all. It never connected through the front USB ports, only the back ones. I thought it was because my computer (PC running XP) was so old, but I brought it back to the store and it wouldn’t connect to any computer there either. Just for fun I plugged it into the cables I use to connect my digital camera and my Palm Pilot (yes, also very old) and it works! Why would that be? Both of these other cables have dongle thingys, would they give extra power to the hard drive? In any case, after reading all your comments I think it is only a matter of time before the hard drive crashes completely, so I won’t be using it for back-ups anymore. I also got very little help from Verbatim and as I live in Canada it will cost more money than I spent on it to send it to North Carolina. I am very disappointed.

  • scott

    Can’t believe so many people are dealing with this same problem and no-one from Verbatim make it easy to even visit a website to gain the smallest help if even to say you’re stuffed cos you own one of our drives. I have 2!! Honestly there is merit in at least trying the following: 1. Do try the rear usb ports if you have a desktop, 2. The y-shaped usb (2 usb into pc – 1 into the drive) does give extra power even though it is not supplied. 3. Lastly if you have valuable data, please don’t give up without taking it to a few different pcs, ie: dont reformat. If it wont read once it may do the same no matter what its formatted to. I can sometimes reboot up Vista with the drive installed and 1 out of 10 it works. 1 out of 5 on my laptop. IT KILLS THAT WE SHOULD THROW THESE AWAY. The importance of data is just too important to throw that much into developing and marketing something that just doesnt work. I really hope someone from Verbatim reads all these ripped off peoples comments. My 10 cents worth done.

  • norris t

    Ican’t even get my computer to recognize it. Followed direction to format, but no luck. Blue lights just sit and blink. Look’s like their stock/company ain’t worth doodly squat,cause i’m sure for every complaint here,theres 1,000 or more that just junk it and buy another brand,like i’m going to probably do.

  • Tania

    My 500gb Verbatim external hard drive would work for a while after I initialised and partitioned it and made it active but then stop working either straight away or up to a few days later. It would still show up as a connected disk under “Control Panel >>>> Disk Management” but not show up in “Start > Explore”. It didn’t matter whether it was plugged into the back or front of the PC case. However, I took it out of it’s plastic case and plugged it back in to the PC and it’s been working for a while now. May be you could try that. May be there was some pressure on the circuitry from the case or something (I don’t really know what I’m talking about though). I’ll let you know if it’s still working down the track. Good luck.

  • paul bneton

    this sucks
    worked 5 mins on pc and quit
    will not work on laptop
    or now the pc

    can’t get refund and staples sucks like my verbatin 160

    they can both kiss my a######

  • Karevere

    Same problem with JH8X04, 250GB funny thing this product don’t exist in there data base. This product made in CHINA what do you expect. Executives toke you money and run. This product sucks.

  • Roger

    Thanks for you comments guys. I WAS about to buy one of these…. they look so nice. I will buy elsewhere now.

  • Tash

    A terrible product overall. Not only is the connection unforg ivably loose, but it frequently asks to be reformatted removing all files. Despite the size I purchased (350 gigs) I have to back up my data onto my computer continously. Now my computer is running out of space.

    A waste of money and time.

  • Austinashleigh

    were u able to recover ur info off the hard drive ? same thing has happened to me and when i finally got the usb port back out from its hole its not working n e more :(

  • Flyinlass

    Terrible! I bought one a year or so ago and used it maybe three times. Now every time a plug it into my computer it shorts out my computer. The computer won’t start with it plugged in either. My old smaller Wolverine that I’ve used extensively still works fine…just wanted more storage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Foley/593820957 Kyle Foley

    Terrible product. I only had it for 3 months before it stopped working

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Foley/593820957 Kyle Foley

    terrible product. it stopped working after only 3 months

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