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Monday, 25 August 2008 14:42

Sharkoon Quickport Docking Station tested

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review: The easiest way to add another hard drive to your rig

 

By now, most of us have a couple of hard disks lying around, and sometimes you just need them for a quick data update or simple download. Connecting them to your rig is not difficult, but we’re always keen to find an even easier way. Today, we tested a device called “SATA Quickport” docking station, and it enables a quick and painless way to connect hard disks to any machine. The company behind this device is called Sharkoon, and we must say that their product, in these past couple of days, has saved us many hours, as we were trying to find some old pictures; but for the life of us we couldn’t remember what disk they were on. And yes, we do have a lot of them.

These following passages will introduce Quickport, and don’t be surprised if you end up wanting one and adding it to your useful-hardware collection.

Its looks make it easy to blend in virtually anywhere, and since it’s not too large, it’s quite mobile. You connect it to your computer via a USB cable, so compatibility is not an issue.

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Even if you’re no hardware pro, a simple glance will reveal that this device is quite easy to use. It’s cube-shaped with smooth edges and weighs in at just over half a kilo. Its weight is also a way to keep the stability, as you wouldn’t want your disk to fall on the side. This device is not intended for use while it’s running, but with a little effort that, too, is doable. The only thing that might actually prevent you in doing that is the cable length. The power cable is about 115cm long, whereas the USB is 150cm in length.

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The box is as simple as the device – it features a picture and some basic information on a couple of languages. It contains the adapter with a relatively short cable, but the lengthy USB cable makes it possible to place Quickport where you see fit.

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Sharkoon offers a couple of versions of SATA Quicport devices. The one we received is the basic version aimed at less demanding users and it comes only with USB 2.0. All the connectors are placed in the rear, which is in our case scenario two of them. The one in the middle is a power connector and the ON/OFF button is the first one on the left. It’s always recommended that you first remove the device in software, just in case you don’t lose precious data. The mechanical ejection key is located on the front.

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Connecting this device to your computer via USB 2.0 is not the fastest of solutions, but Sharkoon has thought of more demanding users, too, and their “SATA Quickport Pro” additionally features eSATA and a card reader. USB 2.0 port theoretically allows up to 480 Mbit/s (60 MB/s), but for those with no eSATA on their motherboard, this is the only choice.

Unlike removable drives, Quickport allows for easy disk replacement, all in less than a minute’s work.

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All you have to do is slide the hard disk into the Quickport and the job’s done. There’s no need for additional screws, as the disk will be perfectly stable and safe in this vertical position. The good side of this docking-station device is that it’s compatible with all 3.5’’ and 2.5’’ SATA drives. The photo above shows how a 3.5’’ disk is inserted, the small sliding flap lowers and the disk safely lands in its position. In order not to make a mistake when inserting 2.5’’ disks (we used OCZ’s SSD disk) you should take a closer look, as one side of the flap has an opening for those disks.

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If you’re interested in the interface that this disk relies on, you can take a look at the following picture. There’s no magic to it – its standard SATA interface that you can find on laptops or removable drives.

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The front panel is almost empty and, apart from the Sharkoon logo, there’s only a central button and two LEDs. One is a blue Power LED lamp, whereas the other, red one shows the disk activity.

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Pressing the button will automatically eject the disk, but, as we’ve said before, it’s wise to remove it in your OS of choice before actually physically removing it from the docking station.

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We played with Quickport docking station and it didn’t let us down. The following photo shows it quite nicely blending in on our table, and we put it to some quite serious use these couple of days.

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Speed is limited due to USB 2.0, but the average user won’t even notice. Four movies, 700MB each, take about two minutes to copy from the internal drive to Quickport, and average read speed is around 33MB/s. We thought our Seagate 80GB drive had problems in reaching USB 2.0’s reading speed of 33MB/s, but not even a fast SSD disk remedied that.

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Conclusion

With their Quickport device, Sharkoon offers a super easy and painless disk switching with minimum effort included. It supports all 3.5’’ and 2.5’’ SATA disks, which will definitely come in handy. It connects to the PC via USB 2.0 interface which, although not as fast as eSATA, can be connected to any computer or laptop. It’s easy to use and doesn’t look bad, so it will easily blend into any environment.

Dockingstation for SATA disks is a useful piece of hardware, and it’s definitely a quicker way of getting to your data than using external removable drives.

Priced at €21, Quickport is truly appealing and priced just right, and we sincerely recommend it.


 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 August 2008 05:29
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