Encrypted storage: Universal Tech NoTouch Elite NT2800 Portable HDD Review
*UPDATE: Universal Tech has informed us that their commercial products will only make use of branded hard disks from reputable sellers such as Western Digital, Samsung, Hitachi and Fujitsu.
Unboxing the NoTouch Elite NT2800 reveals just about everything a user needs to get started: you get the device, an instructional manual (trust us, you will need it), an installation CD, and a USB cable.
Universal Tech had apparently put in a great deal of effort into making the entire package look good. The visually appealing combination of a glossy black plastic enclosure with red trims around its border and holographic text which changes its colour at various viewing angles gives the NT2800 a certain elegant feel.
In addition, the NT2800 also comes with a couple of surprises when it is connected and powered. The red ring situated at the front starts to glow a gentle red, while an extremely bright white LED at the side serves as a good visual indicator of any disk activity.
Of course, the fact that Universal Tech sprang for a glossy black casing means that the NT2800 is essentially a travelling fingerprint magnet. That is more of an unfortunate consequence of the direction consumer electronics are moving into, rather than a design oversight.
Naturally, we are more interested in what was hiding beneath that pretty black casing. With complete disregard for the ‘warranty void’ sticker, we popped open the plastic case to reveal a very interesting scene.
The first thing that caught our attention was the hard disk used in the NT2800. Unlike retail and OEM hard disks, this particular one was completely bare. No labels, no specifications, nothing. Needless to say, the sight of such a unique hard disk pipqued our interest, and we went about trying to determine the original manufacturer of the HDD.
Fortunately, we were able to extract the model number from the software installation miniCD provided. We discovered that the mystery hard disk in the NT2800 is an OEM disk from Magnetic Data Technologies, a company which was supposedly purchased by Solectron Corp in 2002, which in turn was bought over by Flextronic International in 2007.
The NT2800 also uses a SunplusIT SPIF303 SATA-USB 2.0 controller. The controller claims to have the following features:
- Compliant with USB2.0 and SATA 1.0A specifications
- Support for Mass Storage Device Class bulk only transfer, USB vendor command (Control Endpoint), SCSI vendor command, USB host controller for UHCI, OHCI, EHCI mode
- Support for SATA Gen 1 transfer rate (1.5Gb/s), SATA power saving mode (Partial and Slumber), PHY Hi-Z enable and disable feature for SATA1 1.5Gb/s.
As this review focus more on the usability and security features of the NT2800 instead of performance (although it does play a part), we decided to switch out the test bench in favour of a more conventional machine, which in this case happens to be one of our own laptops with the following specs:
Acer Aspire 6530G
- AMD Turion X2 RM-72 (2.1GHz)
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 Hybrid X2 (HD 3470 + HD3200)
- 3GB DDR2 SDRAM
- 16-inch LCD display