Skip to main content

LaCie unveils USB Type-C Porsche Design HDD but is it necessary?

Apple seems to be getting a lot of credit for the USB Type-C frenzy, but this is very misplaced. The Chromebook Pixel - with two of the ports - was in the hands of reviewers weeks before the new MacBook (with its one meagre port) was announced. Before the Pixel, however, Type-C was already long in development. To emphasise the point, BetaNews covered an MSI motherboard with the connector in January; months before Apple announced its $1,300 OS X laptop. No individual company - not Google, Apple nor MSI - should get sole credit. The USB consortium got it standardised and ultimately approved in August of 2014.

Expect to see a lot of USB Type-C products in 2015 as there is a scramble to capitalise on early-adopters. LaCie is one of the first companies to have a desirable product with the connector. Besides having the new connector, it is sexy and well-designed (as are all products in the Porsche Design line). However, is it necessary?

"The LaCie Mobile Drive features a USB–C port - the user–friendly connector of the future. This new technology makes the LaCie Mobile Drive incredibly easy to connect, since both ends of the cable are identical and the connector is reversible. As a result, there is no need to worry about which end goes to which device or about plugging it in upside down," says LaCie.

The company further explains, "the LaCie Mobile Drive blends form and function, resulting in a product that looks and works great. Its USB 3.0 interface delivers up to 100 MB/s, which lets users quickly back up or exchange photos and videos with friends. The LaCie Mobile Drive also features an enclosure made from 3mm thick solid aluminum. This gives users the confidence to slip the product into their laptop bag and hit the road."

IA_Porsche Design_Port

LaCie lists the following specs

Interface : USB-C (USB 3.0)
USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Type-A compatible using included adapter cable
Interface Transfer Rate : USB 3.0: up to 5 Gb/s
USB 2.0: up to 480 Mb/s
Dimensions : 500 GB: 79 x 128 x 11 mm / 3.1 x 5 x 0.4 in.
1 and 2 TB: 77 x 130 x 15 mm / 3 x 5.1 x 0.6 in.
Weight : 500 GB: 182 g / 6.4 oz.
1 and 2 TB: 240 g / 8.5 oz.
System Requirements : Computer with USB-C or Type-A port
Latest version of Mac OS X 10.5 and later (LaCie Private-Public software requires Mac Intel processor) / Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Minimum free disk space: 600 MB recommended
Box Content : LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive
USB-C to USB-C cable
USB-C to USB Type-A adapter cable
Quick Install Guide
Complete Software Suite:
LaCie Private-Public, LaCie Backup Assistant, Eco Mode

Sounds good right? I am sure it is a very nice drive. The question is then, why not just use an adapter cable with an existing hard drive? Think about it. If you do buy a machine such as the MacBook with only one USB Type-C connection, it doesn't matter what type of connector is on the drive, as long as the other end of the cable is Type-C? A mechanical hard drive doesn't need USB 3.1, so even though it is Type-C, it is still only USB 3.0. You will not see a speed benefit here.

Included in the box is an adapter cable to use on Type-A connectors. While that is appreciated, other than future-proofing, why buy this if you don't have a computer with Type-C?

IA_Porsche Design Stack

If you absolutely need a new portable drive, it may make sense to buy this; however, pricing has not yet been announced and I expect LaCie will charge an "early adopter fee."

With all of that said, the drive is extremely pretty; some people are willing to pay for aesthetics. Hopefully price and availability will be revealed soon.