The Iomega Prestige Desktop Hard Drive is a well-built and good-looking external hard drive that is simple to use but slower than competing drives from Seagate and Western Digital.
The Prestige offers 500GB of storage (465GB formatted) and connects to computers via USB 2.0. Using the drive is simply a matter of plugging it in and turning it on. We can't fault it for only having a USB 2.0 interface instead of a faster FireWire or eSATA connection because of its low price. No software is included with the drive.
The Prestige has a rounded case similar to the eGo 160GB (silver). It is a tube of brushed aluminium with a plastic cap on one end and the ports and power switch on the other. This style is fairly easy on the eyes and the inclusion of a stand means that the drive can either sit flat or stand up on a desk.
The metal case gives the Prestige a sturdier feel when compared to the plastic casing of other external hard drives like the WD My Book Studio Edition II (WDH2Q20000). Although it's a portable drive, it weighs 900g and needs external power.
Inside the Prestige is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500820AS hard drive, which spins at 7200rpm and has an 8MB cache.
To test the drive's speed, we moved 17.5GB worth of files between the Prestige and a PC using a 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda ES2. In our read tests, the Prestige achieved a respectable average speed of 25.76 megabytes per second; the write test averaged a less impressive 20.68MBps. When copying data from location on the Prestige to another, the Prestige averaged 13.05MBps. Although this will be fast enough for infrequent unzipping and compression of files, for example, it's still a sluggish speed. The drive's speed is disappointing considering that even the Seagate FreeAgent Go, which uses a 5400rpm drive, provided better scores across the board.
The $169 price tag means that the cost per formatted gigabyte is a reasonable 36.3 cents, which is four cents per gigabyte more expensive than the Seagate FreeAgent Desk but slightly more competitive than the Western Digital My Book Office Edition (1TB).
Although the Prestige looks good and is well-built, its slightly higher cost per gigabyte and slower read/write speeds means that you'd be better off buying the Seagate FreeAgent Desk if you can afford it. But if you're happy with 500GB of storage, this is a decent bit of kit.