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VIZO Uranus & Saturno eSATA HDD Enclosures

 

We are in the age of mobile data and removable media. You can see it all around us. Most industry professionals keep a portable computing device in close company, and nearly everyone carries a USB flash drive on them. Cell phones double as MP3 players, and MP3 players double as personal video devices. It seems progressive then that external hard disks are quickly becoming something more of a personal carry item as their size grows smaller. Conversely, some stylish trends have managed to give a new look to the old ideas. So whether you are a mobile power user with compact storage needs, or discerning office user who enjoys a stylish environment, VIZO offers products to satisfy both needs.

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Introduction

We are in the age of mobile data and removable media.  You can see it all around us.  Most industry professionals keep a portable computing device in close company, and nearly everyone carries a USB flash drive on them.  Cell phones double as MP3 players, and MP3 players double as personal video devices.  It seems progressive then that external hard disks are quickly becoming something more of a personal carry item as their size grows smaller.  Conversely, some stylish trends have managed to give a new look to the old ideas.  So whether you are a mobile power user with compact storage needs, or discerning office user who enjoys a stylish environment, VIZO offers products to satisfy both needs.

VIZO Saturno 2.5″ eSATA Hard Disk Drive Enclosure

Not more then one year ago the external hard drive market was comprised of big square one-color solutions, and the industry was satisfied with producing brick-heavy enclosures. For some this was acceptable since the drive enclosure was hidden from sight. But for many users which were tasked with carrying such a device or displaying one on their desk, the chore was unbearable. This absence of creativity has finally spurred the much needed innovation from manufacturers, and as they learn from the past and listen to customer feedback they are able to deliver a more exciting product. With 3.5″ hard drives being quickly matched by their 2.5″ sibling, manufacturers have taken notice by designing enclosure solutions for both. 

 

VIZO Uranus 3.5″ eSATA Hard Disk Drive Enclosures

In this article I will review two eSATA products from the VIZO storage enclosure showcase: the compact Saturno 2.5″ hard disk drive enclosure, and the Uranus 3.5″ enclosure.  While VIZO offers a rugged full-size 3.5″ enclosure in the Uranus, the smaller 2.5″ Saturno is equally as durable with sleek styling.  Both drives offer the brand new eSATA and USB 2.0 interfaces, and both are made of aluminum construction.

About the company: VIZO Technology Corporation

VIZO Technology Corp. is a leading global manufacturer and designer of computer peripheral products serving customers around the world. We own the best team and complete innovation technology. Utilizing experiences for many years and sufficient mature skills, VIZO insists in developing value added, ideal based, zeal catered and optimum designed products for customers to meet mainstream demands. That’s why we are named VIZO.

VIZO provides the PC users a variety of PC DIY products and peripherals, including hard drive external enclosure, multimedia storage, front panel, mouse, PC fan, system cooling, cold cathode light, crystal neon light, card reader, USB hub, PC accessory and so on; Meanwhile, VIZO produces special effect products which can make your PC more stylish and unique.

VIZO’s vision is to make customers enjoy the high quality PC stuff all the time. To carry out it, VIZO aims at non-stop improvement, continuous innovation, excellent design, firm development and quality-improving technology and keeps putting all our effort in research and development. For high product quality, VIZO insists in the strict quality control process and owns highly recommended global product approval.

Closer Look: Saturno

It will not be long before 2.5″ hard disk drives replace their larger counterpart, but there for the time being these compact drives are merely more of a compact solution.  With a capacity of 80GB available at the time of this writing, there are still plenty of backup and storage tasks which may fit very well under this umbrella.  And since VIZO has designed the Saturno to be a one-touch eSATA or USB 2.0 backup solution, data and files can be stored in a hurry and packed away into a briefcase or purse.

VIZO Saturno Retail Packaging

DESCRIPTION

VIZO SATURNO, 2.5” SATA hard drive one touch backup enclosure, is SATA to USB 2.0 / eSATA enclosure which provides interface not only SATA to USB 2.0, but also SATA to eSATA .Fully support 2.5” SATA hard drive. Furthermore, SATURNO has the added advantage of dual one-touch backup buttons for system and file under USB 2.0 host. You can backup/restore or synchronize task just by one touch. With SATURNO, its slim, compact and portable design allows you to bring it wherever you go. It is great convenient of you to back up and transfer your data storage anywhere for your needs.

VIZO Saturno 2.5″ Hard Disk Drive eSATA Enclosure

FEATURES

Compatible with 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive
Support 480Mbps High Speed USB 2.0
Support 3.0Gbps High Speed external Serial-ATA ( eSATA )
Dual One-touch Backup buttons for file and system ( only under USB2.0 host )
4 functions in it :
One touch backup for file
One touch backup for system
USB to SATA HDD
eSATA to SATA HDD
Slim, compact and portable design
Aluminum housing for excellent heat dissipation
Side vents improving advection for better system cooling
Support plug and play & hot swappable
* Must be attached to SATA 3.0G/eSATA 3.0G hot swappable compliant host to enable hot swappable function
USB powered device, no external power is required under low HDD power consumption
Extra power needed for high HDD power consumption or eSATA host used.

Saturno Retail Box Bottom

SPECIFICATIONS

Case Material : Aluminum
Host Interface: 480Mbps USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 Compatible) 3.0Gbps High Speed external Serial-ATA( eSATA )
HDD Type : 2.5 ” IDE HDD
One Button Backup: Backup / Restore / Synchronize file and system
( ONLY under USB2.0 host )
Power Supply :
USB Bus Power
External USB Bus POWER ( DC 5V/1A, included )
External AC/DC POWER Adapter( Option, AC input: 100~ 240Vac , DC output: +5V/1A, not included )
Indicators : Blue for POWER on / Red for file access
Weight : 75 g (without HDD)
Dimensions : 135(L) x 76(W) x 15(H) mm

SYSTEM REQUIREMENT

For USB 2.0 : Windows ME/2000/XP or Mac 10.2 above
One USB port available for USB Host
For eSATA : Windows 2000/XP or Mac 10.2 above
Proper SATA/eSATA port or SATA card available for eSATA host
Must have SATA 3.0G/eSATA 3.0G hot swappable compliant host to enable hot swappable function

VIZO Saturno Interface

PACKAGE INCLUDES

2.5” HDD external enclosure
USB Y Type Cable
Power USB Y Type Cable
eSATA cable
SATA to eSATA adapter cable w/bracket
Screw fitting kit
Cleaning cloth
Pouch
User manual and driver CD

Closer Look: Uranus

It may seem that the 3.5″ hard disk drive enclosure market is on its way towards retirement, but not if VIZO can help it.  While the convenience of a compact design may be substituted for larger capacity, the same attractive appearance is available.  And until 2.5″ hard disks can hold beyond the 750GB now available to the 3.5″ market, their will be a demand for for full-size solutions such as the VIZO Uranus.

VIZO Uranus Retail Packaging

The overall appearance of the VIZO Uranus is less of a departure from the past then we observed in the Saturno.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that 3.5″ enclosures aren’t going to be pulled from purses or briefcases anytime soon, or simply because function is more important then fashion in the full size enclosure market.  I have to admit that my first impressions of the Urnaus had me wanting it to look like an oversized Saturno, but with the large amounts of data stored on up to 750GB I would never want to sacrifice durability or protection.

VIZO Uranus: Simple and Effective

DESCRIPTION

VIZO URANUS, 3.5” SATA one touch backup hard drive external enclosure, is SATA to USB 2.0 / eSATA enclosure which provides interface not only SATA to USB 2.0, but also SATA to eSATA .Fully support 3.5” SATA hard drive. Furthermore, URANUS has the added advantage of dual one-touch backup buttons for system and file under USB 2.0 host. You can backup or restore task just by one touch. With URANUS, it is much convenient of you to save your data easily and make your daily backup efficiently.

VIZO Uranus Enclosure Cover

FEATURES

Compatible with 3.5″ SATA Hard Drive
Support 480Mbps High Speed USB 2.0
Support 3.0Gbps High Speed external Serial-ATA (eSATA )
Dual One-touch Backup buttons for file and system (only under USB 2.0 host )
4 functions in it:
One touch backup for file
One touch backup for system
USB to SATA HDD
eSATA to SATA HDD
Sleek and elegant design
Aluminum housing for excellent heat dissipation
Build in fan for better system cooling
Support plug and play & hot swappable
* Must be attached to SATA 3.0Gb/eSATA 3.0Gb hot swappable compliant host to enable hot swappable function

VIZO Uranus Box Bottom

SPECIFICATIONS

Housing : Aluminum
Host Interface: 480Mbps USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 Compatible) 3.0Gbps High Speed external Serial-ATA ( eSATA )
HDD Type : 3.5 ” SATA HDD
One Button Backup: Backup / Restore / Synchronize file and system
( ONLY under USB2.0 host )
Power Supply : AC/DC POWER Adapter
( AC input: 100~ 240Vac , DC output: +5V/+12V)  
Indicators : Blue for POWER on / Purple for file access
Weight : 120g (without HDD)
Dimensions : 210(L) x 125 (W) x 34 (H) mm

VIZO Uranus Drive Tray

SUPPORT

For USB 2.0 : Windows ME/2000/XP or Mac 10.2 above
One USB port available for USB Host
For eSATA : Windows 2000/XP or Mac 10.2 above
Proper SATA/eSATA port or SATA card available for eSATA host
Must have SATA 3.0Gb/eSATA 3.0Gb hot swappable compliant host to enable hot swappable function

CONTENTS

3.5” HDD external enclosure
Stand
USB Cable
eSATA cable
SATA to eSATA adapter cable w/bracket
Power Adapter
Power Cable
Cleaning cloth
User manual and driver CD

Impressions

Installing the hard disk into either enclosure was a very simple process.  For both products, the drive simply rests inside the hollow enclosure and is secured by fastening screws which tie everything together.  The full size Uranus offers a home to a 3.5″ SATA hard drive, and the compact Saturno fits a 2.5″ SATA drive.

Since the computer industry is still new to technologies such as eSATA, VIZO has made sure that the mass market is still capable of portable storage without the conflict of changing and emerging standards.  VIZO has realized that not everyone has a computer which supports eSATA, which makes USB still the most compatible and convenient interface available, so both enclosures maintain compatibility with systems both old and new by offering USB 2.0 interfaces.

Additionally, both enclosures come with eSATA kits which include an internal SATA to eSATA adapter cable with bracket harness.  This allows any computer with standard SATA-I or SATA-II ports on the system motherboard to upgrade one of the empty case expansion slots into an eSATA interface.  There is even a 21″ eSATA cable to connect either enclosure to the computers eSATA port.

VIZO Uranus Accessory Kit

The fit and finish of the miniature Saturno are first class, and the design is cutting edge.  With reinforced construction, added to the recent improvements in 2.5″ hard drive G-shock durability, you could can feel safe that minor jarring and dropping will have little effect on the data and drive. 

More to the point is the Uranus enclosure.  It also comes with the fully functional USB 2.0 and eSATA support, proving once again that VIZO is aware of this emerging technology, and adds a power adapter port for the included A/C adapter.  While the 3.0Gbps performance of eSATA is available to both enclosures, the SATA hard drive in the Uranus will take full advantage of the high-speed data throughput and transfer speeds.  However, the average user will be satisfied by the 480Mbps connection offered through a compliant USB 2.0 connection if eSATA is unavailable to them.

Oops, VIZO forgot to make the A/C cord North America friendly

It should be noted that while the Uranus includes a powered A/C adapter, the compact Saturno includes a dual-input USB adapter for power, but also offers a 5.0 volt A/C power adapter port for an optional power source (not included with the Saturno).

In my review kit, the VIZO Uranus included a European A/C power cord for the power adapter.  Certainly, this would be a show stopper for most consumers, however I have a large inventory of cables and this problem was easily remedied.  I certainly hope that VIZO fixes this mistake prior to shipping out product to the USA or Canada.

Conclusion

The future is eSATA, and VIZO knows this.  Since the storage drive market is fast evolving into hybrid and solid state products, it seems sensible that manufacturers would move with this trend and take full advantage. VIZO has provided two very well crafted drive enclosures, which are fully functional in both the current USB 2.0 and the emerging eSATA interfaces.

VIZO Uranus 3.5″ Hard Drive eSATA/USB Interface

At the time of this writing, neither the VIZO Saturno or the Uranus drive enclusure products could be found for sale at the larger online merchants.  They are brand new products, so let’s hope that readers will create a demand for these new products, and we will soon see them carried at our favorite e-tailers.

Pros:

+  Excellent 3.0Gbps eSATA performance
+  Saturno requires no additional power supply to operate
+  Saturno offers a sylish design and sharp finish
+  Light Aluminum construction, yet rugged
+  SATA-to-eSATA adapter kits included
+  Available in a variety of colors
+  Value priced kits, with plenty of accessories
+  Installation is a snap, almost literally

Cons:

-  Uranus drive stand is not very stable
-  A/C Adapter cord is not USA/Canada friendly!


Final Score

The compact Saturno receives a 9.0 out of 10, and the well-protected Bjorn3d Golden Bear Award.

The VIZO Uranus receives a 7.0 out of 10, due to the improper A/C adapter cord.

Special Thank-you:

This review would not be possible if it weren’t for manufacturers like VIZO who are willing to have a picky hardware analysts like me torture their products.  I am grateful, and certainly appreciate the opportunity.

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