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Ineo NA301Ue Hard Drive Enclosure


Author:  Ian Garris
Date:  2008.12.21
Topic:  Storage
Provider:  Ineo
Manufacturer:  Ineo






Introduction:

The Ineo (which is actually Eagle Tech) NA301Ue hard drive enclosure is a stylish answer to the age-old problem of never enough internal storage. You've probably never heard of them before - I hadn't - but looking over their catalog, Ineo consistently produces elegant, useful storage products with a tendency toward toolless hard drive enclosures. Available in both black and silver, as well as USB2 and USB2+eSATA, our sample is a black hybrid-interface model. Internally, it supports both SATA I and SATA II as well as E-SATA, offering native throughput for blistering speed. Alternately, even the best USB connection involves inevitable bottlenecks limiting one to about a sixth the transfer rate of the eSATA/SATA II connection.

Packaging:

The enclosure comes packed in an attractive cardboard briefcase-style package, with compatibility labels on the bottom edge of the box; inexplicably while they list Linux support on the side panel, they didn't bother giving it an icon. Turning it clockwise, we get specifications, a rather odd diagram proclaiming multi-platform support for "Win" and "Mac" apparently simultaneously, and a chart of the transfer rate of eSATA I/II, Firewire 400/800, and USB2. Turning to the back of the box, we see more of the same specifications, a feature list, and a graphic representation of the semi-toolless mechanism of drive insertion - the only tool needed is the little plastic key, a bent paperclip, or a toothpick. That's kinda neat - I'll go into more detail on that in a bit. Finally, turning the box again clockwise to the last side, we get the UPC, and the model information chart - there are, in fact, two variants of this design, one featuring eSATA (ours) and the NA301U, relying solely on USB2 for moving around files. I feel that they could have created a slightly more useful chart of the capabilities and included items of the two models, but so far, I'm fairly impressed with the aesthetic they have going, and all the relevant information is actually presented, though it could be organized better.

Image courtesy of Ineo

Opening the box, the enclosure itself sits suspended between two closed-cell foam assemblies, providing more than adequate shock protection. Also inside, I found the expected AC adapter - an inline instead of a wallwart, this one won't block three ports by itself. There were two data cables, one for eSATA and a three-foot USB cable. One of our testers reported that this may not be long enough for your installation, but their inclusion of a cable is a refreshing departure from recent, depressing trends. Though the user manual was thin it was satisfying, going into fairly thorough detail. The driver CD was perfectly unnecessary due to the wonders of USB Mass Storage, and I fully expect that most users will find setup equally easy. The last couple items in the package were a small matte-black vertical stand made from extruded aluminum, and an envelope containing the drive key and four little rubber feet for you to stick to the enclosure if you intend to use it flat on your desk. All in all, the presentation of this drive enclosure lends to the impression that you're unboxing a fairly nice piece of gear.

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