Hands-on review: LaCie Mirror external hard drive
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External hard drives are rarely objects of beauty. Most are squat plastic widgets tethered to a PC, tucked out of sight. This isn’t the case with LaCie’s Mirror hard drive. Its sharp looks will most likely see it consuming desktop real-estate in plain view.
Look and Feel
The Mirror is a well named product. It’s an external hard drive whose outer chassis is a slick mirrored glass finish. It isn’t so much a storage device, but more of a design statement with 1TB of built-in storage.
The mirror is aimed at the premium end of the market. LaCie ship the Mirror in a flashy box, which unfolds to reveal it in a padded compartment. It aso ships with a fabric covered USB cable and wooden stand.A fabric bag for is also included.
Out of the box, the Mirror’s reflective body ironically delivered distorted reflections. This was due to it being covered in an adhesive plastic protective film. Once removed, these fun-house effects also vanished and the Mirror lived up to its name.
Bundled along with the Mirror is a polished Indonesian Ebony wooden stand which shows off the Mirror at a slight angle. It has two grooves milled into its surface: one props up the Mirror, and the other can hold a pen. It’s a striking combination.
Looks aside, the Mirror’s construction is solid yet simple, consisting of a sealed mirrored external drive chassis. Construction-wise, it is a statement of sophisticated zen-like minimalism.
You’d be right to assume that encasing any gadget with glass is tempting fate. This hasn't escaped the attentions of LaCie who've used Gorilla Glass for its sides. This means it’s less likely to crack should it get a dose of involuntary drop testing. The Mirror's reflective exterior is also a fingerprint magnet, which is why LaCie thankfully chose to bundle a cleaning cloth.
All told, the Mirror does double duty as an object d’art. A clever design and the use of premium materials lends it a high end look that’d see Mirror being at home on the office desk of Montgomery C Burns or Howard Huges.
Under the Hood
Hooking the Mirror up to a PC/Mac, saw it aking me to run a format utility. Being a Mac and a PC household, I chose 700GB HFS+ and a 300GB FAT32partitions. Also bundled is the LaCie Backup Assistant plus an AES-256 software encryption utility. The utilities are nice but not vital as both Windows and MacOS already have similar functionality baked in.
Inside the Mirror’s shiny chassis is a 5,400rpm 1TB drive. While the Mirror needs to be hooked up to a USB 3.0 port for optimal performance, it’ll still play nice USB 2.0. It draws its power from the host computer so it’s free from power brick cable clutter.
Performance-wise, I recorded a sequential read speed of 108 Mbps. Random small file transfers were recorded at just a shade under 60MBps for reads (and 0.31Mbps for writes). This mightn’t be super fast, but it is still fast enough for most day to day tasks.
The LaCie Mirror reeks of high end design. There is no denying that it is a striking piece of gear that’ll be right at home on any well appointed computer desk. It also performs well and offers acres of storage space.
This said, great design commands a premium sticker price. This see’s the Mirror costing between $500 and just under $580 depending where you shop.
The Mirror mightn’t be for Joe or Joanne average who just want cheap extra storage. Its lack of Thunderbolt ports and SSD could also limit its appeal to those willing to pay more for speed. The Mirror is aimed at those with an eye for design who want to make a statement with their computer desk.