Page 4 - Conclusion
In today's market, finding a cheap 2.5" enclosure is fairly easy. In fact, there is quite a large selection when shopping for external HDD cases. The criteria now, when looking for a potential enclosure, is to find one with more features like having not just USB 2.0 compatibility, but possibly eSATA and USB 3.0 options. The good news is, the Zalman ZM-VE200 does not fall into this general criteria of the run-of-the-mill enclosure. Other than the eSATA port, which gives a user more options when choosing data transfer speeds, why does this enclosure not fit the general criteria? Well, simple, it is more then an external HDD enclosure.
From a theoretical standpoint, I see a dual external HDD case with virtual optical drive as an excellent innovation. Why wasn't this thought up of earlier? Who knows. It is good to note that this unit fits a very specific market. As an external HDD enclosure, this unit is one to be reckoned with. Its durable outer shell will provide protection from everyday bumps and bruises. The sleek and small design allows the user to efficiently utilize the enclosure's portable nature to its fullest. Also, the LCD display and jog-switch allow any user to quickly change ISOs as well as drive modes with ease and comfort. Although the Zalman ZM-VE200 has its accomplishments, it does have its fails. First off, the rubber sides have proven to be a faulty design as it forces the user to bend the rubber when installing. Also, while the USB 2.0 speeds is acceptable, it certainly does not have anything to write home about. USB 3.0 at this day and age would definitely be something we're after. Thirdly, power via external DC input or eSATAp compatibility would be appreciated. All in all, if I were to describe this unit in one word, it would be 'weird'. The virtual drive function in most cases would be seen as a pro, and who knows, my future use of this drive could very well prove to be quite useful to have. But as for my current experience, I'm not that pleased by my findings. It was quite frustrating to use for the first few days, as I have talked about in the preceding page. If you were to ask me if this unit was worth the price of $59.99 USD MSRP, I would quickly answer, "Would you pay $59.99 for something with random functional problems out of the box and little available documentation?" I am not even sure if the updated firmware fixed the drive, or was it due to pure luck it "magically" fixed itself as it did before. Zalman's motto is "Cool Innovations," something that is written on the retail box and enclosure casing. I commend them on this motto, which is entirely accurate. However, for the future, I would like to not only see just an innovative product, but also a well executed product. When it's all said and done, consumers will commend an idea, but only purchase a consistently working idea.
Zalman provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.0/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Zalman ZM-VE200 is an innovative external HDD enclosure when everything works. If you run into random virtual drive problems with no solutions though, don't ask me. Let us just hope that they resolve themselves, because isn't that how most problems get resolved?
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1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Installation
3. Test System, Benchmark Results