External hard drive enclosures are a dime a dozen… kind of. VOX’s solution delivers similar features as the others, such as USB 2.0 and eSATA connections, along with some backup software. In the end though, what should be a killer offering proved to be a very mediocre one.
It was a pleasant surprise when we were contacted by VOX to see if we wanted to evaluate their external hard drive. The more competition in the market, the more likely companies are to try to provide better products with more features. That said, the VOX V1 offers little competition to the likes of Seagate, Buffalo, LaCie and the more established brand for a variety of reasons.
First off, the build quality of the VOX was adequate at best and suspect at worst. The noticeable gap between the top of the drive and the side panel allowed the side to practically fall off of the drive and while this make it convenient to access the internals of the V1, it also will aid in the warranty being voided in quick order.
Another area where the V1 falls short is in the software bundled with it. While functional, the backup program was clunky and less intuitive than we would have like to of seen. Granted, there is a well documented manual, one of the more instructive that we have seen actually, but still, the software falls well behind that of the more established brands.
Many other companies offer third party programs through deals between the hardware and software vendors. If VOX really wants to bundle solid backup software for free, they should consider looking at what companies like QNAP and Synology have done with their networked backup programs. While the V1 isn’t networkable, the premise of a destination and source drive is the same. Simply put, there is no polish at all to the V1′s backup utility.
Looking around the net, pricing of the V1 is another issue of ours. All but one site, Buy.com, had the V1 priced at well over 200 dollars. NewEgg had it listed for $235. When we consider that the drive used can be purchased for $149.99, you can’t tell me that the cost of the enclosure and all the other small, behind the scenes costs equal 85 dollars.
Comparative products at NewEgg like the Seagate FreeAgent Pro ($165), the LaCie Design 750 GB ($176), the WD My Book Home ($204) and the Buffalo DriveStation ($227) can all be had for a cheaper price, there isn’t any reason why anyone would consider the VOX V1. This goes back to what we covered earlier with brand loyalty. As unfair as it might be, I would go with a more established brand before I considered the V1 simply because it’s in the same price bracket.
Things change though when we go to Buy.com. There they offer the V1 for $139 after rebates. This is a great deal as it’s cheaper than you can purchase the drive by itself alone. Granted, you have to wait for a month or two for your rebate to come in but if you have a bit of patience, this is a spectacular deal.
Reading down through the customer comments though, we see that many have had issues with poor customer support from VOX and have even expressed their discontent with the time it’s taken to receive their rebates. I’m not sure how there can be a $55 discrepancy between the countries most arguably popular e-tailer and Buy.com but there is so if you’re considering this drive, you’d be foolish to go anywhere but there.
All in all, the VOX V1 isn’t great and with the poor software and cheap feeling build quality, it’s hardly even good but I can say that I was pleased with its performance. It didn’t wow us and it didn’t set any records but then again, it never said that it would. I simply works. There really isn’t much more to say.
The case feels cheap but its primary redeeming quality is that VOX chose a home run of a drive in the WD7500AAKS but with its paltry one year warranty and higher prices everywhere but at one site, I can’t in good faith recommend this drive to anyone but those that can find it at a spectacular deal like the one at Buy.com. There are so many other choices, from companies that are established, offer better software packages and warranties that reach up to 5 years, that the VOX V1 shouldn’t be considered against those mentioned earlier.
Because it works and uses a top notch hard drive offering a lot of capacity, the VOX V1 earns a 5 out of 10… the same score Nate gave the Maxtor OneTouch and for a few similar reasons as well.
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