If geeks love it, we’re on it

NewerTech Voyager S3 USB3 hard drive dock

NewerTech Voyager S3 USB3 hard drive dock

Voyager S3 review

If you do a lot of work on PCs for yourself, friends and family, or clients, having a quick and easy way to plug in hard drives is something that is basically required to maintain healthy sanity levels. External hard drive docks are nothing new, but NewerTechnology has released the Voyager S3 to compete on features, and are hoping it will be your external hard drive dock of choice.

The Voyager S3 has a solid, heavy base and feels very substantial and well-built. It’s got nubby rubber feet so that when it’s on a surface, it stays put and isn’t in any danger of flopping over or sliding while a high-speed rotating platter is sitting inside of it. The top bay accepts 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives, with a moving dust cover for 3.5″. When you insert a 3.5″ drive, the door just flips down without any resistance. There’s also a release button that levers the drive up evenly so you’re in no danger of bending the SATA or power leads on the drive or base.

Voyager S3 review

The front has a subtle blue LED to indicate power on, and it flashes orange when there’s disk activity. The Voyager S3 comes with a high-quality USB 3.0/2.0 cable and a power brick with a universal adapter for foreign travel.

I tested the Voyager S3 with an old 20gb 2.5″ SATA drive from a PlayStation 3. With USB2, reads were around 22mb/s and writes were around 29mb/s. With USB3, the drive was maxed out (it’s an old, slow drive) at 30mb/s consistently:

NewerTech Voyager S3 ATTO benchmark scores

ATTO Benchmark for USB2 and USB3 on Voyager S3 dock

With a faster drive, the USB 3 advantage becomes more pronounced. USB 2 is maxed out at about the same speeds: ~25mb/s, while USB 3 starts to pull ahead significantly at ~54mb/s

Voyager S3 ATTO performance difference USB 2 and USB 3

ATTO benchmark for USB2 and USB3 on Voyager S3 with a faster drive

The USB 3 controller in the Voyager S3 shows its strength when you start putting faster drives in it.

Icrontic Outstanding Product artworkNewer Technology markets this squarely at mobile professionals: photographers and videographers especially will see a lot of benefit to thinking of this in terms of a very large SD card; you can stick a 4tb drive in there if you wanted to.

There are a lot of use cases for external docks; the aforementioned repair desk scenario, photography, video shoots, mobile demonstrations, and more. I’m happy to recommend the Newer Technology Voyager S3 as the best external hard drive dock I’ve ever used, due to the totally solid build quality, included USB cord and international power brick, and USB3 capability. It gets the Icrontic Outstanding Product award for being best in class.

The Voyager S3 is available now from Other World Computing for around $38.

Comments

  1. ardichoke
    ardichoke These are extremely useful devices. Back when I was on the restore team at work, every team member was assigned one of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153112 which we lovingly called toasters. Man did they ever make our jobs infinitely easier when recovering data from a dying or exploited drive.
  2. oni_dels
    oni_dels that's the one i have, pretty neet:
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/usb-gadgets/a7ea/?srp=32
    can be plug with usb2 or eSata, i managed to boot up my laptop from the harddrive plugged in that toaster (yup i also call them toasters)
  3. Bob D HOW can this be a startup drive? It took partitioning when I used Mac Leopard System DVD to format it, but after three tries, I still get a ...Installation not successful: cannot be used as a startup drive ... message. What am I doing wrong?
    Do I first have to mount my hard drive INSIDE my Mac Dual-Core G5 PowerPC, try to load Leopard, THEN take it out of the computer, and use it in the dock?
    Guys, I need your help.
  4. primesuspect
    primesuspect Mac people? Can a Mac be set to boot off USB?
  5. ardichoke
    ardichoke Yes, Mac can boot off USB (for instance, a bootable USB Linux distro), but I have no idea if OSX will allow you to install it to an external drive. My instincts would say no because Apple doesn't want you to install OSX on anything except the drive in a Mac.

    EDIT: I retract my above instinctual statement. See here: http://www.maciverse.com/installing-snow-leopard-onto-an-external-hard-drive.html

Howdy, Stranger!

You found the friendliest gaming & tech geeks around. Say hello!