The Rebit 5 (1TB) ($124.95 list) is more than a simple hard drive. Sure, you can copy your files to it, and carry the drive across the room or across the country. What sets the Rebit 5 apart is the simple, yet comprehensive software that comes with the drive. The software is easy to set up and install, easy to recover files with, and easy to restore your entire hard drive with. If you’re the type that hates rebuilding your PC’s hard drive after every time it craps out, you are likely to be the target audience for the Rebit 5. It’s the low-effort backup that can get you back up and running shortly after a major hard drive crash.
Design and Features
The looks of the Rebit 5 drive are pretty standard. It measures approximately 5 by 2 by 8.5 inches (HWD) when you perch the drive on its stand. The black metal rounded case for the Rebit drive should work with just about any décor on your workspace. The back has a USB 2.0 port, on/off switch, and power port, while the front has a really bright blue power/activity LED light. This desktop-class hard drive has a 1TB capacity, but Rebit also has a 2TB desktop-class drive ($179.95) and a 500GB portable drive ($109.95) available.
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The real star of the package is the software: Rebit 5 is the newest version of the software that comes with the Rebit 500($220 list, 3 stars) and is sold in a rebranded form with theSeagate Replica ($200 list, 4 stars). The Rebit 5 software gives you a full backup of your hard drive(s), featuring true disaster recovery to a bare metal hard drive (aka fresh out of the box). This can help if your PC won’t boot at all due to such things as “drive errors.” Rebit 5 can give you the peace of mind you may need once all of your business documents are filed on your PC.
Installing Rebit 5 software is easy. Just plug the drive in and run the installer. You’ll have to click OK a few times when prompted, but the install pretty much happens “hands off.” and the drive will start backing up everything on your C: drive automatically. There are options to back up other drives in your PC, including other internal or external drives, but the Rebit 5 software concentrates on the C: drive out of the box, since that’s where most people store their OS, apps, and data. Rebit 5 also has to option to back up your PC to network drives or any other external hard drive as well, so it’s really flexible. The Rebit 5 drive and software works with just about all versions of Windows: XP (32-bit), Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit). This is an improvement over the last version of the Rebit software, which was limited to 32-bit Windows. Just make sure your C: drive is formatted to NTFS, as the Rebit 5 software won’t work with FAT32 drives (Windows 7 defaults to NTFS).
Rebit 5 Specifications
- External, Mini
- System Type
- Storage Capacity (as Tested)
- 1000 GB
- Rotation Speed
- 7200 rpm
- USB, USB 2.0, SATA
Performance and Usability
Your first backup will take a while. Our hard drive testbed took the better part of a full 24 hours to back up several hundred GB of data. The drive is USB 2.0, rather than the faster USB 3.0, and no doubt this slowed things down. While all current PCs ship with USB 2.0 ports, adding USB 3.0 would be good for future proofing and the added speed would be welcome for USB 3.0-equipped PCs.
That said, the drive itself is decently fast. It returned a score of 3,919 points on PCMark05′s hard drive test. To put this in perspective, the ioSafe SoloPRO ($249.99 list, 4.5 stars) got a score of 3,682 points on USB 2.0 and 8,120 points on USB 3.0. You could buy and download the Rebit 5 software separately ($34.95 for 1 PC, $79.95 for 3 PCs), and use it with a USB 3.0 drive or NAS that you purchase separately.
There are two ways you can recover your data: file search or complete recovery. If you find you’ve misplaced a file or accidentally deleted it, you can simply browse the Rebit 5 drive for that file and copy it back to your PC’s hard drive using drag and drop. You can also mount the drive on another PC to transfer files, but since you’ll have to install a Rebit backup browser app (to that other PC), that may be less convenient. The Rebit 5 can also recover the PC’s entire hard drive, including operating system, installed applications, and data left in the same folder structure you backed up earlier. In this way it’s like Apple’s Time Machine: Rebit supports snapshots so you can go back in time and restore the whole hard drive at a certain point in time, say the version of your PC and files from three days ago rather than the version two hours ago. The drive comes with a recovery boot CD, but you can create a boot USB stick or DVD in case that’s more convenient for you. You can password-protect your backups for added security, though Rebit 5 Time Machine defaults to backing up everything without a password.
Compared with the competition, the Rebit 5 combines ease of use and disaster recovery into a compelling combo pack. It’s easier to set up than drives like the HP Portable External Hard Drive (1TB) ($169.99 direct, 4 stars), which has a simple backup software package that takes a bit of doing to get set up. The IDrive Portable ($69.99 list, 3.5 stars) is easy to set up, but it only backs up document folders, not the entire hard drive. It’s the same for the Clickfree Wireless ($179.99 list, 4 stars): Easy to set up, but only backs up documents. If you find that you need to back up not just your important files, but the state of your PC, including all the apps, OS tweaks, and settings, then you really need something like the Rebit 5 (1TB). As long as you are using one of the latest versions of Windows (Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1), you will get much more peace of mind using a product like the Rebit over a simple hard drive with a simple backup utility.