Review: LaCie Porsche Design P’9220 USB 3.0 1TB Mobile Drive

The LaCie Porsche Design P’9220 - the most beautiful external hard drive you’ve ever seen.

Everybody needs to buy an external drive every once in a while. Most people want more storage for their files, many others use external drives for backing up files, some for a combination of both, like me. I’m a photographer, and I need both a lot of space for my growing photo library and multiple backup drives to sleep safe at night knowing that I won’t lose my precious work because of an accident or a hard drive failure (unfortunately common on mechanical hard drives).

To keep my whole photo library on an internal drive (for improved performance and accessibility), I use an external drive to store my other media files (movies and music), but also have to find a mobile backup solution for when I’m working on-the-go with my pictures.

My MacBook Pro has a 500GB HDD, where I conveniently store my photo library using Apple’s Aperture software. I use the Vault feature built into Aperture to keep backups of my library on multiple drives (safer than a single Time Machine drive). When I filled up the all of the mobile external drives I had, I figured out I needed to buy a 1TB mobile drive. Enter the LaCie Porsche Design P’9220.

About the P’9220

Announced in mid-2011, the P’9220 is a USB 3.0 mobile hard drive made by LaCie and designed by Porsche Design. It comes in two capacities: 500GB ($99.99) and 1TB ($149.99).

The 500GB model is 3 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches and weighs 8.5 oz, while the 1TB model is 0.7 inches tall and weighs 9.2 oz. LaCie claims USB 2.0 transfers up to 480 Mb/s and USB 3.0 transfers up to 5 Gb/s. It comes with a suite of LaCie Mac and PC apps for backups, security and a 2-year warranty.

The Design

I’m impressed by this drive’s design. It’s truly amazing. The P’9220 features a beautiful 3mm thick brushed aluminum casing surrounding the drive inside. The aluminum casing grants safety and strength to the drive, and makes it look great, too. The aluminum is matte and you won’t leave fingerprints while handling this beauty. This design is a fantastic blend of form and function.

The P’9220 also has a white LED that indicates drive activity and two stylish black plastic bands on the sides.

Testing and Benchmarks

Unfortunately I don’t own a USB 3 Mac or PC, so all testing has been done over USB 2, HDD to HDD. That said, I got up to 37 Mb/s in read and nearly 38 Mb/s in write, according to Blackmagic Design’s disk speed benchmarking app (screenshot in the gallery below).

What do these numbers mean in real life? Is this drive fast? Yes. I was able to achieve slightly above average USB 2 disk speeds, and you can expect highly improved speed over USB 3. A 105 GB file (an Aperture Library) transfer from my internal HDD to the P’9220 took just under one hour while a 733 MB movie transferred from my internal HDD to the LaCie in just 17 seconds. Also, when under heavy stress, the P’9220 stays silent. It’s amazing how even under load, it doesn’t make almost any noise at all. You can feel the drive moving when you hold it while it’s on, but doesn’t make any noise nor does it get too warm. It can get slightly warm in the middle, but it’s really nothing compared to how my MacBook Pro heats up.

The Good

  • Sleek aluminum design
  • Looks amazing
  • Silent
  • Cool
  • Lightweight
  • The price

The Bad

  • No Firewire option for mobile drives in the LaCie Porsche Design line
  • No SSD option for any drives in the LaCie Porsche Design line

Wrap up

The LaCie Porsche Design P’9220 USB 3 Mobile Drive is a stunningly beautiful hard drive. It also happens to be quite fast for a HDD, and features USB 3 for even quicker transfers. It stays cool and silent also under heavy usage. If you’re looking for a 500GB or 1TB mobile drive that also looks simply beautiful, this is a great choice in my opinion.

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 9/10


All images taken and edited by Lele Buonerba

Lele Buonerba