Orico 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure review: affordable and cool storage

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2023
Orico has made a clever external 2.5-inch USB enclosure with a retro cassette design that is inexpensive and fun to use.




The Orico 2.5-inch USB SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure is a small plastic drive box with a USB 3.0 connection. The enclosure is a clever recreation of a vintage 1970's cassette tape, and comes in clear, white, and black color options.

The external USB connector is standard USB 3.0. The enclosure supports the UASP (USB Attached SCSI) protocol and drives up to 4TB max.

The small external USB connector.
The small external USB connector.


The small kit contains the drive enclosure, one short USB 3.0 drive cable (approx. 10 inches), a stick-on foam support pad for the back of a 2.5-inch SATA drive, two optional stick-on cassette style labels, and a small manual. While slightly larger than an actual cassette, the enclosure when assembled has a cool classic look to it.


Installation

The enclosure's toolless design makes set-up a breeze. You simply slide the two halves of the case apart, stick the foam pad onto the back of your 2.5-inch SSD or hard drive, insert the drive onto the internal SATA bridge board, and slide the top half of the case back on until it clicks.

Once your drive is installed, simply snap the case shut.
Once your drive is installed, simply snap the case shut.


The drive is held in place by the foam pad and nothing but friction. There are no screws required anywhere.

Electronics are getting smaller all the time and the enclosure's tiny USB->SATA bridge board is barely 2 inches wide by 1 inch. The board is based on an ASMedia controller chip.

Once the enclosure is closed, peel off the two cassette-style plastic stickers and apply them carefully to the front and back of the case.

The enclosure has a single tiny blue power LED on the underside of the bridge board which flashes during drive I/O.

Speed tests

Blackmagic Design's disk speed test app shows SSD over USB throughput at 383 MB/s for writes, 430 MB/s for reads on average. While not screaming fast, throughput is respectable for a USB enclosure and a low-end SSD drive.

You will get slightly better performance by using a higher-end SSD drive, but only a little. It's not worth spending more money for a higher-end SATA drive for this enclosure, though.

We tested the drive while connected to a fast USB 3.0 Orico hub connected directly to one of the Mac's USB ports. We got speeds typical for SATA enclosures through USB.

Direct USB 3 to Mac connection.
Direct USB 3 to Mac connection.


A connection to the Mac through a hub was slightly slower on writes but slightly faster on reads, well within the margin for error.

Revive that '80s feel for your 21st century storage

For a basic USB enclosure with a fun classic feel, you can't go wrong with this box for $13. It has very little downside, takes less than five minutes to set up, and is small and silent.

One thing we would have liked to have seen is the addition of small rubber feet for the bottom of the case, but you can find your own easily enough.

Orico 2.5-inch External USB 3 Hard Drive Enclosure Pros


  • Small, lightweight, silent

  • SATA 3 and 5 Gigabit per second support

  • Tool-free, easy set up

  • Inexpensive

  • Activity LED

Orico 2.5-inch External USB 3 Hard Drive Enclosure Cons


  • Average performance

  • No USB-C

  • No rubber feet

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Where to buy

You can purchase the enclosure at a variety of outlets including on Amazon for $13, eBay, and Walmart for $15.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    1970s? The Philips Compact Cassette was introduced in 1963, and hit its stride in the early 1980s...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    maltzmaltz Posts: 464member
    Cons:
    No pencil included
    command_fwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    bonobobbonobob Posts: 386member
    I'd be a lot more impressed if one could plug it into a cassette player and it would play all the audio files on the disk.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,311member
    While I think this  Compact Cassette enclosure is interesting.  I grew up with these things to play my music on.  The younger generation may not even know what a  Compact Cassette is, let alone what it looks like.   So many things I grew up with, just aren't a thing to the younger generation.  

    I wish I had an excuse to buy one of these things myself, but no, I have no need for it.  I have too much garbage I need to get rid of.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    maltzmaltz Posts: 464member
    jbdragon said:
    While I think this  Compact Cassette enclosure is interesting.  I grew up with these things to play my music on.  The younger generation may not even know what a  Compact Cassette is, let alone what it looks like.   So many things I grew up with, just aren't a thing to the younger generation.  

    I wish I had an excuse to buy one of these things myself, but no, I have no need for it.  I have too much garbage I need to get rid of.  

    I, too, grew up in the age of cassettes.  I never once heard anyone call one a "compact cassette".  Kinda sus...   ;)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    maltzmaltz Posts: 464member
    bonobob said:
    I'd be a lot more impressed if one could plug it into a cassette player and it would play all the audio files on the disk.

    This was actually kind-of a thing, but it required two pieces.  I once had an original iPod, which was basically an HD enclosure with some extra software, and a cassette adapter that I could pop into a cassette deck that would feed the analog audio into the playback head.  I wonder now if there was ever an MP3 player that used NAND for storage in a form factor that would actually fit in a cassette player and play.  That would have probably been practical by the early- to mid-2000's, even though cassettes were mostly phased out by then.

    If I were to make one now, I'd probably design it to use SD cards.
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