Samsung S1 Mini – Capacity in an S Dimension

How does the 1.8″ hard drive perform in practice Samsung S1 Mini with a capacity of 120GB?

When we say “portable memory” these days, we usually mean a device based on a design that uses FLASH technology. This thought is rooted in statistics, which says that most often we carry small amounts of data, and the dimensions of the device play a key role.

In the case of FLASH memory, the cost-effectiveness parameter, i.e. the price of 1GB of capacity becomes of secondary importance – especially when the device is not used as a backup medium for our data, but only as a replacement for an old (for some probably already unknown) floppy or CD/DVD disc.

However, when the choice of portable medium is related to archiving and not just transferring data, our gaze turns to portable hard drives. Their price is high relative to FLASH memory, but the price of 1GB capacity is incomparably lower. For example: 4GB flash drive today is an expense of about 50 PLN, this means that for each gigabyte of capacity we pay 12.50 PLN.

If we want to think about archiving, we won’t take into account such a low capacity memory. So let’s consider a 64GB flash drive, the price of which is about 650 PLN – the price of one gigabyte is about 10 PLN, which is already cheaper.

However, this capacity may still prove to be insufficient, then we direct our eyes towards the mentioned portable drives. An example 2.5″ hard drive with a capacity of 320GB costs about 400 PLN – the cost of 1GB of data is only 1.25 PLN – so the difference is colossal. Despite their relatively small size, 2.5″ disks are not very handy in comparison with FLASH memories.

Samsung S1 Mini

Hard disk drive manufacturers noticed this quite quickly and moved towards miniaturization. The most miniaturized, traditional hard drives were 1″ in size and generated fairly little interest from the public. A more tempting proposition are 1.8″ hard drives.

With a USB 2.0 enabled enclosure, a 1.8″ HDD fits easily into even the tightest pocket. Although the 1.8 hard drive is far from the dimensions of today’s PDs, it seems to be a solid competitor to discrete memories. The drive we want to present is characterized by a capacity of 120GB at a price below PLN 4 per gigabyte, while maintaining dimensions not exceeding 87x62x15mm – which is approximately the same as three popular USB flash drives.

Samsung is poorly associated with the so-called storage segment of the computer market. The company’s logo appears most often on our monitors, optical drives or peripherals such as printers – looking for a portable hard drive, we would not expect not long ago that we will be considering a product of this brand.

The drive communicates with the computer via a USB 2.0 interface and does not require an additional power supply, in addition it is equipped with an automatic power management mechanism, which cuts off the power and parks the drive heads after 5 minutes of inactivity – this allows you to save a lot of energy when using a laptop, and extend the life of the device itself.

The housing of the disk, although very classic in shape, is made very originally – built of two parts overlapping each other, like the obverse and reverse. The obverse is a frame made of hard plastic imitating aluminum and the filling is made of a material visually resembling carbon – dreamlike particles embedded in black mass with an interesting pattern have been covered with colorless, glossy varnish.

The reverse is also made of plastic, but it imitates the texture of leather. The obverse has the company logo and nameplate.

Samsung S1 mini is not only an external hard drive. In the box itself we find a set of two USB-miniUSB cables.

The first is a standard cable with a length of 0.75m, while the second is a miniature, pocket cable with a length of 10cm – this cable has a flexible reinforcement around the wires which allows you to form it, and the same plugs are made of extremely hard, glossy plastic and bear the manufacturer’s logo.

The package also contains a mini manual and instructions for use of the drive.

However, this is not the end of the contents of the kit. In the memory of the drive is a set of software for data backup, encryption of data stored on the hard drive S1 mini and more extensive manuals for the drive in multiple languages (including Polish) and software manuals (here already lack of Polish).

We ran the Samsung S1 mini performance tests in two programs. The first one is ATTO – this program allows you to accurately determine the transfer and access parameters of the device.

In the ATTO program, we tested the performance of reading and writing a 16MB file with different portions of data: from 0.5kB to 8MB, with direct access to memory and performing each transfer four times.


An external hard drive should be judged by its four characteristics, three of which can be determined without any problems during the test procedure. The first feature is the build quality of the case, which in the case of the Samsung S1 mini is at a high level, both technically and aesthetically.

The second feature is performance – the S1 mini has nearly symmetrical performance when reading and writing data, and this is true across all data packet size ranges tested. This is an extremely rare feature that allows for superior usable performance. The transfer rate itself, which remains at nearly 25MB/s, is sufficient for occasional data transfers as well as for backups, even very extensive ones.

The third feature is the ratio of price to capacity and equipment (including the included software). Samsung S1 mini is not a cheap product to buy, but the price of 1GB of disk space is not exorbitant.

The 120GB capacity is fully sufficient for data transfer and backup in an ordinary (computer) household. A valuable addition to the presented device, is the previously described software, which in our opinion is worth the money spent on it – especially since in the case of competing 1.8″ hard drives often do not get any software with the device.

The fourth feature that is difficult to assess is reliability. This parameter can only be evaluated by the owners of the device or the manufacturer itself – we prefer to trust the users in this regard, who seem to be in this matter a more reliable and authoritative source of information. Unfortunately, we do not have any information on the failure rate of this drive. There could be at least two reasons for this: either the drive is so unpopular, which is possible, or it has so few failures that no one publicly complains about it – which we wish for this product.

To sum it all up: the Samsung S1 mini is an alternative to large-capacity FLASH memory, which may prove to be insufficient, and a serious competitor to portable 2.5″ drives whose size may prove to be too portable.



– Compatibility problem of Samsung SecretZone with 64-bit systems

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