A-DATA NH92 External Hard Drive Review

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  • Pros

    • Very small, fits inside a pocket
    • Good build quality
    • Excellent design
  • Cons

    • Still needs to use a dual USB cable

by Kevin O’Brien

The A-DATA NH92 is a super slim portable hard drive, claimed to be the world’s slimmest. Measuring in at only 12mm tall, it can easily fit in a pocket to be carried around, holding 250 or 500GB of data. With a USB interface and durable shock-protected design it is aimed at netbook and notebook users, and comes in 3 different colors. In this review we see how well it performs, and if it earns a spot in our pocket.

A-DATA NH92 Specifications:

  • Device Interface : USB 2.0
  • HDD Interface : 2.5″ SATA
  • Interface Transfer Rate : USB 2.0: 480Mb/s
  • Data Transfer Rate : USB 2.0: ≧30MB/s
  • LED indicator for power and activity
  • OS Supported : Windows 2000, XP, Vista Mac OS X 10.4(*) Linux Kernal 2.4(*)
  • Dimension : 114×75.8x12mm(LxWxH)

External hard drives are targeted towards people who need more storage in addition to what they have available on their internal hard drive, or for backup in the event one drive fails. They are great for storing music or movies, or odd loading thousands of pictures onto; now that the average digital camera is capable of taking pictures that are 3-4MB in size.

Build and Design
The A-DATA NH92 looks very nice and compact when you compare it to some of the other models on the market. The external case is just slightly larger than the drive it encloses, making it as thin as possible. The design of the case also looks great, with an attractive circular brushed metal finish, and a thin strip of plastic trim following the perimeter of the drive. One thing I like is where they located the mini-USB port, right on the side of the back panel, allowing the case stay clean and symmetrical.

The case feels very strong and durable with very little flex when you squeeze the covers in on each side. After being tossed around in a backpack, carrying files between work and home for a week the case didn’t show much sign of wear. The brushed metal finish doesn’t show any fingerprints, and hides scratches very well. The drive sits perfectly flat on a desk surface, with little silicone feet which give it excellent traction. With just its own weight down, the feet prevent it from sliding around, even on some slanted surfaces.

For power and data the drive includes the standard mini-USB to two full-size USB style cable. This isn’t the most attractive option, but it seems to be the preferred option. We tested the drive using a single USB/data cable, and drive latency increased a noticeable amount through repeatable tests. So while it can work with a single cable, the dual cable has its reasons.

Performance and Benchmarks
The A-DATA NH92 is offered in two sizes, 250GB and 500GB, (4,500 and 9,000 hours of music) which gives you the space to store basically anything. Since my notebook’s hard drive is only 120GB, I can backup the entire system onto the drive, and still have space left over for images, tons of movies, and my entire music collection.

Performance from the drive is normal for a USB 2.0 hard drive. By limitation of the interface, USB hard drives max out at roughly 30MB/s transfer speed, much slower than even basic 5400rpm notebook drives can push out. While Firewire and eSATA are much faster, USB holds the title of being compatible with almost anything.

We measured the speed of the drive using the supplied two-pronged USB cable, and a spare single connector USB cable we had laying around. Using just a single power/data connection the drive was slightly slower than when using the supplied cable. Transfer speeds stayed roughly the same, but latency or access time was about 10% slower with the single cable. Average transfer speeds measured by HDTune was 29.5 and 29.3MB/s, pushing the upper limit of the USB interface. This was slightly faster than both the Iomega eGo and Western Digital My Passport.

250GB A-DATA NH92 with single USB

250GB A-DATA NH92 with dual USB

250GB A-DATA NH92 with single USB

250GB A-DATA NH92 with dual USB

In terms of real world performance, I was able to transfer a 7.95GB file from my notebook to the A-DATA external drive in 5 minutes and 44 seconds. A smaller 700MB file took 30 seconds to transfer.

Heat and Noise
Noise levels from the drive were close to nothing, with the only time that I ever heard a peep from it was when a poor connection through a docking station made the drive continuously click on and off. Through normal operation you can’t hear the drive spinning or head noise when it is actively accessing data. Some drives seem to be louder than others, where you can hear frequent clicking and other noise, but we didn’t find this to be the case with the NH92. Heat output was minimal, even after being plugged in and running for more than 4 hours. The temperature taken from the top of the drive was 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which was only 14 degrees warmer than room temperature.

The A-DATA NH92 is a sleek and compact external drive with good build quality and good performance. It is one of the thinnest drives on the market, measuring in at only 12mm thick, perfect for squeezing into a small travel bag or pocket. It is offered in 250GB and 500GB version, retailing for about $70 and $100 respectively. Build quality is very high, with a rugged feeling metal body and grippy feet which prevent it from sliding around on your desk.


  • Very small, fits inside a pocket easily
  • Good build quality
  • Excellent design


  • Still needs to use a dual USB cable for best speeds.



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