Sony PSZ-HC1T USB 3.1 Gen 1 hard drive: A stylish and rugged portable storage workhorse

With a stylish rubber covering and captive USB cable, this portable drive is designed to stand up to the rigors of the workplace and frequent transport.

The Sony PSZ-HC1T quickly became one of my favorite external hard drives to use around the lab. Why? Because it’s rugged and has a captive USB cable. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve held my breath after accidentally banging a drive, or every second I’ve wasted hunting down a cable, I’d be a rich man. 

Speaking of everyone’s relative financial status, those perks do cost you a bit—at around $110, the PSZ-HC1T sells for $50 more than most 1TB external USB 3.1 drives. Still, if you’re prone to being rough on your equipment, consider that it’s still cheaper than replacing a less sturdy unit.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best external drives. Go there for information about other competing products and how we tested them, plus our top picks. 

Design and features

The PSZ-HC1T is larger and heavier than the average 2.5-inch external hard drive, measuring approximately 6.6 x 4 x 1.2 inches and weighing 13.5 ounces. That’s due in part to the heavy-duty rubberized jacket, as well as the captive USB cable with its Type-A connector, but there’s undoubtedly some internal shock absorption.

Along with the the captive cable, there’s also a USB Type-C port hidden beneath a captive rubber plug. The PSZ-HC1T is not waterproof, but the jacket and plug will certainly help ward off problems caused by spilled beverages, etc. 

pszhc2t front Sony

The PSZ-HC1T (or HC2T, the 2TB model, shown here) have a shock-absorbing rubber jacket and a captive USB type A cable.

The PSZ-HC1T ships inside a large protective plastic case that provides additional protecting when transporting or shipping the drive. Artistic types who are transferring projects to studios or post-production facilities will certainly appreciate that. So will backup experts. The list goes on. Kudos to Sony for even thinking about that. The company calls this a Pro drive, and it means it.

psz hc1t hr case Sony

The PSZ-HC1T ships with a heavy-duty plastic container that’s suitable for mailing or other iffy modes of transport.

The PSZ-HC is available in two capacities, the second being a 2TB drive, the PSZ-HC2T. While the 1TB version I tested was going for $110 on Amazon, the 2TB was going for a little under $130. The math on that screams “Buy the 2TB!”

Because the PSZ-HC1T is a pro product, I was hoping for a five-year warranty rather than the three-year warranty it has. Three years is standard for portable hard drives, but this isn’t just any portable hard drive.  

Performance

Sony claims a transfer rate of 138MBps on the PSZ-HC1T’s box, and that’s almost exactly what I saw during testing. Of course, that’s also just about what you’d get from any 2.5-inch hard drive in a USB 3.1 Gen 1, 5Gbps enclosure. Color me not-surprised, though with the emphasis on ruggedization for this product, you never know.

The PSZ-HC1T posted decently fast performance results for a USB hard drive, close enough to the best that you’ll never notice the difference without using synthetic benchmarks, speaking of which...

sony cdm 6 IDG

Though not the fastest external USB 3.1 Gen 2 hard drive we’ve tested, the PSZ-HC1T (blue bars) is certainly competitive. Longer bars are better. The Samsung T5 is an SSD, hence the much faster performance.

The Samsung T5 is a USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) SSD, included on the charts to illustrate just how much faster such a beast is. Lacking moving parts, it’s also quite rugged, though the cost per gigabyte is much higher.

sony as ssd IDG

AS SSD 2.0 related the same story as CrystalDiskMark, very good, but not outstanding performance. Longer bars are better.

Note that the G-Technologies G-Drive mobile USB-C, which is a slim drive and not ruggedized, did prove a bit faster in our copy tests than the PSZ-HC1T. However, the PSZ-HC1T was also formatted in exFAT for cross-platform compatibility. You’ll get much quicker small file performance if you format it to NTFS. In my home systems (including two Macs), it do this and use Paragon’s NTFS for Mac to enable writing with macOS.

sony 48gb IDG

The PSZ-HC1T was faster writing our single 48GB test file, but otherwise proved a bit slower than the G-Drive mobile USB-C—a non-ruggedized product. 

In general, the PSZ-HC1T is more than fast enough for its intended role. You could get picky, but it’s not so far off the pace that I’d sweat the difference. 

Conclusion

The PSZ-HC1T is a decent performer, but it’s the drive’s relatively high tolerance for abuse, its handy captive cable, and its robust shipping box that make it noteworthy. Little usability perks like those go a long way toward user satisfaction, even given that you’re paying more. As I said, it’s the hard drive I’m currently using around the lab.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon L. Jacobi

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?