All these one off reviews are a lot of fun. I get a random item in the mail and spend a few days researching and testing the thing. I haven’t the weeks that I put into the product lines for market research and tech research, but I get a good idea of what is required of the product in question. In this case I got a Unitek brand Hard drive dock station. Beyond extending the number of sata drive we can use at once, this thing can also clone drives, and for me that was the key selling point.
This is not the only HDD cloner that Unitek sell, they offer very similar models in a variety of muted colors. Wish I had been given the option of which one I got to be honest, seen as my computer is white, and that lovely Fast charger system OXA sent me matches it as well, but I got the grey one, not a huge deal, but for some getting matching gear is important. I keep referring to it as a HDD cloner, but that ignores the fact that the product fits both HDDs and SSDs. SSDs are becoming increasingly affordable in all capacities, and it won’t be too long before the classic HDD is phased out entirely, so this is a nice touch.
The only problem I can find with the build is the size. The thing is pretty massive. It’s the dual slots I think. I get that some folk might want to clone a drive separate from their rig, but seen as you are going to be using the rig to activate it regardless then the additional bay seems a touch unnecessary. When looked at as simply another drive bay, to access the data rather than for making back ups, then having two extra drives rather than one is probably a good thing, though i am certain there are better solutions out there for those who only care about expanding their storage.
Now, before we move onto the review proper it is good to get a little background about who we are buying from. Unitek are not an unknown name in the field of electronics, but still, let’s see who they are.
This was harder than it really needed to be. The firm has little in the way of an online presence beyond their storefront. It means that what we are seeing here is a dropshipping storefront. Crafting that correctly is no easy task, and requires a fair amount of research on the side of the owner. A look through their product lines tells mes that they know what they are doing. the products are cohesive, and create a singular vision for the firm. Specializing in inexpensive computer hardware. They are selling product, which is good, and the build quality of this particular one is high enough, in this price point that is a rarity.
The really important thing is their status as an Amazon FBA. It means that when you buy you know for a fact that you are safe. They offer a generous 2 year warranty, but the real value is the consumer protections offered by Amazon.com. They have some of the best policies on the market.
UNITEK USB 3.0 HDD Docking Station Design and Build Quality
This Unitek build looks great, brushed aluminum is in vogue after all. It seems like so many others that they are aping the anesthetic of the Apple line of products, and it is a smart move. There is not much that you can do to make it look less like a toaster though. When you get the drives in there the effect is more akin to a late eighties console, which I actually found endearing. The use of aluminum in the construction makes it feel very sturdy, light enough to easily move, but heavy enough to inform on the quality of the build. The fit of the parts on mine is good, and I have to assume that that holds true across the range, but be careful, I am no stranger to cheap Chinese electronics. For the most part they are great, but every so often something less than stellar comes down the pipeline.
Using the thing is easy. Just plug it all in and hit the button. My computer understood what was plugged in straight away, but I imagine of you are using other operating systems you will need to install drivers for it. That only really applies to Linux users though. I tested the build out as an access drive for both a HDD and an SSD. I was able to access and transfer files with speed on the fly, which was nice. The use of USB 3.0 really increases the utility of the build, as the transfer speeds of USB 3.0 are far closer to Sata III’s speeds.
When it comes to the cloning, there are a few issues. Well, there is one issue, but for some it’s a huge one. you cannot clone a drive to a drive of equal size. If you have a 1TB drive and you want to clone it you need a large drive to transfer it to. Once you get past that thew rate of transfer is very high. You hit the button and it really sprints though the process. I was able to clone my OS drive, a small 128GB SSD, to a partition on my HDD in around thirty minutes, which is remarkably fast. The key thing to think about when buying a drive cloner is the price, and moving forward you will see that this model is very affordable.
Far from the most impressive piece of tech on the market, but it sets out to do two things, provide a way of extending drive bays for portability and allow you to clone drives easily. The Unitek 3.0 docking station does both of those amazingly well. the look is wonderful too, and with the variety of styles to choose from you are sure to get a piece of tech that matches your set up. So let’s move onto the pricing and warranty, see if Unitek can hit that home run.
UNITEK USB 3.0 HDD Docking Station Pricing and Warranty
Now we come to the price, and I was surprised by the affordability of this one. I have seen products that offer the same features, and even the same aesthetic, for well over $50, sometimes going as high as $100. The price on this one seems to fluctuate a bit but if you can get it for under $50 it’s a great time to pull the trigger. To see the current price with all the discounts automatically applied click here.
The warranty is a strong point with this docking station. We are looking at a 2 year limited warranty. Limited in this context means factory faults only, no accident coverage. I feel like if any device breaks within 2 years of normal day to day use then it automatically a factory fault, and have used that argument several times. Never once has it gone smoothly, I always have to press the issue, but I tend to end up with a favorable result. The benefit to buying from and Amazon FBA is that you get access to the consumer protections offered by Amazon as standard, and they have some of the best consumer policies in the business.
I like the price. I didn’t know what was the standard going rate for this kind of thing until a few days ago, and I will be the first to admit that there are several on the market that are comparable to this one. Unfortunately this is not a product line review, so I have no idea how they functions when compared to the Unitek one. I can only say that this one works, and it is well priced. The fact that stand behind their product with a 2 year warranty (when the industry standard is only a single year) is a strong sign of quality.
UNITEK USB 3.0 HDD Docking Station Conclusion
The Unitek USB 3.0 HDD docking station is a well put together product. I tend to buy a lot of inexpensive electronics from China, and never once have I had any great issue with any of them. The look of the build is great, and there are options available if you need them. The feel of the build is great, a nice sturdy design, that is still light enough to move. It might be a little cumbersome, a large build, but that is a minor issue. If you need something compact get ready to spend four times as much on your HDD dock. The price here is nice and low with a strong warranty behind it, really checks all the boxes of a quality product.
If you are in the market for a cheap cloner then this is a great option.
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