Akitio Neutrino U3+ USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 Enclosure Review

If you’ve ever upgraded your laptop’s hard drive, you may have a 2.5 inch hard drive laying around. You can easily put that extra drive to use by converting it to a fully capable portable hard drive. Hard drive enclosures are nothing new, but the Akiti takes it to the next level with the Neutrino U3+ 2.5″ SATA enclosure, offering USB 3.0 and Firewire 800 speeds in a protective aluminum enclosure.

What’s in the Box:
-Neutrino Enclosure (No HDD included)
-USB 3.0 Short Cable
-FireWire 800 Cable
-Power Adapter with 4 Adapters
-Screws and Rubber Feet

Hard drive enclosures have been out for years, and good thing too, because they really serve their purpose. It’s the easiest way to make the most of an hard drive. It’s also a great way to transition from one hard drive to another.

The Akiti Neutrino U3+ is a hard drive enclosure for 2.5″ (laptop-sized) drives. It has a very industrial look that would look nice next to a Mac Pro. It’s built of a real aluminum housing that uses a large heatsink for passive cooling (no fans). It’s easy enough to turn any 2.5″ drive into a portable USB/Firewire hard drive. All it requires is a bit of light screwdriving.

There are two pieces to the Neutrino U3+: the internal, and the external. After unscrewing four little screws on the bottom of U3+, the internal piece slides out. The internal piece houses any 2.5″ SATA hard drive by sliding it into the SATA port and mounting it with screws. That is all there really is to it. Once you seal Neutrino back up, you can stick rubber feet on top of the screw heads.

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As an actual portable hard drive, the Neutrino U3+ is on the heavy side, but pretty solid. It’s not as slim or light as most portable hard drives, but it’s definitely a lot more durable. There are four ports and an activity light. It comes with an AC power adapter (with different country adapters), but in many cases, USB/FireWire power will suffice. It depends on the drive, and the computer’s USB bus power.

The drive will basically work on any computer with USB or Firewire. A USB 3.0 compatible computer can provide speeds up to 10 times as fast as USB 2.0. With USB 3.0, it’s almost as fast as actually installing the drive inside your computer. This means a Mac user can boot their OS off of the external Neutrino U3+ hard drive without sacrificing speed and performance. Firewire 800 is backward compatible with Firewire 400, as USB 3.0 is with USB 2.0.

All in all, the Neutrino U3+ is a tough enclosure that allows you to get the most speed possible out of an old or unused 2.5″ hard drive. It’s easy enough for anyone to set up themselves. Our only real criticism is it took a little too much pressure to insert and remove the inner enclosure from the outer shell. The Akitio Neutrio U3+ is currently available from Amazon.com for $79.00. Considering you can purchase an external portable USB 3.0 hard drive for this price, it’s a tad pricey.

The Good: Durable, Setup not Difficult, Fast, USB 3.0/Firewire 800 & Backward Compatible, Mac & PC Compatible
The Bad: Heavy, USB Cable is too Short, Requires Screwdriving, Pricey, Inner Enclosure Doesn’t Slide Smoothly in/out of External Shell

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