The StarTech Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock's closest rival, the Lindy USB 3.0 Docking & Cloning Station, gets a lot of things right. However, there is no denying that it's certainly not portable, taking up plenty of room on your desk.
At first glances this doesn't appear to be a problem with the Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock. Taking it out of the box it is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It's light and it even has the word 'portable' in its name.
However, as you dig a little further into the box you discover that all is not quite what it seems – the Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock comes with a power lead and transformer that's almost twice the size and weight of the actual unit.
The mains power lead's a surprise that undermines its claim to portability, and if you were to buy this device thinking it was a tiny thing you could carry around in your pocket, then you're going to rightfully feel misled.
It's a shame, because on the whole this is a decent device that enables you to quickly plug in an internal hard drive to turn it into an external one.
Due to the design of the device, the hard drive isn't protected or reinforced, so you need to take care where you use it, and the connections could easily be snapped off if you move the hard drive.
It's not USB 3.0 either – for faster speeds you're going to need to connect it via eSATA. Thankfully an eSATA cable is included – a lot of devices neglect to include one – and a lot of computers have an eSATA port – although they are falling out of favour.
Cloning one hard drive onto another is very simple, and like the Lindy USB 3.0 Docking & Clone Station doesn't require it to be plugged into a PC. Just connect the two hard drives up and click the 'Start' button. Unlike its competitor it has a handy series of LEDs that let you know how the process is progressing.