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LG XD4

LG XD4 500GB

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Review There's plenty to commend LG's XD4 external hard drive for: it looks good, it's reasonably quiet and it comes with some handy extras. It's not without its quirks, mind.

LG XD4

LG's XD4: behind the curve?

The 500GB XD4 we tested comes in a 185 x 122 x 36mm matte black shell with glossy rims - red and white versions are also available. Placed flat, the drive's sides are slightly concave, and the top and bottom are etched with tight, concentric circular grooves. It's cute, and while we prefer the solidity of the - admittedly a little larger - Samsung Story, we like the XD4 too. And LG pledges its "anti-hit" aluminium casing will guard against knocks and bumps.

LG bundles the drive with a stand, allowing the unit to be mounted vertically safe in the knowledge it won't be easily pushed over. In fact, there are no feet on the drive itself, suggesting that LG expects you to used the stand and not choose to place the XD4 horizontally.

The XD4's long sides have vent holes, in one of which the red disk activity light is cunningly placed. Perhaps too cleverly - we didn't notice it when we slotted the unpowered drive into the stand and placed it face down.

That's partly because we assumed the light would be on the face of the drive diametrically opposite the panel with all the ports. But no, like the XD2 external drive, the XD4's light is mounted near the business end. Presumably, LG reckons more people have the cables facing them than have the wiring tucked out of the way at the back. We think that might well be the case with a portable drive, but not necessarily with a desktop unit which, by dint of requiring its own mains power supply, is likely to be plugged in permanently.

And it also assumes users put the thing in the cradle the right way up. Ahem.

LG XD4

Make sure you dock it the right way up

To return to the stand, it has matching vent holes that you can align with those on the edge of the drive, though there's gap enough for airflow if you don't. The stand holds the drive snugly with four rubber pads, and while there are also rubber feet on the base of the stand, they don't lift the stand off the deck very much. Still, you can slide a sheet or two of paper under there and that's sufficient to allow air to flow in and up through the HDD. Certainly, we didn't notice it getting particularly hot during use.

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