When connected via USB the drive appears as a generic external disk. The USB interface averages 35MB/s throughput, or roughly 60% of its theoretical bandwidth. This is typical for USB 2.0 and on par with other hardware that use this transmission type.
Other than the cable connector, the eSATA interface is identical to internal SATA in specification and is expected to perform as well as any standard internal SATA drive would. Here we see it average 48MB/s which also matches previous benchmarks of this drive.
Just like the Thermaltake BlacX hard drive dock, the Sunbeamtech HDD Docking Station gives external storage devices a fresh new look. In addition to providing the same features as other drive enclosures, such as easy expansion and handy portability, the dock allows the user to quickly and easily switch between drives and even drive formats. Both 2.5" and 3.5" SATA drives are supported and the hot-swap capability allows the drive to be changed without powering the computer off.
There is arguably slightly more risk inherent in having the drive exposed if you plan to use the Docking Station for traveling or moving from computer to computer. While there's not much chance of the drive falling out while the base unit remains upright, there's also no latch or means to prevent the drive from coming out if the base is knocked over or dropped. In such instances, having a permanent, fixed case around the drive may be the only thing that saves it from damage and your data from irretrievable loss.
The Sunbeamtech HDD Docking Station retails for $39.99 which is exactly what you could expect to pay for the Thermaltake unit. So although it doesn't save you any money over the other brand it does offer Sunbeamtech name recognition and another product line for them to capitalize on.
The Sunbeamtech HDD Docking Station gets the OCIA.net Seal of Approval.