I tested the Z1 enclosure by transferring data back and forth between the enclosure and the hard drive in my main computer. When I first connected the drive, my computer did not automatically recognize it. I had to go into Disk Management (right-click My Computer, Manage, Storage, Disk Management) and initialize the drive, but everything worked like a charm after this. I tried both USB and eSATA interfaces and had no problem reading or writing under either connection.
I decided not to run any speed tests on this enclosure, an idea I recently adopted because for the most part, your read/write speeds depend on the type(s) of hard drive(s) used when testing, both in the enclosure and the source/target computer. I used an 80GB Western Digital 7200RPM drive in the enclosure, but my main computer uses two Seagate 400GB 7200RPM drives in RAID 0.
At the end of the day, the Z1 Series External Enclosure did really well and I was impressed with its ease of use and overall aesthetics and performance. This is one of the "flashier" enclosures that I have reviewed recently, which is not a bad thing. The entire external surface of the enclosure is shiny, from the gloss black paint job down to the chrome mirror-like accents. The enclosure was easy to operate, requiring that you only remove two screws to open it. Some people may prefer tool-less enclosures, while others prefer the secure and sturdy peace of mind that screws bring to the table (ex: you don't have to worry about the drive sliding out during transport). The front Z1 logo lights up blue when powered on.
I only found two real negatives with this enclosure. First, on the rear bezel, the plastic cover was peeling back a bit on this sample. Hopefully this is an isolated event. Also, with an eSATA port, the inclusion of an eSATA adapter for your computer would have really been nice to have. Most people don't have this port on their motherboard nor do they have a PCI bracket adapter.
As of writing, the Kingwin Z1 Series SATA External HDD Enclosure retails for right at $30.00 USD at a popular online reseller.
Thanks to Kingwin for supplying us with this review sample.