mBack review: Hard drive cleverly hides behind your iMac

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder mBack

    Macworld Rating

    For owners of iMacs and Apple displays, the mBack hard drive is perfectly suited for use for Time Machine backups.

The mBack by mLogic is an external hard drive that stays out of sight while providing the peace of mind that comes with a safely backed-up Mac. If you own a 2009 to current iMac or Apple display, you can the attach the mBack to the two-inch hole cut into the back of the stand.

A notch at the bottom of the mBack allows you to run the iMac or display’s power cable through the same hole, and a short USB 3.0 cable included in the box reaches from the drive to one of the USB ports on the rear of the iMac or display.

The mBack’s design is undeniably clever, but the installation process is just cumbersome enough that it makes more sense to think of this drive as a permanently-attached backup device rather than a portable hard drive.

The white and aluminum mBack comes in three capacities, all using 5400 rpm hard drives: a 500GB model costs $99, the 1TB version that we tested costs $149, and a 2TB mBack costs $259.

In this era of solid-state drives, the speed of the mBack is downright pokey. While we’ve seen USB 3.0 drives with flash storage deliver read and write speeds in the 450 MBps range, the mBack’s results were about one-third of that, never topping 117 MBps in our tests. That said, the mBack’s speeds are more than sufficient fo ra drive being used primarily as a backup device.

Bottom line

For owners of iMacs and Apple displays, the mBack hard drive is perfectly suited for use for Time Machine backups. The mBack isn’t exactly portable, nor is it speedy, but its large capacity and clever out-of-sight design make for an attractive drive for backups.

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    For owners of iMacs and Apple displays, the mBack hard drive is perfectly suited for use for Time Machine backups.

    Pros

    • Clever use of hole in back of iMac and Apple displays
    • Bus-powered

    Cons

    • 5400-rpm drives deliver sluggish data transfer speeds
    • Not easily removable
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