by Paul Mah

New Drobo Mini Storage Unit Holds 4 Drives, Supports Thunderbolt and USB 3.0

Jun 22, 20122 mins
Computers and PeripheralsLaptops

The brand new Drobo Mini is storage geek's dream. The powerful portable storage array has four drive bays, and it comes with Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports. Unfotunately, it won't come cheap when it's released later this summer.

Drobo yesterday took the wraps off the Drobo Mini, a new, small four-bay direct-attached storage device that uses the same BeyondRAID technology as other larger Drobos. The Drobo Mini fits four 2.5-inch drives, and each drive can be configured for either single or dual-drive redundancy. And the housing is made of light-weight, metallic-carbon fiber with a soft-touch rubberized finish. The unit weighs just 3 pounds (1.36kg) when filled with disk drives. 


The Drobo Mini comes with twoThunderbolt ports and one USB 3.0 port.

Drobo Mini is 7.3 inches (187.2mm) by 1.8 inches (44.6mm), with a depth of 7.1-inches (180mm). It uses an all new architecture that provides performance up to fives times faster than comparable storage arrays, and it a mSATA solid-state drive (SSD) can be fit into the Drobo Mini for automatic data acceleration. Two Thunderbolt ports let you easily connect the unit to other Thunderbolt devices, and its sole USB 3.0 port is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices.

The four hot-swappable bays fit with no carrier units or screws; the new design lets drives to click in and out “like a ballpoint pen,” according to Drobo. Designed with portability in mind, the Drobo Mini includes a built-in battery that protects data stored in the memory or the cache during power outages. An optional Drobo Mini Carrying Case is also available.


Installing a new HDD into the Drobo Mini.

Drobo says the Drobo Mini is the smallest and most portable full-featured storage array on the market. Though I haven’t had the chance to test one out for myself, the technical specifications are impressive. It supports four hard disk drives (HDD) or solid-state drives (SSD). And it’s clearly much more powerful than the G-RAID Mini that I reviewed in May. 

The Drobo Mini could be perfect for users who need to work with large amounts of data when on the move. Release details are expected to be announced in July, and the Drobo Mini should cost less than $650 with a Thunderbolt cable.

I already requested to review the Drobo Mini as soon as the company is ready to release it, so check my Gadget Navigator blog in a couple of weeks for an evaluation.