With the SSD market booming, I was on the lookout for a unit which would facilitate hard disk cloning and data migration. The Inateck grabbed my attention due to the fact that it also doubles as a docking (hot swap) station.
• Pros: Does what it says on the tin
• Cons: Offline cloning mode needs to be monitored, as the drives keep spinning even after the cloning process is complete... futher information in review.
Summary: After reading some concerning reviews regarding HDD heating/overheating I decided to run and see the results for myself. I tested the worse case scenario, cloning a full 2 TB hard disc using sector by sector clone in offline mode (drives keep on spinning) for 2 hours. To the touch the drives were getting hotter, yet logging temperature results using a Fluke meter revealed that the max temp of 49 degrees C peaked after 45 mins and remained steady for the remaining 75 mins. Electronic components are designed to handle much higher temperatures, so IMHO this should not be much of a concern. What really concerns me is leaving the hard drives attached and powered in "Offline" mode, which could cause unnecessary wear due to continuous spinning of the drives.
When the unit is used as a docking station (connected to a computer) the drive enters sleep mode if it is not accessed for a matter of a couple of minutes. When in sleep mode the drive's temperature does not increase, in fact the temperature returns to normal room temperature. (Tested on Windows 7, yet I will be testing this on Vista too should I have any requests).
Conclusion: The unit itself looks quite plasticky, yet it gets the job done. Insertion of hard drives is easy and straight forward. Moving the base unit while hard drives are connected (not recommended) does not cause the hard drives to disconnect, even though these could tilt forward or backward. This is due to the sturdy SATA connectors. There is no need to install any software to read files from the inserted drives, and hot swapping of drives does not result in errors (unless of course files are being transfered).
This unit has exceeded my expectations. The Inateck performs flawlessly, and in the few days of ownership I have cloned drives offline and copied thousands of files in online mode. I highly recommend this product.
Update 6th March 2015: I have this unit permanently connected to my computer and still use it on a regular basis. The Inateck is a consistent solid performer, and I am very satisfied with this purchase.