[Review] Data Robotics Drobo

Written by Matthew   //

January 4, 2023   //



Finally, I feel ready to give you guys a complete review of my Drobo. I have had it for a month now with no issues. Data Robotics offers several different storage options from every type of consumer. If you’re a media buff or a data administrator you will find the Drobo units “Simple, Scalable, and Reliable” The unit that I am reviewing for you guys today is the basic Drobo unit. This isn’t the Drobo “S” model that allows network share connectivity. The entry level Drobo is mainly a desktop primary storage and backup unit. This is only because the unit can only be plugged in via USB 2.0 and Firewire 800.

Overview and Features

This Drobo unit will set you back about $399 without any drives. Additional drives can be bundled or purchased separately just about anywhere. You can pick up 2TB HD for around $79 now. Drobo is short for data robot and it definitely lives up to the name. The combination of the hardware/software included with the Drobo unit gives you unbelievable protection. The 4 empty bays can be loaded with a hard drive in seconds. It’s so easy, a caveman can do it. The Drobo monitoring software can notify you of drive failures, salvage and rebuild your data. If you need to upgrade or increase your existing drives, just replace them. It’s as simple as that.

The Drobo’s all-black body helps it blend it well to any setup. The top is a matte black and the sides are a glossy piano black. The connection ports for the USB, Firewire and Power ports are located in the back at. For a four-bay enclosure you would think that the size would overwhelm your desk. Not the case here. The front panel attaches via a magnet and allows simple access. Each bay can accept a hard drive of any capacity from any vendor, as long as it’s a 3.5-inch SATA 1- or SATA 2-type drive. On the right side of the front panel are four LEDs-one for each drive bay-that shine or blink green, yellow, or red to indicate the status of each drive. The included user guide offers a full explanation of the light patterns, as does a sticker on the inside of the front pane


• FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 compatible)

• Enhanced USB 2.0 performance

• Quieter, cooler operation

• Redundant data protection

• Hot expandable up to 16TB

• The ability to take advantage of mix and match drive capacities

• SATA I or SATA II hard disk drives (Full or half-height)

• No carriers required

• Choose the drive manufacturer, capacity (mixed capacities ok),

and spindle speed or cache that fits your current storage need


My setup includes an Apple Mac Mini 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB of DDR3 and a Intel 60GB SSD. The Drobo was connected via an In the Drobo unit I have two 1.5TB hard drives loaded. Time machine runs on the hour and backs up in minutes. Since the drives are RAID (paired to match data), the Drobo unit does an additional backup just in case of a drive failure. The Drobo unit is able to support up to 16TB but they don’t make 4TB HD yet. If they did, I am sure they would cost more than the Drobo unit itself. Drobo utilizes the revolutionary BeyondRAID storage technology so as long as you have two or more HD installed. Your data is backed up.

Moving data to and from the HDs installed on the Drobo was quick and effortless. In a completely quiet setting you can barely hear the HDs move inside the Drobo enclosure. I consider myself tech savy. I have worked in tech support for many years and have been around computers since I can remember. Drobo was almost too easy for me to use. I know that sounds weird but it really is very simple. Initial setup took me about 15 minutes max and I didn’t even need to look at the instructions. Everything is tool less and the hard drives mount without racks or adapters.

Bottom Line

The Drobo is Not for everyone, then, and if your looking for a scalable and reliable system for all your data. Then it is. Seagate, Western Digital and Maxtor all offer backup software with their external media. However, non are scalable and you can’t buy multiple ones to work in harmony. If you are looking for a reliable local backup and you’d rather spend your time working with files than wrangling the system that backs them up, then the Data Robotics Drobo needs to be in your setup

Unboxing Video

Check out The Data Robotics website


data robotics



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