OWC Express USB 2.0 Hard Drive Enclosure Review

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The OWC Express USB 2.0 hard drive enclosure is an exercise in minimalism. In the picture you see the two elements of the case; a mini-USB port and an activity LED. I received a silver model to review. The enclosures come in your choice of silver, white, or black.

When I recently upgraded my MacBook Pro I chose the previously reviewed OWC Mercury On-The-Go drive enclosure. I chose it because I wanted an enclosure that supported FireWire 800. I still use and like this drive. However, more often than not, what you really need is good solid drive enclosure without the bells and whistles, that is where this drive comes in.

What’s In The Box

The drive enclosure comes with:

  • The Enclosure
  • 2 Screws
  • USB cable
  • Slipcase
  • Manual


Assembly is straight forward. The bottom tray contains the connector and circuit board needed for the drive:

I had no problems sliding the drive into the connector. The construction is plastic, but I found the design to be very precise. The drive installs easily, but fits very snug:

Once installed, I put the cover on the drive. The top hinges on one end, and two screws mount through the case and the circuit board on the other.

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It all feels really solid when assembled. I have owned quite a few cheap enclosures, but this one does not feel cheap. This really surprised when I saw that it was all plastic.

The included case continues the minimalist bent. It fits snugly around the drive:

There is no wasted material in the case either, it is just long enough to fit the drive:

What I Like

I like the design of this enclosure, it is wonderfully small and efficient. Here it is stacked on my Mercury On-The-Go enclosure:

I also like the included case. Even though it is just a slip case, it doesn’t add much to the size, and should be sufficient to protect it in my computer bag. There was a time I would complain that there is no space for a USB cable, but that is now a standard part of my kit, I always have one in my bag, I don’t need every device to have its own cable.

What I Don’t Like

It’s plastic. I wish it was made out of more durable material, but it is not. However, would I pay more for something that wasn’t plastic. No. It is also only USB. I kind of like my FireWire drive now. However, life is about tradeoffs, and, in my opinion, this drive makes the most of its tradeoffs.


This is a great inexpensive enclosure if you are looking for a USB-only enclosure for a SATA drive. I will not hesitate to buy more of these in the future.


Product Information

Retailer:Other World Computing
  • USB 2.0 powered
  • Tight Fit
  • Ease of Assembly
  • Small size
  • Price
  • Plastic

8 thoughts on “OWC Express USB 2.0 Hard Drive Enclosure Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Just so you know for future, you can not use your on-the-go for daisy chaining. I found out after they would corrupt files if doing so, for lack of power apparently. So therefore I will never by from OWC again. Not worth it, especially if it has 2 fw800 ports.

  3. @Ryan S

    This is a review for a USB-only inexpensive hard disk enclosure. Is the confusion due to the size comparison of the Mercury On The Go drive I have near the end? Perhaps this comment would have fit better on the review for that device:


    Also, the MOTG drive does have and AC port. Not sure I would expect daisy-chained Firewire drives to work without additional power.


    Unless I am missing something, Ryan’s comments do not apply to this device.

  4. I am just talking about the poor lack of daisy chaining ability (that is very possible as it works fine with my other 10 external drives without power needed, as a video editor) performance of a dual fw port enclosure that OWC does sell. I do apologize for this is not the same product that you a reviewing, but people need to be made aware of personal experiences especially since I think that is the whole purpose of comments section.

  5. @Ryan

    1st thanks for the comments. That IS the purpose of the comment section. We do not know all, and I love the insight that other readers bring. For example, I LOVE the MOTG drive I have, but have never tried to daisy chain because I have no need. Your insight and perspective is a great add. I would still buy another in a heartbeat, since daisy-chaining is not one of my needs, but that is important information for some of our readers.

    BUT, I just wanted to make sure that it was understood that it did not apply to this product. This $20 USB drive enclosure works great.

  6. Ryan will never by from OWC again because he can’t daisy chain these drives? Pretty extreme there. How about actually reading the specs on OWC’s website? Perhaps purchase the Elite-AL Pro mini which can be daisy chained? Of course that may be way more work than just complaining.

  7. Glad to hear our Express enclosure “works great”.

    Addressing Ryan S and our Mercury On The Go…they most certainly can be daisy chained without a problem, but it is generally recommended that when chaining more than one BUS POWERED device you should utilize external power. The On The Go is arguably one of the best selling portable drives on the market and we have not heard of one instance where daisy chaining this drive corrupted data. The only thing that should have happened would be that the drive would not spin up.

    External drives do place a good deal of power consumption on a bus and often wont run even off a powered hub if that hub has other devices drawing power from it too. And power output via bus can vary from machine to machine…that’s why we and others offer a “Y” cable so you can get power from two ports and then connect to a bus powered device.

    Unfortunate to hear of your experience…but it is very isolated and we believe the data issue is related to another cause.

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