The SUNBEAMTECH Airbox USB3.0 3.5″ External Enclosure performs head and shoulders over the previous generation of USB2 enclosures! I suppose that is to be expected since USB3.0 offers ten times the bandwidth of USB2. USB2 was limited to 480Mb/s and USB3.0 offers a massive 5Gb/s, so the performance gains we saw here today are nothing short of expected. I will admit though, knowing the speed that USB3.0 offers I was still pleasantly surprised. I was surprised as to how well the SUNBEAMTECH Airbox USB3.0 3.5″ External Enclosure performed when compared to the same drive being attached via the SATA port on the test system.
Performance aside, of which there was plenty, the SUNBEAMTECH Airbox USB3.0 3.5″ External Enclosure is an all around solid piece of hardware. It has a very clean and appealing look that will look great on your desk or next to your HTPC. If you plan on using the Airbox USB3.0 3.5″ External Enclosure with your HTPC keep in mind the blue LED on the front panel. While it’s not the brightest LED that I have ever come across, I could see it being a distraction while sitting in the dark and watching a movie. Although if that is the only feature holding you back, it can be remedied rather easily. If you are comfortable with electronics you can most likely remove the light altogether. The other option is a small strip of black electrical tape to cover it up (that’s the same way I get rid of the pesky Check Engine Light in my truck).
When it comes to pricing the SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 external enclosure retails for $55.99 shipped from Newegg. The same SunbeamTech Airbox external enclosure with USB 2.0 and eSATA connections sells for $41.55 shipped from Newegg. For an extra $14.44 (34%) you get an enclosure that is ready for Super Speed USB 3.0. You just saw the performance gap between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 was more than double in our real worl file transfer test, so the extra cost seems well worth it and justified.
As I stated earlier in the article the only feature I would change about the SUNBEAMTECH Airbox USB3.0 3.5″ External Enclosure is the USB3.0 cable length. The USB3.0 cable was long enough for testing purposes and it was able to sit on my desk for some general usage, though I did have to do a little bit of rearranging to position it so the cable would reach. A six foot cable would have been an easier length to use. It is easy enough to pick up a longer USB3.0 cable at your local e-tailor for a few bucks.
Legit Bottom Line: A clean look is important for something that sits on your desk day after day; more important, though, is performance. The SUNBEAMTECH Airbox USB3.0 3.5″ External Enclosure meets both of those requirements head on, and does it for a mere $55.99!