Macally PHR-180A

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Macally PHR-180A
(for 1.8" HDD)
August 21, 2006

Since my last few reviews of products by macally they have added many more exciting and modern peripherals, as well additional external enclosures. Be sure to check out their website and browse through their different offerings of a vast assortment of peripherals for your computer system.

The macally PHR-180A

The PHR-180A is the smallest external enclosure yet, which supports the new 1.8" hard drives. These drives are manufactured by Hitachi and Toshiba which are becoming more available. 1.8" hard drives are said to eventually replace the 2.5" drives in laptops but for now, I would tend to say 2.5" and 1.8" drives are coexisting at present with a future that has yet to be determined. In any case, if you're looking for something even smaller than a 2.5" form factor, a 1.8" drive is currently the smallest and most portable way to transport your data.

PHR-180A Features

  • Aluminum housing for heat dissipation
  • Very slim form factor for portability
  • Supports Plug And Play
  • Designed for the new 1.8" hard drives with PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording)
  • LED provides data transfer status
  • USB2.0 (USB1.1)
  • Compatible with Mac or PC
  • USB powered--No AC adapter required
  • MSRP: $19.99
Installation Of 1.8" HDD With PHR-180A

Unfortunately, Hitachi nor Toshiba could provide a 1.8" drive for DigitalDingus to sample. Regardless of being minus a 1.8" drive, installation of a 1.8" HDD is not much different than any other external enclosure installation. When you receive the PHR-180A, do take note the two very small screws which will be used to finalize the enclosure, are included in a separate little bag, located with the USB2.0 cables.

Here's a brief summary of how to install a 1.8" HDD on the macally PHR-180A:

  • Remove back panel from the enclosure
  • Align the pins on the interface with the 1.8" hard drive and connect them together
  • Slide the 1.8" drive and the back panel interface into the enclosure
  • Be sure the two holes for the screws are aligned for proper adjustment and screwing down
  • Secure the back panel interface with the two screws, making sure not to over-tighten the enclosure.
macally PHR-180A Images

The following are images taken of the PHR-180A 1.8" HDD enclosure and accessories.

The Back Of The macally PHR-180A

macally PHR-180A Interface

The macally PHR-180A Box Opened

macally PHR-180A Accessories



  • The smallest form factor supporting the largest capacity in its class for very portable storage
  • Aluminum casing for good heat dissipation
  • USB-powered, requiring no external power source other than the computer you're hooking the PHR-180A up to
  • USB2.0 for fast data speeds
  • Very affordable
  • None observed
  • No LED status on the front of the unit?
  • Two free USB slots must be present
The PHR-180A is a very compact enclosure which supports capacities currently up to 80GB (but they are extremely expensive). The enclosure itself is under $20, which makes it easily affordable to convert a 1.8" drive into an external drive.

I did have one observation with the PHR-180A. There is no LED status on the front of the unit. Only the back has the LED. Depending on how you want the enclosure positioned, the back of the unit could be facing the front, but I'm not sure why a person would want the cords showing from the front. I categorize this as an observation because I have no way of verifying if the LED from the back actually reflects to the front of the enclosure, without using a 1.8" myself. So, we'll leave it at that. Maybe one of these days, Hitachi or Toshiba can ship me a 1.8" HDD.


I also have another observation. Since there is no AC adapter required to power the PHR-180A, another USB slot must be free to use for the power. Most notebooks have two USB ports but you may find yourself choosing which device to use. An alternative would be to purchase a USB Hub for notebooks. Since the PHR-180A is meant to be an external portable data storage option, it is more than likely it will be the only connected device to your notebook at that particular time.

Macally includes a mini-CD with drivers and manuals for several of their enclosures. I highly recommend you read the user manual for the PHR-180A on this cd as it it very well written and has color images of installation.

Due to the enclosure being so small, it's difficult to compare it directly to 3.5" enclosures which have much more components and materials, but the PHR-180A still appears to have the same ruggedness as its other bigger brother enclosures. And regardless of the LED observation and the two USB slots required, macally's PHR-180A gets an HR from me. It seems built to last, just like their other enclosures. As stated earlier, be sure to go to macally's website and browse their extensive product line-up for 2006.

Home Reviews Forums News 2015 2013 2012 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
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Articles Archived Websites (Pre-DigitalDingus): D100 Lounge E-10 Club | Contact