Introduction and Packaging
5-bay replacement for the 4-bay Drobo
The Drobo 5D launched a few years ago and continues to be a pricey solution, running close to $600. This was due to added complexity with its mSATA hot data cache and other features that drove the price higher than some potential buyers were happy with. Sure the cache was nice, but many photographers and videographers edit their content on a faster internal SSD and only shift their media to their external storage in bulk sequential file copies. These users don’t necessarily need a caching tier built into their mass storage device – as they just want good straight-line speed to offload their data as fast as possible.
With new management and a renewed purpose with a focus on getting lower cost yet performant products out there, Drobo relaunched their base 4-bay product in a third-generation form. We tested that unit back in December of 2014, and its performance was outstanding for a unit that typically runs in the mid-$200 price range. The price and performance were great, but things were a bit tight when trying to use Dual Disk Redundancy while limited to only four installed drives. A fifth bay would have certainly been handy, as would USB-C connectivity, which brings me to the subject of today’s review:
I present to you the Drobo 5C. Essentially a 5-bay replacement to the 4-bay 3rd gen Drobo. This will become the new base model Drobo, meaning there will no longer be any 4-bay models in Drobo's product lineup:
The Drobo unboxing experience is always dead simple. Double boxing, solid packaging, simple instructions.
Included are the Drobo 5C, power supply and cabling, and…
…a USB Type-A to Type-C cable. Since most systems still have their USB 3 connectivity via a Type-A connector, the 5C comes with a Type-C to Type-A cable. Type-C to Type-C cables can be purchased separately, and since the connection is data-only, there’s no need to worry about melty cables. Note that there is usually a quick start instruction card in the box, but our unit came to us before these were finalized.