The big selling points that Freecom is looking to push with its XXS range of portable hard drives? Well, the clue’s in the title. Boasting that it’s the world’s smallest external 2.5in hard drive, the Mobile Drive XXS is certainly petite, considering the 750GB of data that it stores. Imagine a credit card, with an added 1cm frame, and you’re just about there.
Furthermore, there’s a welcome durability to the device. The XXS is cloaked in rubber, and happily survived being dropped from some regular height tables as part and parcel of our testing. It’s easy enough to remove the drive from its casing, though, and if you do, you’ll find a Samsung hard disk hidden within.
The drive spins at 5,400rpm, and has an 8MB cache. It’s hardly cutting-edge, even with the option to enable Turbo USB 2.0 speeds, courtesy of the software that’s included on the drive.
It’s a light piece of kit, that in lower capacities has been around a little while. For the more recent 750GB device, though, you pay a premium that means its not particularly competitive in terms of price per GB – especially as you can shop around and quite easily get a 1TB external drive for less money. But there’s a portability and convenience at the heart of the XXS that very much works in its favour.
The XXS is also an absolute breeze to get going. We did eventually refer to the sheet of instructions, just for clarity’s sake, but it’s a case of connecting the drive to a spare USB 2.0 port, with a short cable supplied, and that’s your lot. No external power source is required, although it’s advisable not to connect it via a USB hub, in case it can’t draw enough power.
The drive is formatted to default to FAT 32, and its working capacity under that format is 698GB. Performance-wise, it’s pretty firmly in the middle of the road. A 27MB file took just under three seconds to copy to the drive, which is fine for what the unit it supposed to do, but a long way off the potential top speed even of the now-superseded USB 2.0.
It’s still a solid device you’re getting here, though, and its simplicity is arguably its strength. You can pop it in you pocket, hook it up easily enough, and carry around a sizeable quantity of files. Freecom has been careful not to add unnecessary frills, and nobody can accuse it of doing so here. Yet this is still a solid and useful device, and a convenience one, too.
- Very portable, very simple to get going.
- You can get more £ per GB elsewhere.
Very portable, very flexible - but with slower USB 2.0 transfer speeds and a price tag premium it's not going to make the top of many people's wishlist.