LaCie – PocketDrive CD-RW review

portable USB 2.0 and FireWire CD-RW drive
Photo of LaCie – PocketDrive CD-RW
£149 + VAT

The PocketDrive CD-RW is, as the name suggests, a small, external CD-RW drive. The drive module itself is a notebook-style unit rather than a full-sized ATAPI model, and it is just about pocketable as long as you have big pockets; say in an overcoat. It has the advantage that it can be used on both PCs and Macs and is small enough to easily transport, although there is also a small external power supply to take into consideration.

The blue silicone covering is designed to save the drive from knocks and bumps as it is moved around, as its portability is the whole point of its existence. The PocketDrive CD-RW is rated as 24x write, 10x re-write and 24x read, which is fairly slow by modern standards, but you can burn a full CD in about 10 minutes which is quite acceptable.

Both USB 2.0 and FireWire (IEEE1934) interfaces are fitted to the drive. There is another, cheaper, model that only has FireWire and no USB. That reflects the fact the FireWire has always been suitable for external drives while USB was pretty hopeless with the original version 1.1 and only came good with the move to version 2.0 that can run up to 40 times faster than the original. The latter is available on most new PCs, and in fact most PCs sold in the past couple of years.

Although you can use this drive with an older PC and USB 1.1, you’ll be lucky to achieve 4x write, 4x re-write and 6x read speeds, which means you’re looking at something approaching half an hour to burn a full CD. For minimum hassle use Windows 98SE or later with either USB 2.0 or FireWire. Mac users will want to be running OS 8.6 or later.

La Cie supplies both USB and FireWire cables, plus Toast v5.1.3L and EasyCD Creator v5.3 writing software from Roxio, which sets you up for CD writing with minimum pain; we were up and running in a matter of minutes.

We can see the PocketDrive being useful in a small office that uses both PCs and Macs, possibly in split locations. It’s not super-fast but it’ll do the job nicely for occasional data transfer and backup.

Company: LaCie

Contact: 020 7872 8000

The LaCie PocketDrive CD-RW has both USB and FireWire ports and is fast enough for use around the office without causing frustration. It's good value too and its rubberised covering should make it fairly durable.