Taking your documents wherever you go, on a small backup device, makes good sense (even if it is a bit nerdy). Taking the contents of your entire hard drive, though, is another matter entirely. Yet that’s what you can do with the LaCie PocketDrive U & I.
LaCie’s earlier PocketDrives were popular because of their combination of high capacity, robust design and practical interfaces. This new drive maintains the robust design; the drive is packed in a thick, grey, rubber casing that should allow it to survive most transport knocks. The capacity has been raised now, to a maximum of 60GB in the drive we’ve reviewed, while the interface options have also been improved; IEEE1394/FireWire and USB 2.0 are now supported on the same drive. Conveniently, the drive will also work – albeit more slowly – using the older USB 1.1 interface, so you can use it with the majority of PCs and notebooks.
The drive’s dimensions (143 x 87 x 27mm) make it small enough to fit comfortably into a jacket pocket and it weighs just 335g, although the external power supply adds a little to that weight and the overall bulk of the unit. The LaCie PocketDrive U & I is based on a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive attached to an interface adapter, with the USB 2.0 and FireWire ports embedded into the rubber casing.
Installation on a suitably-equipped PC or Macintosh machine is quite simple; a CD containing the relevant drivers is supplied and the drive can be hot-plugged under some circumstances, making it useful for archiving and backup.
The quoted data transfer rate of the drive is 35MB/s, but this is peak transfer over the interface only and is unlikely to be maintained in practice because of the limitations of the hard drive mechanism itself. As far the interface is concerned, there’s a maximum transfer rate of 400Mbps with FireWire, 480Mbps with USB 2.0 and 12Mbps with USB 1.1. A 1MB data buffer is built into the drive and the average seek time is quoted as 12ms.
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