Portable storage devices might not be the most glamorous entries in the technology market, but they can be extremely practical and even more so now that prices are dropping almost as fast as the memory capacity is increasing.
Portable memory comes in two major types, either using Flash memory or small hard drives that are a bit more like traditional hard disks. Seagate’s 5GB drive uses a 1-inch hard drive which means it can offer more memory and faster write speeds than a Flash equivalent at the same price.
The drive runs at 3600 RPM with a 2MB cache and High-speed USB 2.0 meaning that it can allow data transfer at 480 Mbps. Realistically this means you can copy around 5GBs of video and music data to it in a little under 20 minutes.
Because 1-inch drives are a little more delicate than their Flash brethren, it is important for these drives to be durable, robust and to be shielded against knocks. Seagate has therefore built the Pocket hard drive into a flat, circular chassis, that fits into your hand like a perfectly shaped skipping stone or a hockey puck. Aside from protecting the delicate innards from the elements, this also conceals the USB plug and the short length of cable so you can keep things tidy when on the move.
The case also has a blue LED so you can tell when the device is plugged in and doing anything, and the base has some rubber feet to stop it sliding around if you’re on a the train or similar.
Well, it certainly didn’t break or anything in the time I had it, but then that’s no big surprise. I have checked around though and I haven’t found any complaints about their reliability either, which is probably the most important thing.
If I had to complain about one thing it is that it might just be a little too big – it isn’t going to fit on a keyring for example. I also would have preferred to have a big more cable in there. You get about 10cm extension on the USB plug, but that still means it will end up dangling around if you have it plugged into the back of a desktop.
Finally, although it does come with a host of tools, these are only going to work for Windows users; they aren’t essential and only provide basic write protection, etc. But as a Mac user, none of it is available to me.
1.80 x 7.70cm
So it isn’t quite as exciting as Blu-ray player or anything, but if you are shopping for a compact, large capacity personal storage device, Seagate’s Pocket Hard Drive ticks the right boxes. It is tough enough to withstand the rigours of ordinary treatment, it has a decent write speed and it won’t leave too much of an impact on your wallet at £50.