Toshiba’s 320GB portable drive is so plain it doesn’t even have a real name. It’s just the Toshiba 320GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as Western Digital’s My Passport Elite, the Toshiba 320’s primary competition in terms of size, speed, and software (see our review of the Elite here).
The USB-only Toshiba 320 posted the slowest real-world read speeds of any drive we’ve tested. However, these lapses represent only a four percent difference in real-world performance when compared to the fastest non-proprietary drive we’ve tested, Western Digital’s My Passport Elite. Four percent is four percent, but it’s not enough to make a significant difference.
We thought only Western Digital was dipping drives into the Skittles
rainbow, but SimpleTech’s new line of USB drives are just as colorful
as their Western Digital counterparts. The devices in the Signature
Mini line range in capacity from 120GB to 320GB and come in seven
colors. We tested the 250GB Mini Kiwi, a 5,400rpm, 2.5-inch drive
that’s one of the fastest portable storage devices we’ve reviewed.
Pink is our new obsession, and we have Western Digital to blame. Its pink, portable Passport hard drive (try saying that fast) is small enough to fit in Steven Tyler’s mouth, yet it comes with two of our most favorite features in the world: sweet speeds and snazzy backup software. And to top it off, you have to carry only a single USB cable alongside the little sweetheart, as there’s no accompanying power brick or annoying connector.
We were about to lead off this review with a Nelson Muntz-style “ha-ha” at Seagate, whose 750GB FreeAgent Pro has now fallen from the top of our external storage rankings thanks to Maxtor’s OneTouch 4. And then we remembered that Seagate now owns Maxtor. Whoops.
Let’s set the scene: You just finished “acquiring” every episode of your favorite TV show, and you’re dying for an awesome way to get those files onto your slick new TV. Browsing around the web for a solution, you stumble across Kingwin’s KH-300—an external enclosure that allows you to play multimedia files on a hard drive directly to your TV. You couldn’t be happier.
SMC’s Skype phone is proof positive that consumer electronics design in 2006 is largely inspired by the iPod. Shiny, white plastic design? Check. Rounded edges? Check. Flat face? Check. Poor user interface that frequently doesn’t work right, and a screen that sometimes shuts off at random? Oh wait, Apple’s products don’t have that.
Now this is cool. the Show Me Disk includes an 11-character readout that displays any name you create for your key. Whatever you you type into Windows Explorer shows up on the key’s display, so people will know its “Josh’s key,” or they’ll see that “Cats rule,” maybe. The display also features a pie chart and numerical rating for the available capacity, which is wicked-awesome. You just glance at the pie or the number to find out how much space you have left. We love these features! There’s one tiny problem: This key is slow as molasses in a New York winter. It’s so slow we grew a beard transferring 1GB of data to the device. We then had ample time to shave said beard reading that 1GB of data from the key.
The My Flash Fingerprint Disk offers a feature that goes well with a USB key: a fingerprint scanner to protect the drive’s contents. While not everyone keeps satellite images of nuclear facilities and top-secret documents on their USB key, it’s still reassuring to know that there’s an extra level of protection between your data and potential do-badders.
Look at this sexy mofo. Talk about elegant and sophisticated! And we love how its cap-less design addresses one of our biggest complaints with these drives—the caps always get lost! On this key, you push the USB header out of the key when you need it, and slide it back in when you’re done. This not only reduces the key’s size considerably, but it protects the port as well. It’s a perfect design, in our opinion.