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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [11.19.04]
Manufactured by: Seagate, Kingston, Vantec

Lowest Price Finder
Seagate Pocket Drive 5GB: $155 @ NewEgg
Kingston Data Traveler Elite 512MB: $60 @ mWave
Vantec NexStar 2 USB2: $36 @ NewEgg
2.5" HotDrive: $37 @

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There's More Than You Think

When I set out to write a Portable Storage Guide for the end of 2004 (by the way, these things make great gifts!), I thought I had a good idea on the subject matter. Things have changed since the days of having to wire up a pair of systems with a crossover ethernet cable, or burn to CD's whenever you need to transport data. There are now many different solutions to transfer almost as much data as you want.

The first devices that came to my mind were the obvious - USB flash drives that were all the rage to give out as freebies at tradeshows a couple years ago. They have matured quite a bit since those days - they are now available in USB2.0, with capacities as high as 2GB.

The next choice is obviously an external hard drive enclosure; these usually work on a USB2.0 or FireWire connection. However, these solutions can be quite cumbersome, as 3.5" drives in external enclosures can take up quite a bit of space. In addition, they require an external power source.

One step smaller than the 3.5" enclosure is a version that uses 2.5" drives intended for notebook PC's. These are smaller, lighter, and do not require an external power source. However, they are not available in as high capacities as their 3.5" counterparts, and notebook drives can be quite expensive.

And that was it, I thought! That is, until Seagate announced the "5GB PocketDrive" - 5GB Hard Drive that is small enough to fit in your pocket! It uses Seagate's 3600 RPM mini-drive, with 2MB of cache. This drive is similar to those found on iPods and Dell DJ's.

This little device from Seagate introduces a product that fits directly in between the flash based 'thumb drives' and notebook hard drive enclosures - in terms of size AND price point.

Let's take a closer look at the other competitors, and find out how they perform.

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