A slim, lightweight portable backup device for photographers who travel with a notebook computer.The portable storage devices market has mushroomed lately, with many new products that will appeal to photographers-on-the-move. Weighing less than 200 grams and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, Verbatim’s SmartDisk 120GB portable hard drive is one of the smallest and lightest in its category, thanks to its tough, magnesium alloy housing.
A slim, lightweight portable backup device for photographers who travel with a notebook computer.The portable storage devices market has mushroomed lately, with many new products that will appeal to photographers-on-the-move. Weighing less than 200 grams and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, Verbatim’s SmartDisk 120GB portable hard drive is one of the smallest and lightest in its category, thanks to its tough, magnesium alloy housing. . . [more]
The portable storage devices market has mushroomed lately, with many new products that will appeal to photographers-on-the-move. Weighing less than 200 grams and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, Verbatim’s SmartDisk 120GB portable hard drive is one of the smallest and lightest in its category, thanks to its tough, magnesium alloy housing.
This housing contains a 2.5-inch computer hard disk drive, which spins at 5400 revolutions/minute (RPM) and supports data transfer speeds of up to 480 Mbits/second via the USB 2.0 interface. The drive is powered via the supplied USB cable so you don’t need an additional AC adaptor to add weight and complexity to the package.
Verbatim also provides a very basic multi-lingual user guide to help you get started but, since there were only eight pages in English and five of them covered technical support, warranty conditions, copying rights and various compliance notices, it was next to useless. Fortunately, the device is pretty straightforward to operate.
No drivers are required when using the SmartDisk with recent Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Simply plug the drive in and it will be recognised in a few seconds and appear as an additional drive on the system. (On our Windows XP computer, it was even identified by name.)
Clicking on the drive icon takes you to a folder titled ‘BounceBack Express’ which contains the preloaded CMS BounceBack backup software. This folder contains three sub-folders: Legacy OS, Mac and Windows. The first contains versions of BounceBack Express for Mac OSX 10.2 and Windows 98E, while the other two are for the latest Mac OS versions and Windows 200, XP and Vista.
When you launch BounceBack Express you’re presented with four buttons: Backup. Restore, Settings and Options. These cover all the basic functions of the software. You can also select the types of data you wish to backup automatically and decide how often the files should be backed up. The GUI is straightforward and easy for even novices to use, as shown i nthe illustrations below.
The BounceBack Control Centre.
Backup schedule settings.
The Restore controls.
The Settings options that let you decide which files to backup.
BounceBack Express can be used for automatic or manually-controlled backups. You can back up at any time you like or schedule automatic backups as well as setting reminders to back up at intervals of one to 30 days. You can also set the system to backup whenever a backup device is connected.
The software can also mirror (create an exact copy of) your computer hard drive enabling you to replace a failed hard drive with your backup. In addition, you can create a CMS Rescue CD to boot into a recovery tool that can then restore your external drive onto a replacement internal hard drive.
Finally there is a QuickRestore feature that offers immediate access to all previously backed-up files. The software will also backup multiple versions of your files enabling you to revert to an earlier version of your file with ease.
In our performance tests it took six minutes and 46 seconds to backup a 1.64GB folder of mixed files on a fairly slow Windows PC with a Pentium D 3.00GHz chip with 3.25GB of RAM. Data transfer began immediately and we could track the progress of the backup on the computer screen. We then moved the folder to a 4GB SanDisk Extreme IV CF card, using the USB 2.0 Lexar Professional UDMA CF/SD card reader. Transfer time was five minutes and eight seconds.
Verbatim claims the 120GB SmartDrive can hold up to 31,700 pictures taken with a 10-megapixel camera (we assume they mean JPEG images), up to, 1,500 hours of MP3 music or 200 hours of MPEG4 video. For raw file shooters, it would hold approximately 15,000 compressed 10-megapixel raw files or about 8,000 uncompressed files. That’s probably enough storage for a two-week shooting trip if you’re carrying a laptop and using the SmartDrive for backup but it won’t be adequate for routine backups of your image libraries.
Fortunately, Verbatim’s SmartDrives are also available in 160GB (RRP $134.95) and 250GB (RRP $184.95) capacities to cater for photographers who need more space for storing images. All units are covered by a two-year local warranty.
Type: Compact, portable hard disk drive
Rotational speed: 5400 RPM
Interface: One USB 2.0 Mini-B port
Data transfer rate: Up to 480Mbits/second (USB 2.0)
Power supply: via USB cable
Dimensions: 129 x 84 x 18 mm
Weight: 180 grams
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Cost per gigabyte: $1.00
Rating (out of 10):
- Build: 8.5
- Ease of use: 9
- Software: 8.5
- OVERALL: 8.8