Summary

Our Score

5/10

Review Price £65.80

Recently I’ve looked at a few hard drives from the likes of Iomega Sony and Memorex so recently Imation sent me its 4GB offering to have a look at. While USB keys are becoming ubiquitous they only go up to 2GB. 4GB drives are on the horizon but these will be expensive. If you need more capacity in your pocket, a portable hard drive is more cost effective. Capacities start at 4GB, which is what Imation is offering, though the Iomega and the Memorex boast 8GB.

This sort of capacity is useful for transporting large video files, or disc images, without having to resort to burning discs, which can be time consuming and can fall foul of incompatibilities and errors. Copying data on a portable hard drive is simple. The drives are recognised by any modern OS as a mass storage device and you can run directly from the disc.

The Imation Micro Hard drive is a 4GB unit contained in a silver shell. Rather unusually, the USB connector is placed on top in an arch and is held in place by a switch in the centre. This clearly is designed to look like a padlock, which reflects Imation selling this drive as a secure back-up drive, thanks to downloadable 128-bit encryption software and built-in error correction.

That’s all very well but to be honest it looks a bit naff. It also makes the drive much larger and more bulky than it needs to be and the USB connector really sticks out on top, rather than being built flush into the housing as it is on the other drives I’ve looked at. Imation tries to sell it as a feature, enabling you to attach it to your briefcase, but I can’t really see anyone wanting to have their portable hard drive on display and invite it to be stolen.

The large handle also rather puts a dampener on Imation’s claim that this is the ‘world’s smallest and most portable hard drive’. It must be referring to the actual internal hard drive, rather than the external unit. When closed the USB cable makes the whole device 84mm tall, adding around third to the height. The large plastic bit also adds weight and though 52g is hardly back breaking, it’s more than the 39.7g of the Memorex.

When it’s plugged it, a blue light around the central switch illuminates. I found that the drive gets very hot to the touch, just by being left plugged in, even without any drive access.

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