Summary

Our Score

5/10

Review Price £65.80

Imation Micro Hard Drive (4GB) - Imation Micro Hard Drive

On the Memerox we achieved a data write speed of 6.1MB/s for mixed files and 8.8MB/s for a single large file, lower than the 9.6MB/s we got fro the Iomega. Imation only gives a write speed of 3MB/s so I wasn’t expecting much.

In fact we achieved a write speed of 3.06MB/s so that was pretty spot on and 4.7MB/s for reading, which isn’t far off the quoted 5MB/s. It’s not terribly slow but it’s noticeably slower than the very fast Iomega.

Where the Imation drive offers more is its backup software. This is a feature that enables you to have a folder automatically synchronised and backed up to the Micro Drive and at the same time encrypted using 128-bit encryption. The files names can be viewed but without logging into the drive with the password you can’t open the files. If you lose your password there’s no way of recovery. There is a version of the software included on the drive but a much newer version on the disc so it’s worth downloading that.

Once the software is installed it places a ‘Synchronize’ option into the right-click context menu, and you can add files and folders to this. Once selected, they appear in Windows Explorer with a large yellow padlock icon next to them. However, if you just want to drag and drop files onto the disk you can just shut the software down. You won’t be able to access the encrypted files on this disk but you will have regular drag and drop access.

However, when I received the drive it has already had a password on it and I couldn’t get access or create my own. I got round this by removing the Sync folder from the drive, which enabled me to bring up the initial dialogue and create a new password. There was no way to view the old data but it still brings up a rather glaring flaw – though you’re data is safe from being viewed – it can still be accessed and quite easily deleted, which hardly seems that secure. It’s therefore a safe way of transporting data but not of protecting it.

Value wise, the Imation is around the same price as the Iomega but you get half the capacity. What you’re really paying for is the encryption software, which protects you’re data. But to view these files onto another PC you have to install the software and restore them so it’s not particularly convenient. It’s really best suited if you want to back up your files, but want to keep prying eyes away in case it falls out of your hands.

However, Memory Corp Biometric USB key is currently available at 2GB and will soon be available at 4GB. With this, thanks to its fingerprint/password combo, your data is secure from being accessed rather than just safe from being viewed.


Verdict

The Imation has a rather quirky design, it’s not particularly speedy and you can get twice the capacity for around the same price. The only reason to go for the Imation then is if you are concerned about security of your data on your device but as it can still be deleted it’s still not that secure. We’d recommend going for a better value, faster portable hard drive or if security is a concern investing in a Memory Corp Biometric USB key.

Scores In Detail

Value
5/10
Features
7/10

Our Score

5/10
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