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Wow, what a difference a decade or two makes.
My first hard drive was made by a company called Corvus. It was about six inches tall — nearly a foot deep — about half a foot wide – and had a data capacity of a whopping eleven megabytes.
I remember the excitement of having what at the time felt like "unlimited" storage space compared to the 128-kilobyte floppy discs I was accustomed to at the time. Who knew that in a short decade or two, I'd have word processing documents bigger than that entire drive. And forget about modern data hogs like video files. Video on a computer was just a pipe dream back then.
Of course today, that pipe dream has become daily reality for video producers everywhere and data storage options are important. Particularly for mobile storage solutions — and that brings us to the Seagate 5.0 GB USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive.
With a retail price around $169.00 ($130.00 for a 2.5 GB version), this little wonder looks more like the yo-yo I carried around in my pocket as a kid than like a "computer hard drive." But don't let its' cute looks fool you. Even by today's data hungry application standards — this Seagate Pocket Drive has enough storage capacity to make it a useful way to transfer even modestly large digital video files.
The drive arrived packaged in a typical retail "blister pack" — and while I usually approach these with trepidation (I've bought kids toys where it took half and hour and made me consider using power tools to get into the darn things.) the outside layer of this one came apart with only minimal prying. I wasn't so lucky with the interior pac-within-a-pac. It's the kind of "adult proof" plastic that human fingers don't have a chance against. After I found a razor blade and did some minor surgery, I freed the very cool gizmo inside. The unit itself is certainly has a nice "cool factor." Just a small disc shaped device with a hardwired USB cable that stores conveniently coiled inside the rotary shell case.
One of the advantages of USB 2.0 is that, like FireWire, it is bus-powered technology. This means that the unit doesn't need a separate power supply, but gets it's juice from the power supplied by the USB port. In practical use, that's good and bad. It's good because you don't have any power supply to drag along and potentially lose. It's bad because some computer USB connections (typically those feeding keyboard or mouse) sometimes don't have the juice to run powered USB peripherals. The first connection to my keyboard USB buss got a single blue flash from the unit's power light — followed directly by a screen that indicated there wasn't enough power to boot the device. That's not uncommon. Lots of add-on computer devices, USB camera connections, and outboard memory readers have similar power requirements. It simply means you need to plug the Pocket Drive into a USB port that has adequate power — or perhaps use a powered USB hub.
The drive comes with a disk of software with drivers for older computers (read Windows 98, etc.) but plugged into a modern OS (Mac OS X in my case) and the drive popped up on the desktop without any software installation required.
Load it up!
Once mounted, it looks and acts like any other hard drive. The USB 2.0 interface promises data throughput of 480Mbps via a 3600-rpm drive with a robust 2MB cache — important when you're trying to serve large files like continuous digitized video streams.
In practical application the drive preformed flawlessly for standard data I/O Tasks. I could easily drag computer files on and off the drive like any other hard drive.
The drive is backwards compatible with USB 1.1 equipped devices but it really shines when connected to a modern computer with a USB 2.0 connection. USB 2.0 approaches FireWire throughput rates so it's the right connection scheme if you want to use this drive for serving up video files for on-screen computer display. For my video test, I dragged and dropped a 2.5 gigabyte video file onto the Pocket Drive from my desktop computer then disconnected the unit, and transferred the drive to a modern laptop.
As I'd hoped, the video file launched from the drive and played back flawlessly. No dropped frames or any other problems in displaying a standard DV video file. The bottom line is that Seagate has done a really nice job in designing the Pocket Hard Drive. It's a cute little gizmo that's easy to store and carry. The integrated USB cable means you won't ever have to go scrounging around for the correct connection cable, and there's no "wall wart" power supply to lose or leave behind on your next business trip or video vacation.
The 5.0 GB Pocket Hard Drive is a great way to transfer video clips smaller than its 5.0-gigabyte capacity from machine to machine or to take them on the road. Just plug this nicely designed unit into your USB 2.0 equipped laptop or desktop machine – launch your video files — and let the show begin!
Bill Davis writes, shoots, edits, and does voiceover work for a variety of corporate and industrial clients.
Drive Specifications: 3600 RPM, 2MB cache
Dimensions: 0.71" H x 3.03" D
Weight: 2.2 oz.
Operating System: Windows 98SE/2000/Me/XP or Mac OS 9.2.2 or higher (both with open USB 1.1 (or later)
Package Includes: 1-inch pocket hard drive with built-in, retractable USB 2.0 cable, Quick connect guide, Utilities CD
The Pocket Hard Drive is an attractive and easy to use external storage device that will let you carry video files in your pocket.