LaCie 40 GB Pocket Drive Review

...the PocketDrive is the perfect companion for anyone who is looking for large capacity portable storage space
...the PocketDrive is the perfect companion for anyone who is looking for large capacity portable storage space
...the PocketDrive is the perfect companion for anyone who is looking for large capacity portable storage space

Highs

  • Both Firewire and USB support

Lows

  • Expensive

DT Editors' Rating

Home > Product Reviews > Hard Drive Reviews > LaCie 40 GB Pocket Drive Review

Summary

Overall we think that the PocketDrive is the perfect companion for anyone who is looking for large capacity portable storage space. Setup on newer systems could not be easier and with multiple interface abilities and cross platform functionality what else could you ask for? If LaCie adds a longer warranty and a more detailed manual, they could have a perfect product. The LaCie PocketDrive (40GB) is the solution to your portable storage needs!

Introduction

What do you get when you put both FireWire and USB 2.0 interfaces onto a pocket sized 40 GB hard drive? You get complete compatibility and portability. Forget all of these 5 ½” external hard drives, the LaCie Pocket Drive is one of the best and most versatile portable drives currently available. What separates the LaCie PocketDrive from the rest isn’t the size of the drive, but the inclusion of both FireWire and USB connectors. This was the only drive of this size that we found with both FireWire and USB compatibility.

Design and Technology

When you initially think of a pocket drive, you think of a unit that is able to fit into your front pocket. The LaCie Pocket drive can’t fit into your shirt pocket but it certainly is a small drive and what it lacks in physical size, it makes up for in storage size and performance. The PocketDrive is about 3.5 inches wide, 5.5 inches long and about an inch thick. There is a nice blue silicon bumper seal that surrounds the drive and adds to the drives shock absorption. The over all look is sleek and tough and while it is not the most stylish portable drive on the market it certainly won’t hurt the eyes.

The PocketDrive uses what LaCie calls U&I technology which means the drive incorporates both USB and FireWire connectors. This technology allows you to swap the drive from one computer to another without rebooting. All LaCie PocketDrives feature a rotational speed of 4200 rpm and a 40 GB capacity. The 60Gb Pocket Drive features a 5400 rpm internal drive.

Setup and Use

Our PocketDrive was recognized instantly using both USB and FireWire connection on both our iMac and Windows XP computer systems. If you are installing the PocketDrive on any operating system other than Mac OS 9.X+ and Windows 2000 or Windows ME, you will want to install the Silverlining software provided with the PocketDrive.

Before using the PocketDrive in our Windows XP computer system, the drive needed to be partitioned and formatted. We wanted our PocketDrive to be cross compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Windows, which meant we would have to partition the drive in the Fat32 file system. If you have Windows XP, the operating system will not allow you to create a partition over 30 GB in the FAT32 file format, only NTFS. This meant that we had to setup two 20 GB partitions in the FAT32 file system. You see, a Windows OS running on an NTFS file system can recognize and read any drive in FAT32 but not the other way around. So if you want to make this drive as compatible as possible with all versions of Windows, make sure to partition it with the FAT32 file system. Read your operating system instructions on how to do this. If you want to transfer files between an Apple computer and a Windows based system, make sure the drive is formatted in FAT32 and that Apple File Exchange is installed on the Mac system. We noticed our drive got extremely hot to the tough while being formatted, but overall the drive remained tolerably warm while plugged in.

We were able to hook up the PocketDrive using the FireWire interface and daisy chaining it using the pass through FireWire connector on our external CDRW drive. The great thing about FireWire is that the PocketDrive can be powered through the FireWire connection alone without the need of an external power supply. Unfortunately this was not the case using the USB connection as the power supply was needed. So if you are on a plane and want to hook this drive up to your laptop, the USB connection is most likely out of the idea, and not many laptops come equipped with FireWire abilities. There is an extra FireWire connector on the unit, which can be used as a pass-through for another FireWire enabled device.

Performance

Our Pocket Drive was able to transfer a 600Mb directory is just under 2 minutes using the FireWire connection and about 13 minutes using the USB 1.1 connection. We were unable to test the drive using a USB 2.0 connection, as our system was unequipped with one. We expect the USB 2.0 transfer speed to be on par with the FireWire transfer speeds if not faster. We found the drive to be very fast overall using a hi-speed connection on both the Apple and Windows based computer systems. Transferring files over a USB 1.1 connection was time consuming and tedious, but that was due to the USB 1.1 limitations and not the PocketDrives.

Too Good To Be True?

Everything sounds great so far but where’s the catch? You can expect to pay a little more than $330 for the 40GB PocketDrive so you can see that this unit comes at a relatively high expense. We were able to get our drive from Trendetronics for just under $320.

We found the tech support section on LaCie’s website was more geared towards Mac users, however in the instruction manual there was almost no mention of Apple setup or troubleshooting. If you have Windows XP, then you are on your own as the manual only covers Windows operating systems up to Windows 2000, no mention of Windows XP. We also feel that a 1-year warranty is pretty weak; this is a portable drive and will surely go through some bumps. Add a longer warranty and put our nerves to rest, LaCie!

Conclusion

Overall we think that the PocketDrive is the perfect companion for anyone who is looking for large capacity portable storage space. Setup on newer systems could not be easier and with multiple interface abilities and cross platform functionality what else could you ask for? If LaCie adds a longer warranty and a more detailed manual, they could have a perfect product. The LaCie PocketDrive (40GB) is the solution to your portable storage needs!