First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
LaCie Little Big Disk
- Compact and Portable, Software Interface, Design and Styling, Quiet and cool operation.
- Expensive, No RAID 1 Support, Heavy.
The Little Big Disk is a good external drive, but for this sort of money we'd like to see more than 200GB.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
LaCie has been known to spice up the normally drab looking portable external hard drive category and the Little Big Disk is no exception. It's a solid looking, well-built device which performs more than adequately and offers a triple-interface drive (including FireWire 800), RAID 0 and a 7200rpm disk. Unfortunately, its price tag is a major setback.
The Little Big Disk lives up to its savvy name thanks to a sleek looking, business-style design. The overall impression is one of a solid and extremely well built device. Fronted by a large blue power and activity light and a slim base which has to be screwed on with an allen key, the Little Big Disk is a refreshing change from the norm in this category. However, there is a downside to this style. The unit is extremely heavy for something so small and will unquestionably weigh down any laptop bag.
LaCie claims the Little Big Disk is one of the quietest on the market, and does not includes a fan for cooling. We definitely noticed this silent operation and apart from the power light, we wouldn't have known the device was on for most part during testing. It also didn't get noticeably hot during use.
The Little Big Disk includes RAID 0 support. RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is a way of connecting two or more drives together so that they are seen by the computer as one larger drive. Doing this has many benefits including noticeable access speed increases and data loss prevention. There are also various types of RAID which offer different benefits to the user. RAID 0 offers increased speed benefits, as it splits data evenly across both disks without needing to allocate valuable disk space to disk error protection. Due to the performance increase, this configuration is ideal for video editing. Unfortunately, the Little Big Disk does not include RAID 1 support. In RAID 1 the information on one disk is duplicated on a second disk on-the-fly allowing the ultimate in data protection. It also has twice the read transaction rate of a single disk making it ideal for backup systems.
At this price point, we expected both RAID configurations. The Maxtor One Touch III Turbo for example, offers both RAID 0 and RAID 1. If the price of the Little Big Disk wasn't so high, we would be willing to disregard this, but as it stands, it's a big issue.
Inside the Little Big Disk is a 7200RPM hard drive which is capable of an 800 Mbits/sec bus transfer rate using a FireWire 800 connection. The Little Big Disk possesses a triple interface and its USB 2.0 connection is capable of a respectable 480 Mbits/sec, with the slower FireWire 400 operating at 400 Mbits/sec.
We ran HD Tach tests and found the results were as expected. The Little Big Disk is a touch faster than many other drives on the market in this size range, but the speeds aren't breathtaking. The convenience of a triple interface in a portable unit with this capacity is quite noteworthy though.
LaCie includes its self-titled Backup Software in the sales package and the interface is very easy to use. In fact, its simplicity is unmatched in any other storage device we've reviewed. The program allows you to select either local or network folders on your PC to backup onto the drive. Pressing 'Backup Now' button just duplicates the data. This simplicity does come at a cost though, with no scheduling options available. If you spend this amount of money on a drive, you are entitled to expect some more options in this regard, so again, this was disappointing.
The biggest limiting factor if you are considering purchasing the Little Big Disk is its price. If you really need portability in your external drive then it may have some pulling power, but we expected RAID 1 support and a larger storage capacity if we were to recommend it. It's a small fortune to pay for only 200GB capacity. The Little Big Disk is also available in 160GB ($699) and 320GB ($1,399) sizes.
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My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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