Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
LaCie Brick (250GB)
- Stackable bricks, eye catching design, easy software
- Short USB cable, pricey
A colourful, but expensive approach to external storage
Price$ 329.00 (AUD)
Let's face it - external hard drives are not exactly the sexiest products out there. Amidst all the stylish phones, iPods and cameras, blocky and functional hard drives struggle to get a look in.
This is probably why LaCie have taken a rather innovative approach to their new external hard drive range, which they have dubbed the 'Brick.' The idea behind the eye-catching Bricks, is simply that they can be stacked one of top of the other (think Lego) if you have multiple units. In a world dominated by silvers, greys and blacks, our review unit from LaCie was a startling fire engine red which was immediately noticed by anyone entering the room. The Brick is also available in either blue or white depending on the size that you purchase.
There is no setup process to speak of really, as Windows recognized the Brick as a hard drive as soon as we plugged it in with the USB2.0 cable. Perhaps the only gripe we have with this unit is that we wish the supplied USB cable was a little longer - all the better to show off our unit with. Although our model came with a USB cable only, video buffs can purchase alternative drives with both a USB and Firewire connection. Be prepared to fork out though, as the asking price is a hefty $599 for the 120GB dual connection version. This is a rather large expense when compared with the Maxtor OneTouch 300GB - which has a larger cache, faster drive, two Firewire connections as well as a USB2.0 port and retails for just $399. LaCie are also shipping a notebook version of the drive for mobile users.
Once hooked up, we installed the backup software and were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by an interface and program that is simplicity itself. 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. There are no advanced scheduling options here though and those seeking advanced backup utilities would be wise to consider the OneTouch II.
In our benchmark tests, the Brick didn't perform as fast as the Maxtor OneTouch II, and some of the benchmark results were in fact on the slow side. LaCie does get credit for trying to make a dull product line interesting. if not expensive. At the end of the day however, it's hard to put a price on the childish delight of stacking multi-coloured bricks on top of each other.
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