Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Small size, no power cable
- Only 4200rpm, limited storage
This bright pink number is short on storage space but big on convenience
Price$ 269.00 (AUD)
Fresh after releasing the brightly coloured Bricks, LaCie has launched another visual assault on our senses, introducing the bizarrely named and garishly coloured "Skwarim".
There really isn't much notable about the specifications of the 30GB USB.20 Skwarim, apart from its small size - if you have big hands, you could probably hold it comfortably in one of them, yet it's not small enough to fit into a pocket. Still, portability will be the big selling factor with this unit, as it's a far cry from the industrial sized models that grind threateningly and dominate your workspace. The only danger you'll have with the Skwarim is if you mistake it for pink Post It note and try to write on it - just like we did. (If the bright pink brings on headaches, a 60GB version is available in blue.)
The distinctive looking Skwarim has a unique patterned design on it, and the compact square shape certainly appealed to some in our office. The look is spoilt somewhat by the presence of a very short USB cable hanging off the edge. At first we thought this cable was retractable, and so kept pulling it, but it only protrudes just about an inch outside the unit and clicks into place when not in use.
The short length of this cord meant it was very difficult to practically attach the Skwarim to our PC, and LaCie has bundled a much longer extension cable for you to use. On the one hand, the short cable is a bonus as it means you could potentially just carry the drive around with you rather than a whole heap of power cords and USB cables that most other units demand. (This really does depend on your USB port being a position where the short cable can connect to it though.) On the other, the cable really is quite short and odds are you will end up using the extension anyway.
We plugged in the drive to our test machine and we greeted with a bright red LED shining from within the bowels of Skwarim, letting us know it was alive. A few seconds later, Windows (it can also be used on a Mac platform) picked up the external USB2.0 device and we were in business. As well as the extra USB cable, LaCie has included their 1-Click Backup software, which merely copies directories of your choice to the drive.
At 4200rpm, the Skwarim is one of the slower drives we have seen and overallm we found the performance below average. Priced at $269 for 30GB, the Skwarim is certainly on the expensive side. You could pick up a 120GB (7200rpm) Seagate external drive for $10 less. But where the Skwarim wins hands down is in size and portability and this is what you are paying for. If these factors are important to you, and bright colours don't faze you, the Skwarim may be the way to go.
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