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Compact Convenience

Tiny storage device great for presenters, content creators By Charlie White

Verbatim Store 'n' Go 2.1GB USB drive review by Charlie WhiteNot long ago, if you wanted a hard disk that could read data at 3 megabytes per second and store 2 gigs, you needed to pay $4000 for a SCSI array that was the size of a breadbox and weighed enough to function as a bookend for a set of very large encyclopedias. Now, you can get the same data-storing capability of that old-fashioned array in a package that's about the size of a Zippo lighter and costs $249.  It's Verbatim's Store 'n' Go 2.1GB USB Drive, a well-designed trinket that packs a ton of data into a tiny space.

It's amazing how devices that are quite powerful are being miniaturized. It's hard to believe that inside this 2.75" x 2.1" package, a half-inch thick and weighing in at a next-to-nothing 1.8 oz.,  spins an actual hard disk. This is not one of those solid-state flash drives -- it's a 1-inch, 4200RPM spinning hard drive. Sure, IBM has had a 1GB 1" mini-drive available for a while now, but still, it's fascinating to think that such a large amount of storage and such an intricately designed techno-device has been shoe-horned into such a small package.

But the Store 'n' Go's diminutive size is only the beginning. Another of its appealing attributes is how easy it is to use. With its USB 2.0 connector, all you have to do is plug it into your Mac or PC, and it's ready to go, showing up as just another hard disk. Sure, if you're running Windows 98 (and why on earth are you still doing that?), you'll need to load up the included driver, but for the rest of us, it's truly plug and play.

And play it does, for you can stoke the thing with enough MP3s to listen to music 24-hours a day over a long Labor Day weekend, and still not hear them all -- about 500 hours' worth of tunes, to give you an idea. You could fill the thing up with enough DV footage to produce a pretty good-sized feature story, you could store hundreds of digital photos, or you could cram enough documents into it to supply term papers for your entire university for the rest of this century (not recommended). 

Here's the back of the Store 'n' Go.
One look at this unit and you can see that it's beautifully designed. Its USB cable is ingeniously wedged into the side of the case, with its plug stowed in the top. I've never seen a design like this. The cable is securely hidden away, and when you want to use it, there's a slider that you move and the plug comes out, revealing itself and its short cord that you then plug into any USB compatible Mac or PC. Of course, you'll get much better performance if you use USB 2.0 (see our results below), but it's also compatible with garden-variety USB 1.x as well.

What about the performance of the Store 'n' Go? I was hoping the drive would be fast enough to record and play back DV files, but it's not quite there. But almost. Its tiny 1-inch hard disk, spinning its little heart out at 4200 rpm, achieved a read speed of 3.151MB/sec. in our testing. That's just about -- but not quite -- fast enough to play back DV files. Its write speed wasn't as fast, though, writing data to itself at a slower rate of .961 MB/sec.

We tried reading and writing various types of files to and from the Store 'n' Go, and were impressed nonetheless with its sprightly transfer speeds. We tested its read speed of a large file by copying a 313.5 MB avi file to desktop, which happened in 1:42, Then copying that same file from the desktop back to the disk took 1:49. That's plenty fast. Surprisingly, it was faster when transferring a 256MB folder with 301 files in 74 folders from the disk to the desktop, taking only 1:23. But moving those same files from desktop to the Store 'n' Go revealed its slower write speed, taking a poky 2:36 to complete the transfer. 

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Related Keywords:hard disk, 3 megabytes per second, 2 gigs, Verbatim, Store n Go 2.1GB USB Drive, USB 2.0, MP3

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