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Portable Hard Drives: WD Passport & Memorex Ultra TravelDrive

These days there's no excuse for not taking your data with you -- after all, USB thumb drives offer up to 8 GB for under $200. But the same price range also can buy you 250 GB of hard disk storage, in an amazingly light and even pocket-size package. Even better, you don't need to carry an additional power adapter -- these portable hard drives can be powered from the USB cable, just like a USB thumb drive.

The Western Digital WD Passport portable hard drive is now available in up to 250 GB for $199. (Isn't technology wonderful -- the same $199 bought you around 160 GB at the beginning of this year.)

The WD Passport drive is sleek and thin, with a clean piano-black finish. It measures 5.11 x 3.14 x 0.59 inches and weighs only 0.23 pounds. It's available from 60 GB for $79, 80 GB for $99, 120 GB for $119,160 GB for $149, to 250 GB for $199.

The drive is USB powered, with no external power adapter. An optional splitter cable is available for the few computers that limit bus power (to pull power from two USB ports). There's a single blue light on the side that shines to indicate a good connection, or otherwise blinks if the connection is weak (e.g., you're using a substandard cable or an unpowered USB hub).

The disk includes WD Sync file synchronization and software, offers 128-bit encryption, plus Google Desktop, Picasa, and Toolbar software.

The new Memorex Ultra TravelDrive is a little bigger and thicker, designed to fit the palm of your hand.

The Ultra TravelDrive includes two interchangeable color faceplates, and has rubberized anti-slip surfaces. It measures approximately 5 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 3/4 inches, and weighs 0.4 lbs. It's available from 80 GB for $99, 120 GB for $119, and 160 GB for $149.

The drive is USB powered, but in my testing of a pre-production unit it needed to use the included second USB cable to provide additional power for reliable use. A speed indicator light signals a USB 1.1 or 2.0 connection.

It includes back-up and synchronization software, and has a Quick Backup button to launch the backup application.

See more in the Portable Storage Gallery, under Portable Hard Disk Drives.

    Find the Western Digital WD Passport on Amazon.com
Find the Memorex Ultra TravelDrive on Amazon.com

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This entry posted on August 26, 2007.

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