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See Your Storage - Verbatim InSight Portable Hard Drive

If you're looking for a great holiday gift for students or travelers -- or actually anyone with a computer, then check out this season's crop of portable hard drives.

Products like the new Verbatim InSight Portable USB Hard Drive are literally (coat) pocket-sized, around 6 x 3 1/2 x 2/3 inches and under 6 ounces, and are powered through the USB connection, with no separate adapters or plugs required. But the break-through this season is in the pricing -- 500 GB (half a terabyte!) for under $150. Yeesh -- only two years ago, $150 would have gotten you more like 160 GB.

So these portable hard drives make a lot of sense for people on the go with laptops, especially students and exteded travelers. You can bring along lots of data (like music and photo collections) without clogging up your laptop's internal drive. You have a stash of spare disk space when needed, especially for copying photos and videos that you've been shooting. And, you have a place to back up your system, you know, just in case. As a result, these products typically backup software, so you can back up your laptop on the road, or even use them to easily back up your desktop system, like you know you should.

And we're talking hundreds of gigabytes of data here -- likely more than came with your last desktop system. That's a lot of data to go missing if your drive is lost or stolen. So these drives typically include security software (or hardware) to protect the contents though password encryption.

The Verbatim InSight drive, for example, includes Nero BackItUp Essentials, for automatic / scheduled backups, and encryption with a password. It's a 2.5 inch drive, with 5400 rpm spindle speed, and 8 MB of cache memory, for USB 2.0 transfer rates up to 480 MB/sec. (See press release.)

The distinguishing feature of the InSight drive, however, is the Always On Display, a small LCD that displays the drive name and available free space -- even when the drive is powered off. You can change the displayed name by renaming the drive icon in Windows Explorer or the volume label in Mac OS. The name and available storage are then updated each time you connect or safely remove the drive.

So now you can keep track of which drive is which, and which has enough free space to use for your next project.

Verbatim InSight drive is available with 320 GB for $119 (more like $99 street), and 500 GB for $149 ($116 street).

See my Portable Storage Gallery for more on portable drives, memory cards, and USB flash storage.

Find the Verbatim InSight Portable Drive on Amazon.com

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