Flashdrive 25. (portable hard drive) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Stephen Levy
Weighing in at 1 1/2 pounds with a battery life of about five hours, the Flashdrive 25 is an excellent choice for those needing extra portable hard drive storage or those who use portables without built-in hard drives.
Although I expect most users will attach the Flashdrive to their portables or notebooks, I found it most convenient for transferring large blocks of files and applications from my notebook to my desktop. I simply installed the drive onto both computers and moved it from one to the other. It also saved me the trouble of installing the same applications on both machines. In this way I created exactly the same environment on both machines. For those of us who travel or who have large amounts of data to move--between our home and off ice computers, for instance--the Flashdrive offers a convenient alternative to floppies.
Although the documentation could be better (I found it to be skimpy, and not as clear as it could've been), most users will be able to connect the drive through the parallel port and install the necessary software. The drive comes preformatted and partitioned as two 32MB drives and one 19MB drive. On my system they installed as drives D, E, and F. It's possible to reconfigure the Flashdrive using the software provided. Even though the Flashdrive connects to the parallel port, you can still connect your printer through the standard parallel connector built into the Flashdrive.
I tried the Flashdrive on two notebooks, a Magnavox 386 and a Gateway 2000 Nomad 386SXL, with no problems. I also attempted to install it on four desktops with mixed results. I successfully installed and used the Flashdrive on a Tandy 4825 SX Multimedia 486SX and an old no-name 286 clone. I never was able to get the Flashdrive to operate on a Gateway 386SX/16 or a Wyse Decision 386/40, however.
Since the Flashdrive operates through the parallel port, you'll find the drive a bit slower than internal drives. And since the Flashdrive uses the battery-saving technique of shutting down when it's not being accessed, you'll find the same delay as when restarting the drive if you're running it on battery power.
Although I found the Flashdrive quite satisfactory and can recommend it to those who need portable hard disk storage, my experience suggests that if you're thinking about buying the Flashdrive, you should be sure to purchase it with the right to a full refund if you discover that it's not compatible with your computer.
Flashdrive 25--$299 (20MB), $459 (40MB), $599 (60MB), $699 (80MB), and $849 (130MB)
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