The LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk is an understated little external hard drive clad all in black, and with no obvious ports to indicate its purpose.

It might just as well be a magician's prop for all the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk gives away.

The secret is the pull-off front end below the LaCie logo. This reveals two FireWire ports and a USB connector that extends a scant 65mm – sufficient to find a corresponding USB 2.0 on a PC or laptop but no more.

Depending on whether you intend to use the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk portable backup drive with a laptop or with a desktop PC on which the necessary ports could be located almost anywhere, this may or may not be an issue for you.

Unfortunately, the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk's shiny black plastic casing is rather prone to fingerprints and scratches, so you'll want to keep this drive tucked away in its accompanying black fabric drawstring pouch.

We kept misplacing the endpiece for the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk too, although if you simply get out the drive as and when you need it, this is unlikely to be a problem.

These niggles aside, we liked the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk. Its combination of USB and FireWire means it offers flexibility and we had no trouble installing it. No drivers are required and the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk is fast and efficient in operation. We were surprised at how hot the drive got in use on occasion, but this didn't seem to impede its performance.

The LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk turned in some pretty fast data transfer test results when it came to copying to our Vista laptop. There's a big margin between the quickest and slowest time trial results, however.

Transferring data in the other direction from laptop to LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk was on a par with times turned in by other drives.

As you'd expect, the minimalist design is echoed by the fact that you have do little in order to make the most of the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk – a single click invokes the backup and synchronisation process.

Protection comes in the form of 128bit (rather than 256bit) AES encryption but you get this only if you're using Windows – less useful if you want to use the drive in a mixed Windows and Mac environment.

This is all the more odd given that the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk we tried is the dual USB 2.0 and FireWire model – FireWire being far more common for use on Macs and in creative environments where hulking great video footage is more likely to be involved.

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The LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk is an understated little external hard drive clad all in black, and with no obvious ports to indicate its purpose.

We also found the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk's software only popped up with an offer to perform a 1-Click backup on our Windows Vista PC, whereas it surely should have offered the same option under XP.

The LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk's sleeker profile means there's no additional shock protection and, while it feels solid enough in its construction, we thought better of flinging it around the office to verify this.

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LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk: Specs

  • Portable hard disk drive
  • 480/12Mbps, FireWire 400/800
  • 5,400rpm spin speed
  • 8MB cache
  • XP PC to drive: 14m 43s
  • Vista PC to drive: 19m 17s
  • laptop to drive: 17m 28s
  • drive to laptop: 15m 12s
  • durst speed 32.9Mbps
  • average read speed: 32.2Mbps
  • random access: 18.3ms
  • encryption: 128bit AES
  • backup options: scheduled, full, incremental, file name, type search, restore
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS X
  • LaCie 1-Click software
  • 128x80x18mm
  • 187g
  • Portable hard disk drive
  • 480/12Mbps, FireWire 400/800
  • 5,400rpm spin speed
  • 8MB cache
  • XP PC to drive: 14m 43s
  • Vista PC to drive: 19m 17s
  • laptop to drive: 17m 28s
  • drive to laptop: 15m 12s
  • durst speed 32.9Mbps
  • average read speed: 32.2Mbps
  • random access: 18.3ms
  • encryption: 128bit AES
  • backup options: scheduled, full, incremental, file name, type search, restore
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS X
  • LaCie 1-Click software
  • 128x80x18mm
  • 187g

OUR VERDICT

There's nothing particularly wrong with the LaCie Sam Hecht Little Disk: it's attractively designed, lightweight and won't look out of place in a minimalist office, but it's not as robust or as well protected as some other contenders.

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