No matter how capacious your PC's hard disk, there will come a time when it's fit to burst with photos, presentations, music, video and high-resolution images.

You could - perhaps should - archive this stuff to DVD, but an external hard drive such as the Maxtor OneTouch II, which can be password-protected, is at least as useful and more easily secured than a DVD, making it more suitable for sensitive data. Added to all this, of course, is the convenience factor. No need to take apart your PC and install it - just load up the software, attach the drive to either a USB 2.0 or FireWire port and you're set.

Maxtor released the first of its OneTouch drives two years ago, and received numerous accolades. Now, building on that success, it has released three new flavours. As well as 200GB and 300GB FireWire 800 versions, there's a Shared Storage drive and a Small Business Edition.

They're geared up to work with Macs as well as PCs and are being targeted at the design community, where enormous, irreplaceable graphics and video files are common. Operating the drive couldn't be easier: press the single lozenge button on the front fascia and the Dantz Retrospect backup utility leaps into action. Its default setting is to perform a complete and automatic backup of your PC's hard drive at 10pm each and every night.

Using a FireWire 400 connection it was able to copy across a 1GB video file in 43 seconds, while a mixed archive of hundreds of files running to 2.14GB was backed up in three minutes and eight seconds.

OneTouch II: Specs

  • 300GB external hard drive
  • USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 interfaces
  • bootable drive
  • Dantz Retrospect Express backup software
  • 16MB cache memory
  • 72,00rpm spindle
  • Mac- and PC-compatible (MacOS 9.1 or later
  • Windows 2000 or XP)
  • vertical stand
  • external AC power supply
  • 41x140x220mm
  • 1.38kg
  • 300GB external hard drive
  • USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 interfaces
  • bootable drive
  • Dantz Retrospect Express backup software
  • 16MB cache memory
  • 72,00rpm spindle
  • Mac- and PC-compatible (MacOS 9.1 or later
  • Windows 2000 or XP)
  • vertical stand
  • external AC power supply
  • 41x140x220mm
  • 1.38kg

OUR VERDICT

Theoretically portable, the OneTouch appears to have been weaned on creatine; if you lug around its 1.38kg on a regular basis, you'll be able to save on next year's gym membership. That aside, we found this an excellent drive.

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