The Memorex TravelDrive Portable is an 80GB USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 external hard drive.

The first thing we did with the Memorex TravelDrive Portable was to swap its dull grey faceplates for the alternative white ones supplied in the pack. This made the run-of-the-mill 2.5in external hard drive slightly more pleasing to the eye, but the overall build quality of this drive is nothing to write home about.

Memorex is keen to make clear that it’s not just a blank media supplier; it’s also a vendor of drives in its own right. Based on this evidence, however, Iomega, LaCie et al need lose little sleep worrying about losing market share.

The Memorex TravelDrive Portable comes with two USB connectors. Using a single port, you can connect at USB 1.1 while the extra juice of the secondary connection helps ramp things up to the full USB 2.0.

Memorex has helpfully supplied ample length cables lest your USB ports are distant from each other. In the case of the Samsung laptop we used for our drive to Vista laptop tests, this was just as well.

The Memorex TravelDrive Portable seemed unable to draw full power from a single cable so we needed to have both attached at all times. The two speed settings are clearly indicated on the drive by the green and red LED lights it displays.

When in full power mode the Memorex TravelDrive Portable works well enough. It turned in a creditable performance across all our tests. In fact, it was the fastest of the six drives we tested at backing up the 12.3GB archive stored on our laptop. It was mid-field for the rest of the time trials. HDTach gave it a decent report too for its sustained transfer speeds.

Overall however, we were underwhelmed by the Memorex TravelDrive Portable. It didn’t offer much in the way of software, so you’re left with the task of transferring files to and from laptops and desktop PCs yourself.

Although there’s a one-touch button to invoke a file transfer, this is only useful if you want to create a fresh archive.

There’s a scheduler to automate full and incremental backups option – but the Memorex TravelDrive Portable lacks the ability to keep older versions of files. This sophisticated sort of feature marks out the better drives such as the WD and restoring older versions is now an option both Mac and Windows users are offered by their operating systems and therefore becoming accustomed to expect.

You can of course create multiple archives on your Memorex TravelDrive Portable or save additional versions of specific files individually, but this is a clumsy approach and seems unnecessary given the finesse of Vista’s Shadow Copies or Leopard’s Time Machine.

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OUR VERDICT

Overall, we were underwhelmed by the Memorex TravelDrive Portable, a solid but less than stellar external hard drive.

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