If there's one thing there's an excess of these days, it's stuff. Video, music, photos, interactive flash games and amusing clips we've found on the internet - we clog up our hard drives and removable media with it.

So what should you do with all of your photos and music tracks, not to mention that PDF-based portfolio of products you want to show your clients? Drag a notebook or portable hard drive around town with you, or use up precious space on your MP3 hard drive? You'd probably prefer something a bit more compact. Something like Seagate's 5GB Pocket Hard Drive, perhaps. It supports USB 2.0, so shouldn't need drivers. Extra functions allow you to import audio playlists - the drive is recognised by Windows Media Player - and to encrypt sensitive documents.

Swivel the black part to reveal a short connector; plug it in and your computer will identify the drive, flashing blue to indicate everything's working as it should. We copied 1.6GB of mixed graphics, photo and general office documents from the drive in nine minutes and eight seconds.

The drive requires juice, so it needs to be attached directly to your notebook or tower. This isn't an issue for notebook users, as USB ports tend to be accessible, while many desktops have convenient front-mounted ports, but some people may have to reach behind to plug it in, so have a USB extender cable handy if that's you.

Seagate won an innovation award for this drive at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Other than the short cable, our only real criticism is that its casing is plastic, and its logic board is visible.

Seagate 5GB Pocket Hard Drive: Specs

  • 5GB USB 2.0 external hard drive
  • backwards-compatible with USB 1.1 devices
  • encryption software and multimedia management tools
  • drivers for Windows 98
  • driverless operation with other versions of Windows and Mac OS 9.2.2 and above
  • 5GB USB 2.0 external hard drive
  • backwards-compatible with USB 1.1 devices
  • encryption software and multimedia management tools
  • drivers for Windows 98
  • driverless operation with other versions of Windows and Mac OS 9.2.2 and above

OUR VERDICT

The Seagate 5GB drive is perfect if you primarily use a notebook. File copying is fast and it's cunningly designed so cables coil back along its perimeter when not in use. But it's rather fiddly to plug in to a desktop PC.

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