Freecom Mobile Drive XXS review
Light on features, but it's tiny, cheap and ferociously quick.
The Freecom's packaging proudly proclaims that the Mobile Drive XXS is the "world's smallest 2.5in hard drive", and a glance at the device in question seems to support these claims. It's the smallest and lightest disk in this group, with a weight of 146g - 32g lighter than its nearest competitor - which means if you carry it around regularly, you'll barely notice it in your pocket.
Such a small size means sacrifices have been made elsewhere, however. The only interface available is mini-USB - the Plextor drive isn't much bigger and offers eSATA too - and there's no separate DC input, either, so if the device it's connected to can't supply enough juice over USB you have no way of accessing files on it.
The light weight also comes at the cost of protection. The Freecom's drive is covered by just a thin rubber jacket with a slit in the top for easy access to the disk inside. Other products - such as the Seagate and LaCie - are sturdier and still weigh less than 200g.
While there are few features, in our performance tests the Freecom more than held its own. The XXS took 1.6 seconds and 1.8 seconds to read and write our single 50MB file, and under eight seconds to perform the same operation with our demanding 100MB collection of files.
Another feather in the Freecom's cap is its remarkably low price. At £49 (exc VAT), it's the cheapest portable drive, offering the best pence-per-gigabyte figure in this category.
What this means is that, if you can put up with the slightly dubious rubberised case, the Freecom represents a very good deal. Not only is it small and light, it's also very quick and dirt cheap; only its flimsy design and lack of features keeps it from winning an award.
|Cost per gigabyte||21.1p|
|Hard disk usable capacity||232GB|
|Hard disk type||Mechanical|
|Write speed small files||13.0MB/sec|