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Western Digital, LaCie Hard Drives Merge Form and Function

March 16th, 2010 by

Western Digital Hard Drive
Photo Credit: Western Digital

The days of clumsy, oversized external hard drives have come to an end. Once nothing more than desktop drives packed into office-standard casings, portable drives have matured into quiet, sleek and (dare I say?) sexy accessories. A necessary storage device in today’s information overload/hoarder culture, manufacturers know there’s nothing inherently cool about portable drives; this underlying fact presses them to offer innovative features, enhanced functionalities and improved aesthetics to entice consumers who are looking to protect their data. Of all of the companies in the portable drive game, Western Digital is the one to beat.

Western Digital has been on a roll with its My Passport lineup and their drives look more like consumer electronics than computer tech gear. The new Mac-friendly HYPERLINK My Passport Studio portable HD uses an e-ink display to let you know the amount of remaining disk space, and it even comes with customizable labels to remind you as to what’s on the drive. The e-ink screen is handy since it works even when the drive isn’t powered on. Compatible with Apple’s indispensable Time Machine backup software, the drive also supports both USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 ports. And with three models that range in size from 320 to 640 GB, the My Passport Studio is perfect for at-home and office use.

Western Digital Hard Drive
Photo Credit: Western Digital

Another serious contender from WD is the My Passport Elite. This drive loses the e-ink display but gains a USB dock, 256 bit hardware encryption and an illuminated capacity gauge. With a drive roughly the same size as an iPhone 3GS, it comes in a larger range of capacities than the Passport Studio; with drives in 250BG, 320BG, 400GB, 500GB and 640GB options, there’s one to fit every lifestyle and storage need. Plus, the blue, red and charcoal color options means you won’t feel the need to hide your drive under the desk.

Western Digital Hard Drive
Photo Credit: LaCie

Another trendsetter in hard drive aesthetics is LaCie. The first drive manufacturer to partner with an outside designer, their collaboration with Porsche Design started a tradition of sleek designs that housed powerful hardware. This trend continues in LaCie’s newest model, created by world-famous designer, Philippe Starck. Of all the drives I’ve encountered, the LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive looked the best, and the aluminum casing made it extremely rugged. The Starck Mobile Hard Drive may lack the e-ink screen and Firewire 800 port of the My Passport Studio, and the encryption and drive capacity of the My Passport Elite, but the embedded USB cable and sleek aluminum housing ensures its attractiveness and practicality.

With our increasingly digital lifestyles, external hard drives are becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Both Western Digital and LaCie realize this, and their stylish and powerful drives are perfect for consumers who want a bit of form with their function.

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