Iomega eGo BlackBelt
Iomega's eGo delivers mainstream performance at a mainstream price point, but it's one of the better looking drives here, especially if you remove the x-shaped rubber strap that it comes bound in - hence the BlackBelt moniker.
Keep the belt on, and the eGo gets a degree of shock protection that most of the other drives here lack. It's also one of the few to come bundled with a double-headed USB cable in case one port doesn't pump out enough juice.
What it doesn't come with is software - you have to download that separately. There are three back-up options - four if you include the Mac version - and I thought I'd try Iomega QuikProtect. No dice, though - it's Windows XP or Vista only. EMC Retrospect Express HD works with Windows 7, fortunately. It's pedestrian, but it does the job.
Reg Rating 70%
Size 137 x 89 x 16mm, 180g More Info Iomega
LaCie's black brushed-aluminium Rikiki vies with Freecom's XXS not only for the best looking portable hard drive crown but also the award for the smallest. If you love curves, you'll prefer the XXS - the Rikiki is all straight lines. I like 'em both.
I like the Rikiki's performance too: write speeds well ahead of the rest, even though the read speeds were right among the crowd. Potentially, the drive can do better. It comes with USB Boost to up data transfers. Unfortunately, I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and so got the warning: "LaCie USB Boost does not support Windows Vista (x64)" complete with exclamation mark.
Still, LaCie's own Genie Backup Assistant will keep your data duplicated on the drive, which is reasonably priced.
Reg Rating 85%
Size 110 x 75 x 13mm, 158g
More Info LaCie
These are all "essential"? Essential to what? I'm sure I don't need any of them.
letters and/or digits
Further, I'm fairly sure nobody needs all of them.
Poor Value for money
As already mentioned all priced around £100, a better and much d=faster option is a separate HDD and drive caddy, there are a few caddys that have USB2 and eSATA, this is my route of choice significantly faster than anything firewire has to offer.
You could also add a seagate momentus 7200 rpm drive and get superb performance
Check the guarantee
Do not buy any disk drive product that does not include at least a 3 year guarantee. If the maker is not confident that the drive will last that long why should you be ? With external drives make sure that includes the power supply brick as those are prone to failure as well.
Do some math .. Divide cost by length of guarantee and see what cost per year you will paying. If it comes out to be more than on-line storage think again.
All ten are essential?
So evidently they're recommending we carry 5TB of portable storage in our pockets.
The usual story, evidently: started with a good idea (10 essential free PC apps etc) and spoiled it.
Not to el Reg: If you're going to list 10 essential things, they need to all perform different functions.