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Freecom CLS

Freecom Mobile Drive CLS storage

Portable drive array with archiving ambitions

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Review The turn of the century spelled the death of VHS and cassette tapes, along with the plastic cases they came in. Fast-forward to 2010, and you can once again store your data in a translucent case with a paper label adorned with an indecipherable scrawl.

Freecom CLS

The new tape? Freecom's Mobile Drive CLS

Indeed, the appearance of the Freecom CLS drive suggests some folk at Freecom have a fondness for such things. Essentially, the Mobile Drive CLS is a 2.5in disk enclosed in a black rubberised enclosure, complimented with a miniUSB port and a paper label concealed behind a Perspex window. Each CLS drive also includes a VHS-like (albeit smaller) plastic case with yet another paper label and compartments for both the drive and the included 8cm USB cable.

In stark contrast to most other portable hard disks, Freecom has not enclosed the CLS range of drives in hard shells or solid cases, instead opting for solely the protection offered by the moulded rubber cover. This results in softer corners, which will provide a decent amount of protection against fall damage.

Available in 250GB, 320GB, 500GB and 640GB capacities, Freecom intends the Mobile Drive CLS to be Collected, Labelled and Stored. Yet there’s more to this CLS idea than just the drives, as there’s a CLS Dock too. This hub offers a neat and organised way to attach up to three Mobile Drive CLS disks and one other USB 2.0 device to your PC.

Freecom CLS

The dock mounts multiple drives using just a mini USB connector in each bay

The concept seems targeted at those who archive large amounts of data with no need for instant access or those who miss the 20th century. We await the Freecom, the Hard Disk Rewinder in due course. Back in the here and now though, Freecom also offers a data recovery option for £25. It's effectively 3 year insurance should your drive go belly up in that time. As for the drives, benchmarks with Crystal DiskMark 3.0 on the 250GB model produced the sort of results expected for a USB 2.0 drive, no real surprises here.

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