First the good news: SimpleTech's 4GB portable hard drive is cute, easy-to-use, and small enough to fit in even the tiniest of pockets.
The SimpleDrive Mini's capacity allows for storage of 1,000 songs or hi-resolution photos, and your computer detects it as soon as you plug it into the USB port. This is definitely an improvement from the days of Zip disks and online storage sites. In an Apple-free world, this device, priced at $119, would get some traction.
But this is Apple's world, we just live in it. The new video iPod - not to mention other cheaper hard-drive-based portable media devices - provides an MP3 player, video playback, calendar, portable storage drive, and 30 GB of capacity for only $300. Granted Apple MP3 players don't always have the greatest shelf life, but the hard drive function works just as easily as its non-music playing cousin.
We need fewer devices, not more, and a portable hard drive that doesn't at least tell you the time will have great difficulty justifying its inclusion in a harried professional's briefcase.
Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Available at Amazon.com
Specs 4 GB, Mac and Windows compatible, 1-year warranty