Friday, February 23, 2007

Wolverine digital camera storage drive

Gadget review: I bought a Wolverine 80GB external digital camera drive the other day to replace my I/O Magic Digital Library drive. I was using the 20GB I/O Magic for the last year or so, but for some mysterious reason it wouldn't read my new 4GB Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo. I wrote to tech support at I/O Magic about this twice, but go response from them about this problem. This was a major drag because I was in India and needed to download my pix in order to clear off my card and keep shooting. I ended up doing it indirectly using PCs in Internet cafes and paying for the time. It took a lot of time because the I/O Magic is a USB 1.0 device, so transferring 4G could take a couple of hours. The Wolverine is a USB 2.0 device and transfer rate to/from the computer is far faster than the I/O Magic. (USB 1 transfer rate is max 12Mbps vs 480Mbps of USB 2).

The I/O Magic has no LCD display, so you have to trust the little blinking LED lights that your photos have been transferred. The Wolverine, by contrast, has a display that reports the number of files being transferred and successfully transferred. Both units can act as external hard drives when connected by their USB cables to the computer. By far the Wolverine Flashpac is the biggest bang for your buck if you are looking for a card reader/drive. With rebates right not, it's under $100 for an 80G portable battery-powered drive. There is also a 100G model for about $150.

If what you're looking for is a high-capacity multimedia player (slideshows, FM, video files, MP3), the Wolverine ESP is also high bang for the buck. It's $379 for an 80G unit, and they offer a 160G one as well. There's no digital rights management (DRM) built in, so some files that you download won't play on it, but no big deal in my world. I make videos I want to play for friends, and have stills I want to share without dragging my laptop around to show them. This box is similar to stuff like, say, the widescreen Zen or Archos but those are both more expensive, have smaller drives, and don't have a 7-in-one card reader built in. I haven't toyed with the ESP in 3D so I can't really comment on it. The Flaspac 7000 I do use, though, and can report that it works quite well.

1 comment:

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