Nowadays, external hard drive systems and empty cases for individual installation of 3.5" hard drives can be found on every street corner. They offer the advantage that they can be operated on several computers, and are thus best suited for transporting and backing up data. However, if you need a constant traveling companion, the drives drop out of the race because of their size, weight and the tangle of cables and power supply. But now solutions based on small, energy-saving 2.5" hard drives promise maximum ease of use.
It is precisely their considerably lower power consumption that ensures that power packs will no longer be needed. Many modern computers provide enough power via USB or FireWire to run a 2.5" hard drive. Many manufacturers are capitalizing on this and consequently do not even include a power supply. The result is double the benefit of a 3.5" storage device, in the form of additional savings in space and weight.
As was shown in this test, however, this can also lead to complications - i.e., when an older system either cannot provide the required power or cannot distribute it over several devices (e.g. a chain of FireWire devices). In this case, the need for a small power supply is unavoidable.
The products in this test are the two HandyDrives from Fujitsu and the SPIO from Valueplus. The latter stands out primarily because of its extremely compact dimensions and easy handling - the hard drive contained within can be swapped with a larger model in no time.