Portable Storage: Convenience is the Key

Fujitsu HandyDrive III (120, 250, 300 GB)

The bad news first : Fujitsu’s HandyDrive III doesn’t seem to be available in the US (yet). But it is available in Europe and other markets ; we even received three different versions for review : 120, 250 and 300 GB. The 300 GB version should ring a bell if you look at capacities and form factors available in the 2.5" hard drive space. This model seems to be using Fujitsu’s 300 GB 2.5" hard drive, which was the first of its kind. It is special, as its 12.5 mm height prevents users from installing it into standard notebooks (where 9.5 mm drive height is standard).

Where Buffalo doesn’t provide any bag or carrying protection, Fujitsu decided to bundle a leather bag, which is large enough to also fit the USB cable. Like Buffalo, Fujitsu provides an additional USB cable, which can be used as a power supply should the primary USB 2.0 port not be capable of supplying sufficient power (USB 2.0 is limited to a maximum of 500 mA). We liked the appearance of the devices, as the HandyDrives are simple, but very elegant. Western Digital’s Passport looks similar, and both have removable rubber covers to protect the mini USB interface.

As the HandyDrive is based on Fujitsu’s 2.5" 4,200 RPM hard drive, it doesn’t reach the quick access times of the competitors. This is very much what Buffalo refers to by providing "up to 64% faster performance". However, the difference is not as significant as you might think : USB 2.0 is the bottleneck, not the hard drive.

Unfortunately, Fujitsu does not yet bundle a backup or synchronization software. The only piece of software we found was the Hard Drive Password Lock Tool. In fact, you need the software before you can even access the drive for the first time, as it will not appear in My Computer otherwise. This also implies that you do have to install the Hard Disk Password Lock Tool on each and every computer with which you want to run the HandyDrive.

  • After 6 hours of "copying" the contents of my C drive using the Safety feature - which indicated that it had copied 260+MB successfully, nothing was written to the drive. This is worse than useless because if I had not checked to see how much space was still available I would not have realized I had no backup to recover from. Seagate Technical support confirmed my observations. Drive was fine, software was useless.