1. Seagate's FreeAgent desktop storage drive is a solid product. It features USB 2.0 and capacity increments of 500GB ($99.99), 750GB ($139.99) and 1TB ($179.99). It stands upright, and its footprint is about the size of a BlackBerry. It comes with excellent backup software and is completely plug-and-play. Highly recommended.
2. Iomega's StorCenter ix2 with Ethernet connectivity comes in 1TB ($299.99) and 2TB ($479) versions and provides a centralized network storage repository for homes or small offices. Highly recommended.
Also in the Iomega domain are its Maxtor BlackArmor portable storage drives. Featuring USB 2.0 connectivity, they are handy, coming in 160GB ($79.99) and 320GB ($119.99) capacities. About the size of an iPhone, they can easily slip into the inside pocket of a suit coat. Highly recommended.
3. Rebit, one of the newer storage kids on the block, is also one of the most intriguing. Not only does Rebit back up data like all the other products listed here, but it also backs up an entire hard drive and restores it to its original state-including restoration of the operating system and software applications, shortcuts and file associations-when rebooted on the new drive. None of the other products here can make that claim.
You can recover any file or folder just by using Windows Explorer drag-and-drop. If a disk crashes, Rebit recovers everything onto a replacement disk. There is no need to redownload, reinstall or even reregister applications. Rebit also features something called NeverFull, which automatically deletes old versions of files as new ones come in, should the disk fill up.
The drives are the size of an iPhone and come in 80GB ($109.95), 120GB ($109.95), 160GB ($169.95), 320GB ($189.95) and 500GB ($219.95) capacities. Highly recommended.
4. Hammer Storage's MyShare offers the ability to share music, photos, printers, USB drives and files from PCs and Macs over a home network or over the Internet. Capacities range from 320GB to 2TB (a 1.5TB unit goes for $339.99 at NewEgg.com).
Hammer just announced a partnership with Rebit Nov. 24 to include its software on the hardware. Hammer is now offering the Rebit appliance and software to its alliance of channel partners in Europe.
5. Toshiba has a new 320GB, external, USB portable hard drive in the $105 to $120 price range, depending upon the retail outlet. The 2.5-inch drive is tiny, barely covering a large coffee mug.
6. Buffalo DriveStation TurboUSB external hard drives (7,200 rpm) are plug-and-play and based on SATA (Serial ATA) technology for larger capacities. DriveStation's transfer rates are up to 37 percent greater than those of standard USB hard drives, the company claims. It features auto installation, and downloadable Memeo AutoBackup software and support. Pricing is $169.95 for 1TB of capacity.
7. Tandberg RDXcartridge-type storage drives range from 80GB to 500GB in native storage capacity and feature a shock-proof cartridge design. A soft eject feature ensures no aborted backups or corrupted data due to an unwanted eject. Available in both SATA (internal) and USB (internal and external) configurations, the drives are a bit pricier. A 320GB external USB kit is priced retail at about $555; a 320GB internal SATA kit, retail $510; a 320GB cartridge, retail $386; and 500GB cartridge, retail $480.
8. SimpleTech's Signature Mini Black Cherry 320GB external drives are priced in the $115 range and feature USB 2.0 connectivity.
9. Quantum GoVault digital tape drives feature two cartridges (one for on site, one for off site) with capacities of 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB and 320GB. Deduplication software is included, which is a real plus-especially for small businesses. Check Quantum's Web site for pricing information.