With the Little Disk, LaCie continues its tradition of corralling famous designers, from Neil Poulton to Karim Rashid, to put their imprimatur on a portable hard drive. The 120 GB Little Disk, designed by Sam Hecht, is indeed stylish, but its performance could be better.
Sam Hecht, who has designed award-winning products from coffee makers to sofas, applied his deft touch to the Little Disk. The result is a mini monolith: a flat, glossy black surface and a cap that covers up the two FireWire ports and USB 2.0 dongle plug (a cheaper version, which sells for $89.99, omits the two FireWire ports). A single blue light glows on the rear of the unit when it's plugged in, a tribute to its simplicity and minimalist design. There's a quick-launch button just above the FireWire ports that can be used for launching a single application.
At 3.2 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches, the Little Disk is slightly larger than theApricorn Aegis PortableandWestern Digital My Passport Essentialdrives and closer in size to theBuffalo MiniStation. We really loved how the USB 2.0 plug hides away in the side of the unit, even though we would have appreciated a longer one. However, the plastic cap that covers the ports comes completely off, and can be lost.
The Little Disk offers decent speeds but trails the competition. It took 5 minutes and 44 seconds to write a 5GB folder of mixed media (including images, videos, and documents) to our desktop, a rate of 14.9 MBps. That's better than the Apricorn Aegis (13.9 Mbps) and Western Digital My Passport Essential (13.5), but behind the Buffalo MiniStation, which took 4:53 to write the same folder, or 17.4 MBps. Read speeds on the Little Disk were quite low, at 18.2 MBps. By comparison, the 120GB Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini clocked in at 25.9 MBps.
The LaCie Little Disk comes packaged with LaCieSync software. You can use it to sync your Outlook or Windows Mail e-mail accounts, specific Media or Office files, or every file and folder on your hard drive. It will also sync up your favorites from IE or Firefox. Finally, there's an option to save the wallpaper, so each time you plug in your hard drive into a PC away from home, you can have a familiar setting. Another application called LaCie '1-Click' Backup Software can be used to Sync a specific folder each time you launch it.
The LaCie Little Disk had the lowest read speed among value-priced portable hard drives we've recently reviewed, but it had the second-fastest write speed and comes with a strong software package. If you're looking for style and flair this drive is a solid choice.