Ever wanted to take a file home from the office, but found it too big for the usual tricks – such as emailing it, sticking it on a Zip or Jaz drive, or even burning a CD-ROM? With more video and other high-volume memory-hungry activities becoming an everyday occurrence, something more’s needed. Enter FireLight – smaller than a Zip drive, but with 80-times the capacity.
FireLight is a simple concept. Take a 20GB IBM Travelstar drive and stick it in a box with a FireWire bridge. The resulting product is one of the handiest and sexiest things I’ve seen in ages.
LaCie has its PocketDrive that does pretty much the same job, but it is more expensive and not as pretty as FireLight. One thing the PocketDrive does have over FireLight is an additional USB port. The drives are almost identical in size, but the LaCie model has a rubberized protective case – although I wouldn’t recommend dropping any hard drive.
Having FireWire connectivity negates the need for an external power supply, though you can get one. Even if you were on the road and wanted to plug your FireLight into a PowerBook it would work.
The FireLight is also available in 10GB and 30GB sizes, though the 20GB option offers the best value. The £199 10GB drive is just £50 less than the 20GB version. The 30GB FireLight is a hefty £216 more. Prices for hard drives are volatile in much the same way as RAM or chip prices. So, in the future, the 30GB drive’s price should fall.
As with all hard drives, the size quoted is unformatted. Formatting with Apple software will get you 18.6GB of space. Third-party formatting software would give a little more space, but it’s hardly worth the effort.
FireLight isn’t fussy, and will work with Mac OS 9.1 or OS X without installing the software. If you have an earlier OS, it’s just a matter of installing a driver.
If you need to regularly transport big files, or need to backup your hard drive on the road, FireLight is ideal. It’s small enough to go in your pocket and light enough not to spoil the cut of your clothes.