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Mobile Storage: Your Entire CD Collection In Your Pants Pocket

40 Audio CDs On Your Key Ring, Or A Whopping 400 In Your Vest Pocket

A few short years ago, no one would have dared hope that by 2005 you would be able to leave your house with the contents of 40 audio CDs on a key ring. Yet thanks to progressive miniaturization of mass storage, this dream is now reality. The contents of 40 CDs encoded in very good MP3 quality fit easily on a four Gigabyte Microdrive, which Archos has bundled with a USB 2.0 interface and a fold-out USB port in a miniature case. Archos, with disarming modesty, calls this the Arcdisk 4 GB HD USB Key. Weighing in at less than an ounce and a half, the Arcdisk 4 GB fits handily on any key ring.

Mobile users with an urge for even larger portable storage may find what they're looking for in Iomega's Mini HD. This drive has ten times the capacity of the Arcdisk, and weighs about four ounces. Measuring about 3" x 3.5" x 0.5", the external mini hard drive and its 1.8' USB cable will even fit comfortably in a shirt pocket.

And since both drives are docked to the computer using USB 2.0 they are suitable for both PC and MAC users.

In the following pages, we'll introduce you briefly to the drives and the accessories they come with. Then, based on a handful of benchmarks and the experience we garnered from everyday use of the devices, we'll give you our recommendation of which drive appears suitable for which users and uses.