This disaster recovery device from Amacom could be looked upon as nothing more that a USB hard drive with some back-up software thrown in for good measure. But this product is more than the sum of its parts.
The product ranges up to 80GB in size. We were given the 40GB version to test. It is barely bigger than a normal 2.5" hard disc drive and is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or clutch bag.
One of the best features of the device is the wide range of connectivity. It supports USB 2.0/1.1, Firewire, PCMCIA/Cardbus, parallel and IDE docking stations. The cables for these are bought separately.
What is touted on the vendors website is the device's shock resistance. Apparently it can withstand a drop of two meters (approx. six foot). We tested it – it did! We stopped ourselves from throwing it very hard against our office wall in case the vendor wanted it back from us.
Connecting the device to our test computer was trouble-free. It works with PCs and with Macs and with a little tweaking it could probably work on Linux too.
The file system defaults to FAT32 but this can be reformatted to NTFS. The disaster recovery software, called "FlipBack", was quite speedy to install and the application should be very easy to understand and use.
Backing up on a USB 1.1 connection is possible but life is too short, so we would advise a faster connection technology if backing up a hard drive. The software and hardware presented no noticable overhead when copying files to the disk.
The manuals provided were virtually all on a CD-Rom provided with the hardware except for a quick start guide to the disk itself. We noticed that on the CD, the disaster recovery quick start guide failed to open properly giving an error. We also tried to visit the support part of the Amacom website but at the time it was not operational and we received connection timed out errors.
Apart from these minor errors, the actual product performed as expected and could be ideal for remote workers looking to back up work without having to rely on support staff.