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Review #4
updated July 9 and 10 , 2005
Pocket Size Hard Drives
$29.94 to 495.99 plus

To see larger photo images click the photo with your mouse.

cruzerview and the Kaser

Introduction

I have been looking for a hard drive lately to replace a failing audio / video desk top external hard drive. I saw an ad in the local news paper for a Mimi drive which can fit in a shirt pocket. This was something I wanted to see in person. Right after I saw the ad I began to investigated from the internet, some web sites of product like hard drives. Other companies have their own name to set their drives apart from others.

Recently manufactures have offered rebate up to half off and sometimes more. The one that I bought came with an instant rebate which I wish more companies would offer. It was the instant rebate which attracted me first to this product. Those mail in rebates often make me take longer to decide on and more than most I do not buy. My decision for not buying from a mail in rebate is because you have to give out personal information and besides having your rebate get lost in the mail you may need to wait up to three months to see your money from the rebate. However instant rebate is money off up front and there is no waiting or personal information to give out. I than bought this hard drive with out any hesitation.

My First Choice

I had originally bought the SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini ( in the photo above) first. It works like a hard drive but has no moving parts. To understand what the Cruzer mini is think of a memory cards in any digital camera today. A thin small card is used to store data images like photos or short motion like multi jpeg files, and than can be played back from a device that reads this data.

The Cruzer mini uses similar technology known as flash memory. I bought a 256 MB Cruzer mini for its lightning speed and excellent price at the time. I had never used one before and thought this was a good time to try. At the time of purchase I saw that many companies including SanDisk offered their similar product for a variety of price ranges. Besides the 256 megabit there are other amounts too. Such as the 128 megabit, 256 megabit, now more common to find is a one gigabit, two gigabit and now with compression software a three gigabit, and up to five gigabit.

More than likely if your looking for any pocket hard dive greater than two megabit than your looking at the second product in the photo above. The product on the bottom of the photo is a lot larger than the 256 megabit above it. more on this drive later

The bigger the memory store the larger the device. The flash memory, plug into a USB 2 port and is powered by the computer. They are also backwards compatible and will work with a USB 1 port but at a reduced speed. Flash memory work very well as a hard drive and is sometime referred to as a Flash Drive.

Flash drives are fast basically because they have no moving parts to slow them down like a conventional hard drive. Up load or downloading data will often have no trouble keeping up with regular desk top or internal hard drives. They need no software to run them and generally do not come with driver software.. Many say that they will run on any computer which has a USB port, however I found that any older computer where USB has been added later to or where the operating system in use is : Mac OS 9.0 or PC OS 95, OS 98 will not run or will run into resistance.

I liked the SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini, a lot but after sometime I ran out of space and wanted something bigger.The same complaint is heard with conventional hard drives as well.

Kaser and extension

Is Bigger Better?

I saw advertised in my favorite computer store a hard drive by a company called "Kaser" which offered a 1.5 GB at a price of almost half price off. On the packaging it read that it was a flash drive. Not knowing anything other than that they are fast and have no moving parts I bought it. Thinking that it was a flash drive off I went.to try it out. The sales guy told me nothing about the drive other than he had one. Can you imagine if these sales people owned everything that they tell the consumer that they personally use, they them self would never be able to get inside there own home.

I was very optimistic and likely saw the device knowing I had to have it based on what I had experienced with the Scan Disk I had already owned. My enthusiasm got the best of me and the sales man at the time just wanted to make a sale and he did. When I got home and plugged this big boy into a USB port I noticed that it was slower than the SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini. I had a closer look and listen to this pocket size hard drive. The hard drive was a bit larger than the SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini but this drive made noise when accessing. There seemed to be a moving part inside and it was loud enough to hear it. I was disappointed right at the start. Since I had two weeks to give the Kaser 1.5 GB hard drive a try I calmed down. Designed mainly as a go between computer the one at home and the other at the office- it was a good idea at the time and still is.

I read the print on the box again and it said Flash drive which is not actually true. It even boost about transfer rates of 38 Mbps. Most hard drives start rotation at 4200 rpm and have a transfer rate of 9.5 ms. The Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo Drive mentions no rotation per minute (rpm) but with USB 2.0 this Flash drive transfers at about 15MB/sec read and 13MB/sec write speeds . Kaser also offers a 1GB, 2GB, and a 4 GB Hard Drive.

Kaser calls their hard drive a "Jumbo drive," with exceptionable stylish, and with a high glossy finish. A plastic coated arm make this casing extremely rugged designed to withstand harsh working environments and operating conditions. It looks nice and is easy to hold and work with. Comes with a protective removable plastic cap which fits over the USB male connecter. Fits nicely into a shirt or pant pocket for easy mobility.

I have to say that for the price at the time (about $80.00 Canadian) and thinking it had no moving parts I though it was a pretty good price. With further investigation I learned that most manufactures were offering larger data storage with this kind of technology and prices are much higher. Sony is offering a five gigabit drive with compression software for just under five hundred dollars. Even so prices are coming down these drives making them a smart investment if you need the smaller size for portability.

Back in the good old days when Radio Shack computers where in almost every ones home except mine. The rule was not to use compression software especially if your moving between two computers. Today the rule still holds true, but for every rule there is an exception, "Just in case back up all data before adding compression software just in case.


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The Kaser is as small as a mousesize

The Two Compared

I still to this day use Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo Drive. It is not a replacement for my failing hard drive, but it kind of grows on you after a while. So far the Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo drive has out preformed my 250 gigabyte hard drive in reliability.

The SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini and the Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo drive, both take a few seconds to open from a folder on your desk top the first time. The SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini was a second or two faster but than has a smaller capacity. Both save and read the same in every way. There is a light on both that flickers when at work. The Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo Drive has a green light on the front side - which is indicated by the name Jumbo Drive written on one side. The SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini light also is green and can be changed by using one of three colored caps include. These caps double as a cover to protect the USB connection and when in use fits over the green light. Good for when others in the office are using a similar SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini. The Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo Drive, heats up with constant use and can get fairly hot with in a short period. The Kaser Jumbo Drive has a temperature range from minus 10 degrees to 50 degree C. The SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini, during my use never heated up or felt like it had changed in temperature at all. The company SanDisk gives no operating tempurature guide.


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connect to the hubbed or Scan disk has three color covers for the light

Easy Connection
Kaser includes a cable which roughly is two and a half feet long and fits into any USB port on your computer or USB Hub . Without the cable the Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo Drive uses one port and blocks access to another. The cable can be left attached to the USB port and works to connect any other device you want to connect to it. The SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini takes up one port to connect and came with a strap so you can wear it around your neck during transportation and when not used.

Unformatted vrs Format Drive

I found that both the SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini and the Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo drive, were short on actual space on their drive. The SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini claimed to have 256 Mb when empty and on the desk top allowed for 15 percent less. The SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini comes with hidden files for their own software. The Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo Drive when empty read 1.35 GB rather than a full 1.5 GB as indicated on the package. I see this advertised on internal and external hard drives. So if you need outlast 256 MB or 1.5 GB you will need to buy a larger data storage which will have the same loss when opened empty.

Both the SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini and the Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo drive come formatted to be work with a PC, a Macintosh or a Unix based operating system.


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Specifications
 Drive  SanDisk 256 MB Cruzer mini
 Capacity  128MB , 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2 GB, 4 GB
 Transmission  Hi - Speed USB 2.0 certified for fast data transfer
 Shock Resistance  Soft contact to have better shock resistance
 Plug and Play  No driver is necessary under Windows 98, 2000/XP/ME
   No driver is necessary under Mac OS 9.1 / 9.2 /OS X - 10.3.9
 Accessories  Two extra color caps and a neck strap included
 Interface  USB 2.0 works with USB 1.1
 Temperature Range  Not given
 Power  USB bus powered / no external power required
 Limited Warranty Two years
 Web address  http://www.sandisk.com
 Note-1  Software offer: CruzerSync™ Cruzer PocketCache CruzerLock 2
 Note-2  Does not work with 9.0 or less operating systems No software offer
 Note-3  Manual online at http://www.sandisk.com/oem/manuals.asp

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Specifications
 Drive  Kaser 1.5 GB Jumbo Drive
 Capacity  1GB, 1.5 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB
 Transmission  High speed USB 2.0 provide you fastest way to read/write
 Shock Resistance  Soft contact to have better shock resistance
 Plug and Play  No driver is necessary under Windows 2000/XP/ME
   No driver is necessary under Mac OS 9.1 / 9.2 /OS X - 10.3.9
 Accessories  Driver CD, USB Cable,
 Interface  USB 2.0 works with USB 1.1
 Temperature Range  10 degree C to 50 degree C
 Power  USB bus powered / no external power required
 Warranty Not specified
 Web address  http://www.kasercorp.com
 Note-1  Do not use cd drives unless absolute necessary
 Notes-2 You need OS9.1 and grader for USB to work.

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