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The chances of your desk being thrown off course and landing in the ocean are slim. But, if by chance your desk is tossed out to sea, and you need immediate rescue from the Coast Guard, the 1TB LaCie Rugged XL is the external hard drive you’ll want, to be more easily spotted by the helicopter (although despite what its name might imply, its ruggedness doesn’t extend to water-resistance, so your data might suffer a bit).
Or maybe the name “Rugged” conjures up images of battling bears for food with just your hard drive. While it’s a hefty piece of machinery, we wouldn’t recommend swinging it around, especially while the drive is in motion. It’s still a traditional, mechanical hard drive with an array of moving parts. You could easily end up with a nice hole in a platter, and there’s the end of your collection of Sonic Youth bootlegs.
It's difficult to find much fault with the LaCie Rugged XL. It's fast, competitively priced, and has a distinctive look. If your desk happens to be attacked by bears or hurricanes or flying spaghetti monsters, the rugged construction might come in handy. Maybe.
Orange you glad we didn't say banana?
The rugged aspect of this drive seems to refer to two characteristics: its ability to dissipate heat via its aluminum case, and its rubber corners. The orange rubber does add a limited amount of shock absorption, and it looks cool in a Walkman Sport kind of way. But at 8.46 x 5.11 x 1.73 inches and weighing 2 pounds, 6 ounces, this is not a portable hard drive. You’re much more likely to leave it on your desk. And while the Mac|Life office is located in earthquake country, we doubt the added protection is needed for the average desktop Mac user. The aluminum top of the drive does get quite warm while in use, which makes us leery of setting anything on top of it. Because of its color, this is not an external hard drive to be ignored. Unless your desk is decked out in shades of Tony the Tiger, this drive will certainly catch the eye of any passersby, which may or may not be a plus.
We usually treat the software that ships with external drives with the same respect a diner treats a piece of parsley on a blue-plate special. But unlike what you get with competing drives, the software bundled with the LaCie Rugged is actually useful, allowing you to format the drive for use with your Mac and create partitions, if you choose. You could use Disk Utility for these tasks too, but setting up Rugged XL for the Mac—or a Windows machine, if that’s how you swing—is a snap.
The Rugged XL connects via USB 2.0 or eSATA port. USB may have stolen FireWire’s thunder, but we still pine for the interface.