It's a hard drive, not a coaster.


Before you scoff at the Skwarim portable hard drives because of their looks, give us a second. If you're like us MacAddict editor types, you're probably carrying around some sort of storage device with you at all times - either a flash drive or a portable hard drive. So why not carry something with a little bit of pizzazz to it, like LaCie's Skwarim?


Karim Rashid, a designer whose clientele includes Alessi, Audi, and Giorgio Armani, designed Skwarim's case. The plastic cutie has a USB connector that conveniently tucks away when not in use. Plug it in, and an activity light emanates from the case where the USB connector is located. LaCie thankfully includes a color-matching USB extension cord, because the USB connector has a short reach, and the Skwarim's bulkiness could get in the way with a crowded USB hub.


Using Xbench (free, to gauge the speed of the Skwarim drive, we found that both the 30GB (pink) and 60GB (blue) drives clocked in speeds of 10.5MB per second on both the Sequential Uncached Write and Sequential Uncached Read test. Decent speeds for USB, but if you deal with large files, spend a few extra dollars on a drive with FireWire.


LaCie includes some nifty software with the drive, including LaCie Backup (backup utility), SilverKeeper (folder-synchronizing tool), and Silverlining (hard-drive management app).


The bottom line. For basic file transport, the Skwarim drives add a little bit of panache, but if you need speed, opt for a drive with a FireWire 400 or FireWire 800 connector.


CONTACT: 503-844-4500,
PRICE: $149.99 (pink, 30GB), $199.99 (blue, 60GB)
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 9 or later or Mac OS X, USB
Good software bundle. What's fashion for some... folly for others.





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