Spending too much time on the computer? Go for a little drive

Just once in a while, I find myself forgetting to write a review simply because I'm using the product so much it gets overlooked.

And that's certainly the case with the compact Toshiba HDDR500E03E hard drive I've been using for the past few months: it's been in my work bag so much of the time that it's become part of the furniture, and yet it's probably been tested more than anything else I've written about in recent times.

You see, since suffering a number of flaky computer disasters recently I've become something of a backup fanatic, and that's become doubly relevant given the downloads of music I now have which only exist as computer files.

The ripped stuff is no problem – although it'd be a pain to have to re-rip it, I do still have the back-up of the original CDs – but losing the growing collection of downloads and recorded radio programmes would be more of a hassle.

Then there's the fact that file-sizes for everything seem to be growing: whereas once 1MB was a big picture file, now I'm regularly pulling down hi-res pictures running to 20 or 30MB from press download sites. And I usually find I need to shift them between my office computer and the laptop in the study at home.

Music files, too, have grown: whereas once MP3s crammed whole albums into less than 100MB, albeit at low data-rates, the luxury of affordable storage means we're all using much more capacity-hungry lossless formats, or even storing music at full CD resolution. Or indeed more, in the case of hi-rez audio.

And then there's video...

Hence the belt and braces approach, and the fact that I'm carrying USB memory sticks less and less, and compact hard drives more and more.

Which is why the little Toshiba drive suits pretty well: it's a 500GB drive, it's very compact – about 13x8cm and little more than 1.5cm thick –, it's fast, and it's reliable.

The small matter of it looking pretty cool, too, is just the icing on the cake: or in this case the frosting, given that the 500GB model comes with 'Frost White' detailing.

Smaller capacity versions are also colour-coded: the 160GB has 'Gecko Green' swirls, the 250GB 'Hot Rod Red', and the 320GB 'Carbon Grey'.

And they really do just what it says on the tin: you plug them in, copy stuff to them, and when you need it again, it's there – quickly and reliably.

Even though our home-lives are automatically backed up every evening to a NAS on our home network, I'm now also using Time Machine on the MacBook to back up to the Toshiba whenever it's connected.

Better to be safe than sorry, right?

After all, bad enough to find you've got to recover all your data if your computer throws a wobbly – imagine having to do it without any music to calm you down...

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.