With their relatively compact form factor, pocket drives such as the popular 8GB Seagate Pocket Hard Drive offer tremendous storage convenience when it comes to transferring moderate amount of data from one PC to another. At this capacity, we’re talking about highly affordable storage that provides ample room to fit in a complete DVD-5 movie and hundreds of MP3 files. Today, we will take a look at the rather peculiar looking GStor Mini pocket hard drive from ExcelStor that caught our attention at Comex 2006.
Doused in a vastly familiar cool shade of ‘Apple white’, the GStor Mini should have an instant appeal, and because it only weighs 28g and not much bigger than your average Zippo lighter, it can also be carried around easily. Feature wise, the GStor Mini offers a retractable USB jack that conveniently slides away when not in use along with a small LED along the bottom of the drive that flashes red and blue intermittently to indicate drive activity – no fancy roll-up USB cable like the Seagate pocket drive but it sure is compact nonetheless.
The GStor Mini isn’t just an empty vessel that merely functions as a data dump. It comes preinstalled with Ceedo software that emulates a ‘private environment’ to work in. When launched, Ceedo allows you to work on programs and surf on web browsers without leaving a trace of what you have done and the sites you’ve surfed on the terminal. Programs can be added by means of either the Ceedo website (a very comprehensive list) or manual installation. Basically, as long as a program comes with a proper installer, Ceedo would be able to capture registry entries and have it rerouted to the GStore Mini for use in complete privacy regardless the computer terminal you’re using.
This means you can now execute standalone applications off the GStor Mini that would otherwise be blocked by system policies implemented by system administrators if they were executed natively – think games, Instant Messaging and multimedia applications. Take note however that programs installed in the GStor Mini are subjected to the same rules put in place by network administrators, which means games and Instant Messaging requiring the use of Internet connection will not work if common ports used by these applications are currently being blocked.
In a nod towards swift adoption to this proprietary software, the Ceedo ‘launch bar’ is thoughtfully skinned to closely resemble the familiar 'Start Menu' of Windows operating systems. In short, the GStore Mini not only functions as your personal hard drive but also gives you complete privacy when working on public computer terminals.
A quick transfer test concluded that the drive does work at a claimed read/write speed of 7.5MB per second, which is typical of pocket thumb drives. Although the GStor Mini did its job in our test, the amount of heat it generated was a slight concern for us; otherwise, the GStor Mini was mightily impressive.
The ExcelStor GStor Mini, available in 8, 12 and 15GB configurations, certainly packs the volume for your MP3s, DVD movies and even HD movies. Sure you can say that the GStore Mini may be less tolerant to physical punishment and slightly slower when compared to flash based thumb drives of similar capacity but when cost per gigabyte is measured, the US$128 (~S$199) GStor Mini floors the competition. Overall, we were pleased with the GStor Mini and the bundled Ceedo software and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for portable storage that offers something genuinely rewarding to use on a daily basis.