The Dualie is a neat product, but if you're not fussy about tidiness and don't need FireWire you can save money by buying a USB disk and iPod dock separately.
500GB hard disk, USB2, FireWire 800, 135x84x20mm
The Buffalo Dualie is a rather unusual 500GB portable hard disk. It comes with a docking cradle that lets you connect both the disk and an iPhone or iPod to your computer using just a single USB cable – though there’s also a power adaptor you’ll need to plug in too.
If you like to keep your desk clutter to a minimum, then the tidiness of the docking cradle is very appealing. With just one USB cable, you can copy data to and from the portable disk as well as synchronise the contents of your iPhone or iPod while charging its battery. A series of adapters are included to ensure your iPod or iPhone sits snugly in its nook without placing undue strain on its dock connector. The cradle also has a two port USB hub built-in.
While the disk has both USB and FireWire ports, the docking cradle just has USB. This is good enough for most uses, however, since the disk has onboard FireWire, it’s a shame the cradle doesn’t have the option of connecting the disk to your computer over FireWire for faster transfer speeds.
The portable disk’s file transfer performance was in line with our expectations, no matter which interface we used. Over USB, it copied large files at an average speed of 27.9MB/s and small files at an overall speed of 20MB/s. FireWire 800 speeds were noticeably quicker at 49.1MB/s overall for large files and a less impressive, but still quicker overall speed of 25.5MB/s for small files. It’s possible to connect the Dualie to a FireWire 400 port, although the appropriate FireWire 800-to-400 adapter cable isn’t included in the box. The Dualie’s speeds here were a little bit quicker than USB.
The Dualie is appealing if you want to reduce desk clutter and it actually costs a few pounds less than buying Apple’s universal iPod dock and a LaCie FireWire 800 500GB portable disk separately. However, if you don’t need FireWire then you can save around £20 by buying a USB-only disk instead although you don’t get the one-cable convenience of the Dualie.
|Hard disk||Toshiba MK5065GSX|
|Price per gigabyte||£0.30|
|Interface||USB2, FireWire 800|
|Power connector||USB from host, FireWire from host, external|
|Power consumption idle||2W|
|Power consumption active||4W|
|Backup software included||none|
|Warranty||two years RTB|