Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology -

EX­TER­NAL HARD DRIVES are so com­mon nowa­days that given five min­utes and a screw­driver any­one with some el­e­men­tary handy­man skills can put one to­gether.

This makes life dif­fi­cult for com­pa­nies mak­ing ready-built prod­ucts be­cause they have to rely on ei­ther the mys­tique that ev­ery­thing to do with com­put­ers is dif­fi­cult or on the in­her­ent lazi­ness of peo­ple to en­sure con­tin­ued sales. Luck­ily there’s a third op­tion and that is clever in­dus­trial de­sign.

It’s in this area that the West­ern Dig­i­tal MyBook se­ries of drives re­ally shine. When they were de­sign­ing th­ese drives, they stepped away from mak­ing them look like a piece of com­puter kit and chose in­stead to fol­low the de­sign in­spi­ra­tion of a hard­cover novel, hence the name.

The MyBook that we were sent to re­view was the 500GB model, which is pretty much mid­dle of the range nowa­days. To add per­spec­tive to this, two of th­ese drives would have more stor­age ca­pac­ity than most large com­pa­nies would have had six to 10 years ago.

The drive comes with both USB and Firewire op­tions and the great thing about Firewire is that it’s pos­si­ble to link new drives to the older ones rather than hav­ing to buy a USB hub or con­nect them di­rectly to the com­puter. With the MyBook this is es­pe­cially use­ful be­cause you may want to line them up on a book­shelf some­where, and do­ing it this way re­duces the amount of cable clut­ter.

West­ern Dig­i­tal ships the drive with backup soft­ware on it so it’s pos­si­ble to plug it in, in­stall the soft­ware and backup your en­tire hard drive with lit­tle ef­fort what­so­ever.

While not the cheap­est way to add ex­ter­nal stor­age to your PC, the MyBook does of­fer mas­sive ca­pac­i­ties and great in­dus­trial de­sign, which is enough to earn a rec­om­men­da­tion.

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