• Price: £98 . £168

  • Company: Western Digital

  • Pros: Fast. Long cables. Visual capacity indicator

  • Cons: External Serial ATA drives offer faster performance

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Even if your computer still has plenty of room left on its internal drive, maintaining an external backup is always a smart idea. If you’d rather be safe than sorry, a My Book Pro Edition USB/FireWire hard drive gives you plenty of breathing room for your sundry files, plus enough space for your backups.

The rounded edges and silver finish of the My Book’s plastic case give it the style of a glossy, medium-sized book, but the circular blue activity LED on its “spine” gives you important information. For example, the indicator area lets you know at a glance how much remaining storage is available.

Installing the My Book is as easy as connecting the drive to your computer. A generous six feet of cable gives you freedom to place it anywhere within your workspace. In operation, the My Book is normally in standby mode and wakes up when you use it.

In performance testing, the My Book Pro Edition turns in quite respectable stats when compared to smaller capacity desktop drives.

The My Book Pro Edition represents the top end of this line of drives. Lesser models in the My Book product line feature FireWire 400 and USB, or USB alone, and are available in a variety of capacities from 80GB to 500GB.

FireWire 800 used to offer the fastest way to connect external drives without paying the hefty prices of SCSI, but recently drives with External Serial ATA (E-SATA) connections have emerged. These drives are starting to pip FireWire in terms of speed, offering up to three times the data-transfer speed of FireWire 800 drives.

Even so, desktop users looking for an extra 500GB of storage should consider this unit, as it represents
decent value. It’s an attractive product, and it’s possible to lug it around, though its desktop form factor makes it more suited to sitting on a shelf rather than taking it with you. Its USB, FireWire 400, and FireWire 800 ports give you maximum flexibility when connecting it to your Mac or PC.