FireLite 30GB FireWire Hard Drive

FireLite 30GB FireWire Removable Hard Drive
Company: Smart Disk Corporation

Pricing: $330 MSRP

Before we begin this review, Nemo strongly suggests you spend five minutes reading our evaluation of FireLite’s “little sibling,” SmartDisk’s diminutive FireFly Hard Drive The two drives share many features.

FireLite 30GB arrived a few days after we published our review of FireFly 5GB. Both packing boxes are the same size, which doesn’t give away any secrets from their contents. As does FireFly, the hot-swap bus-powered FireLite comes with a software installer CD, FireWire cable, padded carrying case, and a QuickStart setup card. I didn’t need to install any software, because FireLite uses the same SmartDisk Tools as FireFly.

If the similar terminology is confusing, you are not alone. At the SmartDisk booth at last month’s Macworld Expo, enthusiastic participants assumed at first glance that the small FireLite drive resting on the shelf was, in fact, the much smaller FireFly. SmartDisk’s staff enjoyed pulling a tiny FireFly out of a pocket for a wordless “WOW” comparison.

Let’s consider the 30GB FireLite. SmartDisk’s web site says it is “available soon,” and I expect it will be very popular. FireLite is offered in three sizes, with the following specs and prices:

MSRPs are $259.95 for 20 GB, $329.95 for 30 GB and $399.95 for 40 GB. Size is 3.25″ x 5″ x .75″ or 84 mm x 129 mm x 18 mm, and weight is 6 ounces or 180 grams for each unit.

Testing FireLite 30GB was easy.

  • I first copied (click-hold-drag-release) my entire 2.43GB “RubiMac” hard disk to FireLite. A total of 25,095 items transferred in fifteen minutes. Don’t take seriously Apple’s countdown estimates of remaining time, because they are totally inaccurate. Use them for general reference purposes only.
  • Next I did an OS 9.2.1 Retrospect Express Backup of my complete hard disk, including compression and verification. Duration was just under an hour for the same 2.43GB, reaching top speed of 119.4MB/min with 7% compression at the very end, if those numbers mean anything to you.
  • FireLite is almost completely silent, and very speedy. How do they do it?
  • The entire redesigned SmartDisk product line displays outstanding ingenuity, stylish design, smooth software integration, unequaled versatility, good tech support, and amazing portability. Excuse all that hyperbole, friends, because I claim no objectivity with these excellent removable drives.Attractive golden and blue lights flash and/or glow on top of the case, when connected and running. FireLite has two FireWire ports on its slim back panel, plus a power cord outlet. The optional power adapter is for use when you’re daisy chaining the drives.

    Why purchase FireLite and not FireFly, or vice versa? If teeny weeny size and unsurpassed portability are most important and cost is not a determining factor, then top-rated ultra-portable FireFly is a strong contender. But for the same price, FireLite offers MUCH MORE storage space and a faster hard drive in a still very small form factor.

    FireFly received’s best possible grade. I’m tempted to create an even higher category for FireLite. This is going to be one review unit I am extremely unhappy to return to the manufacturer. Using FireLite has turned me into a true believer. Thanks again, SmartDisk!

    Nemo’s “Q/D/S/V Standard” for all product reviews:

    Q = QUALITY, including ease of installation, performance, stability, and general happy relationship with everything on my system;

    D = DOCUMENTATION, both printed and electronic, plus appropriate website material;

    S = SUPPORT, in the form of email, phone, and web updates;

    V = VALUE, which includes both original cost and subsequent expenses;

    MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5

    Fantastic product! Well worth your money and investment. The best of its kind.

    John Nemerovski

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