Please note: this information was current as of November 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
Price: $289 (no hard drive) to $465 (120GB hard drive)
Designed for the photographer on the go, the Hyperdrive Colorspace is a storage device that's supposed to take the place of a laptop or multiple memory cards, if you're taking lots of photos on holidays for instance.
The Hyperdrive is made up of a screen (45mm x 33mm), a hard drive and a battery in a grey plastic case. It comes with slots at the top and sides that are suitable for Compact Flash type I and II, a Microdrive, SD Card, MM Card, MS, MS Pro and MS Duo/Pro flash memory cards. All this is managed by onboard firmware which can be upgraded.
- It's 320 x 240 (QVGA) screen resolution is just adequate for organising and browsing images.
- At 269 grams, it's light enough to carry in a bag, but its size (75mm x 134mm x 26mm WxHxD ) may stretch your pocket.
- The hard drive and battery can be replaced easily. The latter must be purchased from an authorised dealer, but the hard drive can be any brand.
- The menu system is basic but functional. However, the markings on the five control buttons are obscure.
- AC charger and a DC cigarette lighter connector are supplied.
- It has a recovey and card analysis/repair function that worked quite well on our damaged SanDisk 96MB CF card.
- It can recover files that have been deleted from a card, but only if the file hasn't been overwritten.
- It claims to display RAW image files from Canon, Fujifilm, Konica Minolta, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Ricoh, Samsung, Sigma and Sony as well as JPEGs. We only checked Canon and Nikon RAW and JPEGs, but the firmware can be upgraded and later versions could add to this function.
- Connects to both PC and Mac computers via USB.
- The screen is too small for slide shows or sharing.
- It claims to be able to download 120GB of data on one battery charge, but the best we could manage was 32.4GB from our memory cards . However, the claim is not clear because it could mean downloading to your computer from the Hyperdrive. If this is the case it's more likely to succeed because it'll be drawing power from the USB connection.
- It claims a transfer speed of about 1 GB per minute. Using large RAW files and a SanDisk Extreme III CF 4GB card, it managed 1GB in three minutes and 20 seconds. When we put small images on the same card, it could only manage to download just under 300MB in three-and-a-half minutes. Faster cards may help, but most won't get close to its claimed speed.
The Hyperdrive Colorspace is functional but not cheap, and it claims more than it delivers. There are many similar, if more expensive, products of this sort in the market. If you'd like us to take a deeper look at photo storage, please let us know.