LaCie Starck Mobile review: LaCie Starck Mobile

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.8
  • Design: 5.0
  • Features: 5.0
  • Performance: 6.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Sexy design; embedded USB cable.

The Bad No FireWire port; heavy aluminum casing; competition offers a cheaper cost per gigabyte; short USB cable; bulky USB plug doesn't play well with other peripherals.

The Bottom Line LaCie clearly spent a lot of time designing the look and feel of the Starck Mobile Hard Drive, but it trips up on the basic essentials like weight, ease of use, cost per gigabyte, and transfer speed. Hard-core design geeks will get a kick out of its funky case, but everyone else should check out the Fujitsu HandyDrive, which offers more storage space for less.

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Every so often, a company will get so caught up designing a new product that it loses sight of its basic utility. Unfortunately, such is the case with LaCie's new 320GB Mobile Hard Drive. LaCie enlisted the help of French product designer Philippe Starck to help bring about a new kind of external hard drive made out of 2 millimeters of sleek aluminum that unfortunately weighs twice as much as the competition. The $100 drive performed well in our speed transfer tests, but the user experience is once again flawed by a strange cable storage system and a bulky USB 2.0 plug. Fashionistas and design geeks will no doubt fall in love with the LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive, but utilitarian techies and cost-conscious consumers will be happier with the Fujitsu HandyDrive, which provides increased storage space for less money in a much lighter casing.

Design and features
LaCie's history with high-fashion, low-function consumer products are consistently hit or miss here at CNET. While products like the LaCie IamaKey USB flash drive and the classic Triple-Interface Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive received excellent reviews, other products, including this Starck Mobile Hard Drive, join the ranks of LaCie's poor-sounding USB speakers and other products that are mostly style without any substance.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB flash hard drive
Connector options USB 2.0
Size (LWH) 5.4 x 3.6 x 0.7 inches
Weight 355 grams
Available capacities 320GB, 500GB
Capacity of test unit 320GB
OSes supported Microsoft Windows, Mac OS

Still, there's no denying the time and effort put into designing such a beautiful product. The 2.5-inch hard drive is wrapped in 2 millimeters of polished aluminum that protects it from hits, drops, and spills, while also preventing the drive from overheating. It also has an integrated USB cable that unfolds from one side so you'll never have to worry about bringing an extra cord on the run again. The inlaid logo and regal gray finish exude class and style, but the fun comes to a halt when you actually use the drive.

The first fumble is the weight of the drive, which weighs a massive 355 grams--more than twice the size of the 175-gram Fujitsu HandyDrive. First and foremost, this device is geared toward frequent travelers who deserve a sleek, functional, and portable solution for extra storage. We'll assume that they already have enough weight in their carry-on without having to lug around almost a pound of extra aluminum. LaCie will surely argue that the aluminum is there to encase the drive in 2 millimeters of extra protection from the elements, but to that we offer the Hitachi SimpleTough portable drive that can withstand a 10-foot drop and 1 ton of pressure and still doesn't weigh as much as the LaCie.

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Where to Buy

LaCie Starck Mobile (500GB)

Part Number: 301892

MSRP: $109.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Interface Type Hi-Speed USB
  • Capacity 500 GB
About The Author

Justin Yu covers headphones and peripherals for CNET. When he's not wading through Web gulch or challenging colleagues to typing tests, you can find him making fun of technology with Jeff Bakalar every afternoon on The 404 show.