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After we reviewed the LaCie Starck Mobile hard drive in 2009, we started thinking that LaCie puts more emphasis on the look and design of a product rather than on its core functionality. The Starck Mobile felt clunky and couldn't keep up with the competition in both transfer speeds and cost per gigabyte. Luckily, LaCie redeems itself with the Rikiki external hard drive. It's available in three capacities, and a solid performer and even earns the lowest cost per gigabyte among our four competing drives. Whittled down to a much smaller case than the Starck Mobile had, LaCie has earned Rikiki a new fan, and we recommend it to anyone in need of more on-the-go storage capacity.
Design and features
LaCie certainly has no problem with the design of its products. We give its creative forms like the LaCie IamaKey USB flash drive and the classic Rugged All-Terrain Hard Drive high marks in the design category, and the Rikiki is no different.
The Rikiki is one of the smallest external hard drives we've tested at just 4.3 inches tall by 2.9 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick. There are no flashy graphics or awkward rubber wings to protect the drive. Instead, LaCie went minimalist and encased the 2.5-inch hard drive with a dent-resistant brushed-aluminum casing that not only looks stylish but also protects data from the hazards of everyday transportation. The drive is bare except for a USB 2.0 port and a small LED on top that lets you know when the drive is in action. Finally, LaCie learned its lesson from the Starck Mobile and dropped the weight of the Rikiki to a manageable 158 grams.
|Drive type||2.5-inch external USB flash hard drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Size (LWH)||4.3 inches by 2.9 inches by 0.5 inch|
|Available capacities||250GB, 500GB, 640GB|
|Capacity of test unit||500GB|
|Operating systems supported||Windows 2000, XP (32- and 64-bit), and 32-bit Windows Vista|
|Software included||Genie Backup|
The drive includes a 6-inch USB cord in the box that works fine on laptops with accessible USB ports; however, desktop users might need to buy a longer cable. We used our standard desktop test system to test the Rikiki's transfer speeds and found ourselves wishing for the integrated USB cable that seems to have disappeared from LaCie's drives after the Starck Mobile.
The drive automatically launches the LaCie setup assistant when you plug it into your computer for the first time. This application gives you a brief overview of the different partition and formatting types, including NTFS, HFS+, and FAT32. It then formats the drive according to your needs. The drive also includes a copy of the Genie Backup Assistant, a simple backup tool that uses folder-based backup and incremental restoration points to keep your data safe. Mac OS and 64-bit Windows users are out of luck, as the software only works with Windows 2000, XP (32- and 64-bit), and 32-bit Windows Vista.
Cost per gigabyte
The Rikiki is available in three capacities: a 250GB version for $75; the 500GB model for $105; and the 640GB for $130. Using our 500GB test drive, we calculate the cost to be 21 cents per gigabyte--which is far below the average cost for an external hard drive. As you can see in the chart below, the Rikiki earns the lowest cost per gigabyte by a 6-cent margin.
As always, we performed a simple data transfer test and compared the LaCie with four external drives in a similar price range. According to our stopwatches, the Rikiki drive read data at 25.12MBps and wrote data at 23.26MBps, just a little slower than the Transcend StoreJet 25f, but that's not to say that the drive is slow.
A simple numbers comparison shows that the differences are so minor that you most likely won't be able to tell unless you're transferring a 10GB or larger file.
Service and support
LaCie backs the Rikiki hard drive with a two-year warranty that covers parts and labor. LaCie offers telephone support weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, but requires a tool to connect. You can also create a support ticket on the LaCie Web site. A two-year warranty is acceptable for an external hard drive, but we always prefer three years to ensure the physical integrity of a portable device made to withstand the abuse of daily transport.