The universe is jam-packed with USB-enabled gadgets such as digital cameras, thumbdrives, MP3 players, portable hard drives, and so on. So it's not really a shock to come across a device like Sima Product's Hitch USB Transfer Device. Acting as a data broker, the $150 Hitch is an MP3 player-sized device that lets you swap data between two USB devices such as two iPods or a digital camera and a thumbdrive. Standing in for a computer, the portable device is easy to use and it boasts fast transfer times. Still, unless you have a good reason to be swapping data on the go, you should pass on this cool but redundant device and just use a computer.
Here's one good reason to own a Hitch: you're a gadget-monger and your friends are gadget-mongers. Hitch measures 4.3 by 2.6 by 0.9 inches and weighs 8 ounces, and because it's so portable, you can pretty much "hitch" two gadgets at anytime. Though you can easily swap data over the Internet, Hitch offers instant hookups without the need for a "bulky" laptop. This thing is designed purely for data swapping and offloading, so it's quite good at what it does.
One could easily mistake the Hitch for an old-school MP3 player with its 2-inch monochrome screen and tactile scrollwheel. In reality, the Linux 2.0 device has no hard drive and acts as a bridge for two other USB devices of your choice. On either side of the Hitch you'll find a USB port; simply plug in your devices, and a file/folder tree will appear on the backlit and quite legible screen.
Above the screen is a handy and essential light-up diagram of which device is being displayed and which direction transfers will be made. It literally says "here" and "there." If the diagram doesn't light up, it means your device is not compatible (more later). The switch button toggles between each device. Select a file, a folder, or the entire contents of a drive; pressing the Send button immediately transfers your selection to the other device (we'd love to see a dedicated Back button, the way it stands, that's a menu option).
You can monitor progress onscreen (see the online demo). In our first test, we transferred 32MB of data from a Canon PowerShot S410 (USB 1.1 w/standard Canon CF card) to a SanDisk Cruzer (USB 2.0) drive in 4 minutes, 27 seconds; that's 18 JPEGs at almost 15 seconds per file. The folks at Hitch claim the device will transfer a 2MB photo over USB 2.0 in 3 seconds.
We then hooked up to USB 2.0 thumbdrives, which resulted in a 100MB data swap in 109 seconds (or a little less than a MB per second). Comparatively, the same transfer on a PC took 69 seconds. In our quick song-swap test, a 3.4MB track was transferred from an iPod to a USB stick in about 5 seconds. We were also able to swap music and video files stored on the iPod (as a hard drive) to a PSP without any problems. Files are automatically copied to a new folder called Hitch. You can override this and copy photos to the folder of your choice.