Form or function? That seems to be the question since the iMac's debut a few years ago. Rarely can computer vendors successfully combine the two. The QPS Que M2 QuadSlim is a case in point: It has stylish looks; a unique, stackable design; and a fast FireWire (IEEE 1394) connection. But ultimately, it lacks the portability or the flexibility that its competitors offer. Form or function? That seems to be the question since the iMac's debut a few years ago. Rarely can computer vendors successfully combine the two. The QPS Que M2 QuadSlim is a case in point: It has stylish looks; a unique, stackable design; and a fast FireWire (IEEE 1394) connection. But ultimately, it lacks the portability or the flexibility that its competitors offer.
Time and money
The Que M2 QuadSlim has a lot going for it. In CNET Labs' transfer tests, the Que M2 QuadSlim exhibited speedy performance, copying a 383MB file in less than a minute and a 500MB directory in only 1.6 minutes. The drive also features Mac and Windows compatibility and a wide range of capacity options and prices (6GB for $249, 10GB for $279, and 20GB for $379). But competing drives offer these features and more. The Pockey USB drive, while slower, is truly pocket-sized, and the LaCie PocketDrive is both FireWire and USB compatible.
That's not to say that the Que M2 QuadSlim doesn't have unique features. It has an unusual, stackable design that lets you directly chain up to five drives together without extra cables (an optional rack-mounting kit increases the figure to ten drives). Like most QPS drives, the QuadSlim comes in a vinyl carrying case, but the M2 includes a couple of odd additional accessories: a belt clip and a suction cup for mounting the drive on various surfaces. While these are interesting and unique, they don't necessarily add value to the drive.
Also, the carrying case and the belt clip highlight the fact that this isn't really a pocket drive. At approximately 6 by 1 by 3.5 inches (at its widest point) and 1 pound, 6.4 ounces, the M2 is significantly larger and heavier than both the Pockey drive and the LaCie PocketDrive. But like those drives, the M2 is powered through the data interface cable and requires no additional power source.
The drive-package software includes Que D2D software, used for DV (digital video) to DVD (MPEG-2) file conversions. The application seems simple to use, but there are restrictions. For example, currently there is no Mac version of Que D2D, the software requires that you have a Pentium III processor, and you need a DVD-R drive to actually burn a DVD disc. QPS also includes Retrospect Express Backup for Windows and Mac OS, a powerful utility that allows you to schedule and perform backups and password-protect your data. Finally, there is CharisMac Anubis, a Mac-only disk-management tool.
The QPS support site is disorganized and concerns itself mostly with optical drives. In fact, we couldn't find any support documentation for the M2 drive at all. There is direct e-mail support, however, as well as phone support from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone support is a toll call.
To Que or not to Que?
The strength of the Que M2 QuadSlim (or any portable drive) hinges on its core function: the ability to transport large amounts of data easily. This drive is fast and fairly small, but others offer more practical features.
Portable hard-drive transfer-rate tests
Time, in minutes, to transfer files (shorter bars indicate better performance)
|The Que M2 QuadSlim's FireWire interface allows impressive high-speed data transfers, making it the fastest of the lot.|