External storage with organisation software built in
The Hitachi Lifestudio Desk Plus is an external hard disk with two important differences from the norm.
Firstly, it includes a separate USB key that attaches to a connector on the front of the disk unit, and secondly it is supplied with Hitachi's Lifestudio software.
The software organises the files on your PC so it's easy to view photos, music and videos. They appear as large three-dimensional icons on a coloured backdrop, and it made it easy for us to find files.
It also organises photos from social networks so on the same screen you can see pictures posted on Facebook, Flickr and Picasa. There is also access to online collections of music, video and even games, but we didn't find anything we recognised in the video section, and there are better free music services (Spotify) and online games than can be found here.
Still, the software was as good as an organisational tool, and it also comes with the more useful Hitachi Backup program that offers a simple automatic daily backup of a list of folders.
The disk includes a separate 4GB USB memory key that can be magnetically attached to its front – a blue connector on the main disk matches a similar socket on the memory key. You can set the Lifestudio software to automatically copy files to or from the key when it's plugged in.
Otherwise, this is a well-designed USB2 hard disk, available in 1TB and 2TB sizes. It requires the supplied external power ‘brick' to be plugged in for it to work.
The 1TB model we reviewed is available for a competitive £70 online. With the decent supplied software this is good value.
Read more reviews
A good hard disk that comes with some handy software
Looks good; worked smoothly; comes with decent organisation and backup software; can synchronise with memory key
Online features of software not much use
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