Other portable storage units use 2.5-inch laptop hard drives, the Photobank
employs a new 1.8-inch hard drive and hence its smaller size and lighter weight. If size
matters, which it usually does, the Photobank will fit easily into your
camera bag or just hang it on your belt with the included leather carrying case.
The Photobank is powered from the USB port when connected, the AC adapter is not
The included 100~240V 50/60 cycle AC power adapter is really unique. It is made to be compatible with the power plugs and voltages in most countries around the world. Using a double set of folding prongs and a removeable "UK key" pin it can be configured to fit most any wall outlet without need of additional adapters.
It takes four hours to recharge the internal 2200mAh Li-ion battery pack.
A fully charged battery
has enough power for about 3 hours of use.
The battery pack can be recharged approximately 500 times. When running on battery the
unit automatically powers off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
When you connect the USB cable the Photobank shows up as five devices, the four basic card types and the hard drive. Shown above is the way it looks when used with Windows XP. Under Windows XP there are no drivers required, all devices will be auto-detected.
These removable drives allow you to easily move data between the flash card(s) or internal
hard drive to your host computer's hard drive. You can use any file management utility to
copy or delete your data files.
The Photobank has an illuminated monochrome LCD display to tell you
what's going on. This is a data display only, it cannot be used to view images.
Copying files from a flash card is simple. Press the power button, the unit will
initialize the hard drive and display the menu shown at the top. You insert your flash
card, press the ENTER button and select the appropriate card slot (center) and then press
the ENTER button again to be prompted to start the copy process, press ENTER one more time
and it begins. This is an automatic COPY ALL function.
A progress bar is displayed during the copy operation.
After the copy operation is completed the screen above is displayed.
You can also copy folders from the Photobank to a flash card or Microdrive.
Here's the Windows Explorer view of the Photobank's hard drive.
You'll find a sub-folder for each type of flash card:
_CF = CompactFlash, _MMC = MultiMediaCard, _MS = MemoryStick, _MSPRO = MemoryStick PRO,
_SD = Secure Digital and _SM = SmartMedia.
Each time you copy a card to the Photobank it is assigned a unique 8-number folder name such as 00000012, 00000013 and etc., and it's placed in the main sub-folder based on the card type.
Even if you copy the same card twice, each copy will be given a unique folder name on the
hard drive. You can use any file management program you want to copy and delete the
folders from the Photobank -- it's just the same as any other removable file
device when it's plugged in to the USB cable.
You can delete all files on the card or folders on the Photobank's hard drive.
The Photobank compared in size to a standard CD.
Here's the Photobank and the larger X's-Drive Pro VP-300.
The Photobank is the smallest portable hard drive flash memory card backup device that we've used so far. It will take up very little space in your camera bag and is also quite reasonably priced, the 20GB model that we tested sells for just $270. It is ideal for those planning on taking a lot of photos during an extended vacation. It relieves you of the need to buy many, expensive flash memory cards that will probably only be used during the vacation. Now you can shoot away and fill your memory card and then "offload" it to the Photobank's spacious hard drive and then re-use your memory card, again and again. The Photobank can be carried with you in the field, unlike your expensive laptop computer which gets left back in the hotel room (and possibly stolen by the maid!)
The Photobank's internal, rechargeable Li-ion battery packs enough power for three hours of use per charge. That's enough power to download a lot more memory cards then you'll fill in even the busiest of vacation photo-taking days. Back at the hotel you plug it into the wall socket and recharge it for the next day's use. This battery is good for about 500 recharge cycles and Li-ion batteries retain a charge for a much longer period of time than the Ni-MH type batteries used in many other portable image storage units.
Using the Photobank is simple - just turn it on, insert a card, select the card slot and press the button. An animated "progress bar" lets you know it's working and gives you an idea of how long it will take. You can just leave it copying and walk away, it turns itself off after 10 minutes of inactivity. Transferring data from the Photobank to your PC is also simple - just plug in the USB cable and Windows "sees" it like a removeable drive. You can copy files to/from the Photobank like you do with your digital camera or card reader. The data transfer is fairly quick if your PC is equipped with a modern USB v2.0 port. It is backwards compatible with USB 1.1 but at a greatly reduced data throughput rate.
After the vacation is over you now have a nice, small and highly portable 20GB USB hard drive device which can be used to transfer large amounts of data between the home and office or wherever. Those extra flash cards would just be sitting in the drawer or camera bag waiting for your next vacation and doing nothing!
|Memory cards Supported||CompactFlash
Card type I / type II (CF)
Smartmedia Card (SM)
Memory Stick (MS)
Memory Stick Pro (MS Pro)
Secure Digital (SD)
|LCD||Black and White LCD displays working status|
|Hard Disk||1.8-inch hard drive (20GB or 40GB)|
Li-ion rechargeable battery 2200mAh
External: USB port 5V
|Battery life||3.0 hours (full charge)|
USB 2.0 Interface port
(Backward compatibility with USB 1.1)
|Download Speed||Up to 480Mbps|
|Files System||Support Standard FAT 12/16/32|
|PC Peripheral||USB 2.0 Interface with standard storage device|
98/98SE, Win 2000, Win XP
Mac OS 10.0.1 and above
|Operating Temperature||5°C / 60°C|
|Weight||235g/247g (20GB/40GB) (including battery)|
|Dimensions||110 x 85 x 22 mm (4.33 x 3.35 x 0.87 in.)|
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