The rugged exterior of the ABSplus, as the name implies, will withstand life in your shoulder bag, or carry on luggage for long haul flights, or pretty much anything else you throw at it.
We would not feel comfortable letting an 8-year-old with a sledgehammer loose on it, nor driving over it in a family saloon, as we did for the SanDisk Cruzer Titanitum flash drive (see link below) though.
The 3-year warranty suggests the manufacturer is fairly confident you aren’t going to break it, and that’s good news when we are talking about a backup device after all.
The fact that the BounceBack Professional software included comes complete with the ability to create a fully bootable backup copy of your system, application and data files onto the external hard drive should not be undervalued.
What this means, out in the real world of the mobile computer user, is that disaster recovery is not a drama even in that worse case scenario of a fried notebook drive. Anyone who has experienced the pain of losing such a drive when sitting in a hotel miles from any helpful IT support, will know what we are talking about.
Instead of being stuffed until you can get back home or to the office and let support sort it, because the ABS drive is bootable (although not as a USB device) you can whip the heart out of the thing and transplant it straight into your notebook to breathe life back into it.
OK, that’s pretty drastic surgery for many people, but it does show just what a flexible and truly rounded product this is. For the non-technical surgeons, at least your data is safe and once you’ve got a fully working notebook getting your system back to where it was is a quick and simple process.
The initial full system backup, which takes a complete copy of your disk image, can be a lengthy business so make sure you do this when you have some spare time. Ongoing backups take no time at all though, making full use of the 5400rpm drive speed. There will also be some slight variation in transfer speed depending upon if you have a USB2 Windows version, or a FireWire Mac version, but nothing to write home about.
There is no need for an external power pack as the drive is powered through your USB2 connection by the notebook itself, and unless you have some real monster of a lappy you should find the 100GB capacity more than sufficient. To be truly safe, you need to keep your data backup separate from your notebook.
If you are using a USB flash memory stick for storing important documents this isn’t an issue because it will slip nicely into your pocket or handbag. Your entire system on a 100GB drive is always going to take up more room, and at 5 x 3 x 1in and around 7 ounces in weight, the ABSplus is going to make a bulge in your pocket. Still, better than carrying both together and running the risk of losing one, losing both.
Our only real complaint, and the reason why we have knocked a point off the review score, is that of value for money.
You can pick up a similar spec 100GB USB powered external drive for around half the price, and add your own backup software solution to save money. Although, to be fair, this might not save you time because the ABSplus is pretty much the easiest to use, totally automatic, backup and restore gizmo we have come across.
The fact that you can get a copy of the software that drives the thing, BounceBack Professional V7.1, as a standalone product priced from £49 for the PC version and £31 for the Mac version and you have to wonder about the cost of external drive itself and why it adds around £150 to the Mac product that we tested.
Ultimately the ABSplus is all about safety and simplicity, just plug it in and your notebook is automatically backed up.
Completely, OS, apps, data and all. What’s more it is backed up onto a fully bootable drive which might just get you out of the kind of trouble that other cheaper answers will barf at.
Sometimes, paying a premium is worth it...