(Pocket-lint) - Hard drives just get smaller and smaller don't they? First they jumped from the desk, then they became portable, and now if you are willing to reduce the storage capacity, they can even fit on to your key ring.

Hoping to find a market somewhere between the "so small you'll lose it" option, and the "oh my god it's bigger than my house" sentiment, the Samsung S1 Mini is a 120GB 1.8-inch drive that is considerably smaller than the 2.5-inch portable offerings you are used to, but still bigger than a thumb drive.

The S1 Mini breaks the boring rule by coming in an array of colours including bright pink. The glossy front casing, faux metal sidebars and textured backplate make this small and sexy (yes we just described a hard drive as sexy) when compared with your average black box.

Minimalist in its design, there are no buttons. In fact all you get is a single bar of light (Samsung blue of course) at the top to let you know that it's plugged in.

Plugging it in is done via a standard Mini-USB socket and power is drawn from your computer meaning you don't need to drag any powerpacks around with you.

To make sure the cardboard box is as small as the device, the software comes installed on the FAT-32 formatted drive rather than a CD so just make sure you save it to your hard drive before wiping the S1 Mini ready to load with your data.

Only coming in one size currently, the drive offers you enough space to get most jobs done. If you base your average photo at 4MB that's around 30,000 photos or around 60 feature-length movies.

Being Samsung, Mac users are left in the cold, however Windows users will get two applications: SecretZone and a backup application.

SecretZone, as the name suggests allows you to create secret partitions on the drive that are password protected. If you don't have the password the drive doesn't exist to you. The Auto backup solution is basic and with only 120GB at your disposal we can't see much use for it.

In tests the 1.8-inch drive is nippy in performance allowing us to copy files quickly to and from the drive and certainly comparable to 2.5-inch drives we had lying around the office (Seagate and Western Digital to namedrop).


The Samsung S1 Mini is certainly small, we were shocked when we got it out of the box at just how small it really is. However the price you pay for having a 120GB drive the size of a pack of playing cards is that it is expensive. At £130 it's over twice the price of a 500GB 2.5-inch drive pricing a 500GB (they don't make them yet) around the £540 marker. That's around 10 times the price of a 500GB 2.5-inch drive at the moment.

So it comes down to whether you really need a largish storage solution (i.e., 120GB) in such a small package. I mean it's not as if you are going to be carrying this in your jeans pocket when you head out on a date (or maybe you are).

The S1 Mini offers good on performance and size, but let down against the slightly larger competition when it comes to affordability.

Writing by Stuart Miles.