Standing out is hard enough in the often predictable and increasingly overcrowded world of PC peripherals, and when you focus upon the particular genre that is the portable hard drive the task becomes even more Herculean. But that has not stopped Prestigio from having a damn good crack at doing something different with data storage devices. Welcome to the art of hi-tech, to steal the Prestigio brand slogan.
Open the silver (well, OK, silver coloured cardboard) outer box to reveal the inner packaging consisting of two chocolate brown leather (well, OK, shiny brown cardboard) trays which slide in opposite directions to present you with the contents and you are immediately introduced to two concepts: Prestigio has gone for a feeling of style and glamour, but they have done it on a budget.
There is nothing actually wrong with the Data Safe II, in fact it is rather a decent little USB powered hard drive. We tested the 80GB version but for an extra £25 you could double that capacity. Whichever size you opt for you get the same tan leather enclosure and matching carry case. Unfortunately the latter is inexplicably enormous and more then doubles the width of the device, which means it most certainly no longer fits comfortably in the average pocket.
Without the carry case it measures just 62 x 101 x 12mm and weighs only 110g, and is certainly slim enough for your trousers. The former looks good though, if not exactly a million dollars, but it does stand out from the crowd. Which is more than the specs do, as this is a USB 2.0 powered, 4200rpm, 2.5” hard drive with a 2MB cache that is sitting under the cow skin.
We liked the discreet on/off switch and button marked "copy". We liked that copy button a lot because it is what you can press to initiate a one touch data backup simultaneously on your PC and on the Prestigio courtesy of the supplied software.
We like the fact that you can use the Prestigio with almost any computer, it works with Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP/ Windows 2003 Server/Vista, Mac OS 9.x and 10.x or higher (FAT32 format only) as well as Linux 2.4 or higher (FAT32 format only). We even quite like the public and private partitions, one of which can only be accessed with the correct password, should you opt to set it up in this secure fashion.
We are not so sure about the longevity of that posh looking enclosure though, it has to be said. The silver coloured metal banding that forms a band around the sides of the device feel very flimsy on our unit, squeeze the sides and they flex, pop and squeak rather a lot. The leather covering itself looks good from a distance, but doesn’t feel very thick nor luxurious once placed firmly in the palm of your hand. However, for just over £50 the Prestigio does represent pretty much the poshest looking external hard drive you are going to find...
Guilty perhaps of pandering more to style than substance, there is no doubting the wow factor of a tan leather covered portable hard drive. But your data will be just as safe without the dead cow involvement at the end of the day.