Canyon 20GB Portable Data storage

7 Jul 2005

Product: Data storage solution
Price: €295
The rapid growth of digital cameras and digital music have led to a largely unforeseen problem — what to do with all those digital files? As the hard disks of the nation’s PCs and laptops become increasingly clogged with such files, users are looking for ways to offload some of that content. While many seem happy to carry their core music collections around with them on their iPod, many others will think it is too risky and will want to back up their music files somewhere other than on their computer hard disk. Similarly with the pictures and video taken on digital cameras.

The Canyon 20GB Portable Data storage device is one of the many storage solutions emerging to fill this vacuum. Comprising a 1.8-inch hard disk drive, it can store up to 20,000 high-resolution (3MP) photos. It comes with PC software, which allows you to copy and back up files from your computer hard disk. It can also back up/copy files direct from a digital camera, USB stick or card reader.

The styling of the device is sober and businesslike — an effect underlined by the black and silver casing. At approximately 7cm x 6cm and just over 2cm thick, it is certainly portable and comes with a carry case with belt attachment for this purpose. On the front is a small display, which allows you to perform various operations in tandem with a four-way navigation pad to the right. This allows you to choose between the different functions such as copying, backing up and deleting files, as well as locate other options such as setting the time and date and seeing how much storage space you have left on the device. We found navigation was not always easy or intuitive such that an alternative input mechanism such as stylus and touchpad would have been very welcome.

Another shortcoming was its extremely short built-in USB lead; for ease of use alone a separate lead to connect the device to a PC would be needed.

The device is powered by its own built-in rechargeable battery, which charges up in an hour or less and is able to copy a 256MB memory card about 20 times on one charge, says Canyon. To save on battery life, the machine automatically switches off after two minutes, emitting a short beep to signal this has happened.

Given that many digital music players can also double as portable hard disks these days, to succeed as a storage-only device, the Canyon 20GB Portable Data storage needs to be very affordable as well as intrinsically useful. While it definitely fits the bill in terms of usefulness, a price tag of €295 may well put some buyers off.

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By Brian Skelly