Product Review: Iomega REV 70 removable hard drive

15 Nov 2006

It ain’t what you store, it’s the way that you store it. One of the most frustrating things about backing up your data – assuming you were ever bothered to do it properly in the first place – was the mind-numbing wait during the transfer from PC to the storage media, where it seemed like every file was being ferried across one by one on a rickshaw.

I’d argue that was a primary reason for taking your chances and not diligently archiving important documents and files as a precaution against the moment every computer user is in denial about – when years’ worth of precious documents, photos and assorted bits and pieces disappear, possibly never to return. This is usually soon followed by a swift movement of hand to forehead, with the words “Why didn’t I…?”

Well now you’ve no excuse. If tape is too slow, maybe it’s worth taking a look at Iomega’s REV backup device (pictured). It’s so called because it’s short for revolutionary, since this device takes a very different approach to storing data. Instead of archiving on a tape or CD, this backs up to a hard drive which you can then remove and store away from the computer or even in another location. Iomega has managed to separate the disc platter from the motor which reads the data, allowing this to happen.

Full disclosure: during the review, my notebook couldn’t read the drive the first time I tried to plug it in to my laptop but with a bit of persistence we got there in the end.

The REV drive works with a USB 1.1 connection, but Iomega recommends a USB 2.0 for best results. And what results: the version which we tested has a whopping 70GB capacity (it also comes in a 35GB format) and files fairly zipped along. Up to eight times faster is Iomega’s claim, which we can’t vouch for. But it was definitely quick and seeking files that have been backed up also proved to be much faster than it would be on traditional media.

There was a time, well within living memory, when the height of sophistication in personal data storage was putting your floppy disks into a hard plastic case, as if that would protect their precious contents from dust and time. With the REV’s hard disk, once it’s removed from the casing which holds the motor, Iomega claims it doesn’t need to be kept in a special environment. It also promises a 30-year shelf life for any data stored on it.

The REV is neither pitched nor priced at the home market but instead is intended for the typical small business. At €603 incl Vat (€499 without) for the basic drive I’d argue it’s firmly in the price range of a small company rather than a computer enthusiast anyway. If you can bring yourself to start thinking seriously about backups – and you really should – then Iomega’s option is definitely one to consider.


Handling: ****
Features: ****
Performance: ****
Value for Money: ***

By Gordon Smith