The first thing you need to know about the Iomega REV 35GB/90GB drive is that its name is a lie. The REV is an external hard drive with removable 35GB hard-disk cartridges, plain and simple. The “90GB” part of its name refers to the amount of data you could, in theory, store on each cartridge using data compression – but that’s assuming an extreme rate of compression that you’ll probably never see in your lifetime, particularly if you have many MP3 or JPEG files.
Once you get past the lie, you’ll find that Iomega’s REV drive is a serviceable solution for large-scale removable, portable storage. Unless you’ve got a massive amount of data, you can probably back up your entire notebook hard drive on a single cartridge. The backup utility that comes with the drive is easy to use: Just drag data folders into the utility’s window, set your backup options and schedule, and forget about it.
The REV drive is fast, writing data at an impressive 17.3MB per second and reading at 14.5MB per second. Using maximum compression, it will back up your data at about a third of that speed. The drive makes an alarming click-click-chung noise from time to time, but otherwise it’s quiet.
At just 1 pound (including a 2.8-ounce data cartridge), the REV is quite portable – though you’ll also need to include the 4.6-ounce travel charger. The included USB cable is just 3 feet long (the manual warns against using a longer one), which is a minor annoyance. And at $55 for each 35GB cartridge, the REV isn’t especially cheap. Still, the small size of the drive’s cartridges may be enough to make you overlook these inconveniences. -Dylan Tweney
Best Feature: Tiny cartridges hold an impressive 35GB
Worst Feature: You’ll pay a premium for that portability
Iomega REV 35GB/90GB External Drive
$332; $55 for each additional cartridge
Weight: 1 pound
Size: 6 x 4.3 x 1.2 inches
Specs: 35GB capacity per cartridge; USB 2.0; backup software included
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