Having lost the HD format war to Blu-ray, Toshiba believes that the future of hi-def movies will be downloads and not discs. Though we've still got some way to go before this becomes reality, there's no doubting the increasing popularity of the use of the digital file.

Whether it be MP3 (music), JPEG (photos) or DiVX (movies), digital media takes up a lot of space on your computer, making it necessary to invest in an external drive. Enter the HDDR400E03E.

With dimensions closer to those of a vintage audio cassette and weighing just 155g, it's perfect for carrying around in a pocket or handbag. Options are available with 160GB, 250GB, 320GB or 400GB capacity.

400GB of digital goodness

We ran the latter model through the Tech Lab and found it capable of storing up to 114,000 photos, 105,000 MPEG3s, 177hr of standard-definition video or 47hr of HD material, which is more than enough for even the casual user.

Powered by USB 2.0, we found it to be fast and efficient and robust enough to take the odd bump or bash inside a bag, thanks to the internal shock sensor and ramp loading technology. It provides simple plug and play operation on both PCs (Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or Vista) and Macs (OSX 10.3.9 or later), provided that they have an available USB 2.0 port.

Sleek and beautifully designed, this is an excellent way to carry digital material around and with a price tag that doesn't break the bank, it could well be the shape of things to come.