USB flash drives are all very well, but for carrying around large quantities of data, only a portable hard drive will do. The Apollo UX 500GB model from Imation is small enough to fit in most pockets.

It's rubberised too, so it's able to take knocks and bumps as you carry it around. Like all portable drives it's solely USB-powered, with no need for an external power supply. There's no facility for connecting a second USB port for additional power, though it doesn't really need one.

In our tests, it successfully mounted when connected through two different unpowered USB hubs and even an aluminium Apple keyboard, though connection through an old plastic keyboard eluded it.

The drive is an attractive matte black, with a white front panel housing a blue LED power and operation indicator.

In our benchmarking tests, the Apollo UX delivered a random read speed of 11.6MB/s and random writes of 17.2MB/s. These are decent figures that see the Apollo UX marginally outperform the six hard drives we tested a while back as part of a group test.

Unaugmented USB is all that's on offer, though – there's no FireWire connectivity or turbo software available.

At £110, the Apollo UX is at the high end of what you'd expect to pay for a 500GB portable USB hard drive offering, though market forces will probably drive this down to around £80-£90. At those prices, it will be a bargain.

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