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  250 MB Zip Drive

Iomega 250MB ZIP External USB Drive

Richard Price
5 June 2001

I don't know the Iomega design team, but they are sure churning out some good looking products and the new ZIP 250MB USB drive is no exception.

This slim, sleek stylish drive hardly takes up any room at all. It is approximately 11.5 x 17 x 1.5 cm. If that takes up too much desk space, a rubber cradle lets you stand it on its side. The fact that it receives both data and power through the USB cable means there is no bulky power adapter and power cord to worry about either.

Thank goodness! Some of those power units can be much bigger and more awkward than the products.

Setting up takes no time at all. All I did was plug it in. It comes with some software on a CD, but it looked remarkable similar to what I installed some time ago when I tested a 2GB Jaz drive. I took a chance and plugged the Zip drive straight into the test computer. It whirred into life and was easily recognised by Windows ME.

The 250 MB Zip disk itself is sturdy. It is physically not much bigger in size than a 1.4MB floppy disk and looks like it would easily withstand the trauma of any art department.

When something goes wrong with a 1.4 MB floppy though it is a simple matter of throwing it in the bin or using it for a coffee coaster --- no more disastrous then a blown light bulb and hardly any data is lost. A 250 MB disk is a different, more expensive beast.

When doing reviews I usually only have the product for a few weeks. But I had a 2GB Jaz disk from a unit I tested some time ago. While doing this review I discovered that my 2GB Jaz disk appears faulty and I cannot access the files.

A worse experience with a SyQuest drive and more important data many years ago has made me very suspicious of this type of storage device. Am I just technically challenged or are other people having problems with these large mega disks too?

A 250MB disk --- I believe it is also a new design --- is included in the package. The drive is compatible with all existing 250 MB and 100MB Zip disks and should also be able to be moved quite easily from desktop to laptop, to Windows PC to Mac. Of course there is never a Mac around when you need one!

The unit is quieter than I was expecting, only really getting noticeable when a disk is inserted or ejected. The only external control is the Eject button that doubles as an indicator light. Right-clicking the drive letter on the Windows desktop can just as easily eject the disk.

The drive should work with Linux Kernel 2.4.0, Win 95, and MacOS 8.1. --- as well as later versions.

Laptop owners will be pleased to note that because it is a USB device, it does not need to be connected through a PCMCIA slot. There is also a trendy little carry bag to pop the unit into when on the move.

Iomega also has a FireWire adapter for the Zip 250. I was not able to test this, but it sounds like a better option. FireWire should increase the read speed of the Zip 250 USB drive from 0.9 to over 2.0 MB/second.

Like the USB version there is also no need for a separate power supply. Provided the system has a 6-pin FireWire port, power for the Zip 250 USB drive power is supplied via FireWire. The specifications for USB are likely to change with the introduction of USB 2, but FireWire may still turn out to be the way of the future.

Price AU$469 (single 250 MB disk AU$35)


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