My husband is a somewhat geeky Mac user. We both love our Macs but he leans more toward exotic hardware and I lean more toward practical software. Go figure.
What is it that really turns on a Mac man? Hardware. Gadgets. Tools. A new hard drive. My latest Mac gift to my husband combines all the best features of technological romance. Unique, removable, flexible, inexpensive, always ready.
Before you begin to get the idea that I’m some kind of gadget gymnast or techno contortionist, please be advised that I am as practical as a blonde can be. I know what my husband likes and I deliver the goods.
What? Are you perspiring? Puhleeze. We’re talking Mac hardware here. As in a quad core MacPro, my husband’s second joy and pride (hint: I think I’m third or fourth).
I do some work for an ad agency in San Francisco and was visiting their offices last week. One of their techno geeks… alright—support personnel—was updating someone’s Mac using an external device I’d never seen before.
Right beside the Mac was this little black box with a hard drive sticking out of the top. So, I stopped for a moment and asked the support guy what it was. He didn’t even bother to look up.
Normally, when I ask a guy a question I get an answer right away. Sometimes a stammer, a stutter, and a stare, but an answer.
In this case I got a glance and a single word reply. “Voyager,” he said. All I could think of is that he was playing for the other team. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It turns out that the little black box is the Voyager Q hard drive docking station. That’s right. It’s a docking station for hard drives. You thought I was kidding?
My husband loves powerful devices and he’s on his third very powerful Mac device in the past few years. First, a PowerMac G5, then one of the first Intel MacPros, and now the quad core MacPro.
What that means is this—he’s got extra hard drives lying around all over the place. Some are back up, some are extras, some haven’t even been used, and some came as original hardware in the Macs, which means they’re old but haven’t died yet.
The common denominator for all his hard drive addiction is that they’re all big hard drives and they’re all SATA drives, the slightly more expensive kind you find in all Macs these days, and in many PCs.
The NewerTech Voyager, which comes in two models, takes SATA hard drives and lets you connect them to a Mac or PC without having to put the hard drive in the Mac or PC. It’s a docking station.
Plug the hard drive in the top of the Voyager, press the start button, and a few seconds later, for USB or Firewire, the hard drive shows up on the Mac’s desktop. Is that absolutely cool, or what?
Will I ever use one? Not a chance. But I ordered one for my husband right way. Why? Hey, I know the way to a Mac man’s heart, remember? Hardware.
The Voyager is a little black box about three inches high, six inches deep, and four inches wide. It has a single on/off button on the front with a cool blue light when on.
There’s also an eject lever on the front. The top has a lid which opens when you insert either a 3.5 inch SATA I/II drive, or a 2.5 inch SATA I/II notebook drive.
Did I mention that the Voyager is ugly? It just looks totally out of place next to a new aluminum clad Mac screen, and looks worse with a hard drive sticking out of the top.
Literally. It sticks out of the top. It’s not enclosed in anything. It’s open and free as a bird.
It’s also cool and surprisingly quiet. And it works. Plug in a drive, turn it on, back up your Mac, put away the drive, turn it off, take out the drive for safe storage away from your Mac. That’s some pretty handy Mac back up going on there.
Internal hard drives are less expensive than external drives, and the Voyager makes it easy to do multiple back ups, then remove the drive for safe keeping.
The Voyager can handle up to two terabyte drives. There’s a power brick to connect to the back, and two models—one with a quad interface (FW 800, FW 400, USB, eSATA) called the Q, and the vanilla model with just FW and USB. The Voyager models are $99 and $59, respectively.
Is this thing really a good idea? I think so. It’s not for me. I don’t like touching electrical devices that make whirring noises, but you should have seen my husband’s face. It was like I had gone to Victoria’s Secret—except he wasn’t looking at me.
He spent a few hours formatting drives, backing up this and that, testing back up speeds, and generally admiring his loving wife’s thoughtfulness, without actually saying so for a few hours.
For a quiet evening at home and that satisfied feeling that only comes when you know your data is safe, this is one piece of hardware that deserves a second look.