Win 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, Linux 2.4 or higher, Mac OS
8.6 or higher
USB drives seem
to be everywhere you look. A great idea for portable file storage, these little
devices can be stowed almost anywhere… But how about a portable USB device
that you never have to worry about losing because it’s always attached to you? The
LAKS USB Memory Watch available from
ThinkGeek is just such a device. This
watch includes everything you need for a file storage device on the go.
The USB Memory Watch is an unassuming analog watch with a
Japanese movement and 3-year battery life. It has
a black plastic or resin body with brushed aluminum trim around the face. The
straps are a soft black rubber material. Unfortunately for me, the watch is too
large for my wrist. Even at the smallest setting, it is too loose. It is also a
little too masculine for me… But then, the watch is probably marketed more
towards men anyway. I did have a male friend of mine try the watch on, and he
commented that it felt ok on his wrist. As far as size, the watch is 1.5" width
x .375" thick (watch face) and weighs 1.5 oz (43 grams).
Feature wise, the watch does two things. It tells time and it has flash
memory built in that you can transfer to a PC, Mac or Linux box via USB. You
might be thinking, "Do I have to carry around a USB cable, and where does it
plug into the watch?" Guess what? The cable is built directly into the watch!
It’s hidden in the strap with a very ingenious design. The strap loop is
actually a cover for a standard sized USB connector. The plastic loop can be
pulled down to allow the short USB cable to separate from the strap. The cable
is only about 2.5in long, but that should be adequate for plugging into the USB
port on a PC or laptop. If not, a longer (41in) extension cable is included that
you can carry with you to use when needed.
The watch is entirely plug and play for current operating systems (a driver
for Windows 98 is included on a CD). I tested this watch with Windows XP Pro and
Home. No drivers were required. Just plug it in, wait a few seconds for the
computer to recognize the device, and boom, a new drive shows up under My
Computer. From there, you can drag and drop files to your heart’s content.
When the watch is plugged in to a USB port, a very small red LED in the 9
o’clock location on the front of the watch, will slowly blink like a heart beat.
When files are being transferred to and fro, the LED blinks more rapidly.
Transferring files is quite speedy. Reading speed is
1000KB/second, while writing speed is 920KB/second.
For those of you that are worried about file security,
you can password protect a partition on the watch using the file utility
software included on CD. Problem is, that the utility software will need to be
installed on every machine you want to plug the watch into, if you want to see
those protected files. Using the utility software, you can partition the file
area into a public area a password protected area, or both. The nice thing is
that even if you have a password on the security area partition, you can still
access the public area partition without needing the utility software. The
secure partition will just not show up on a machine that does not have the
utility software installed on it.
The USB Memory Watch is a handy way to transport files to and from work.
Sometimes I’ll download a program at work because we have a T1 line there. It’s
nice to be able to offload that file to the watch and then install it on my
machine at home.
I should also point out that the watch is shock proof
and anti-static. So you don’t have to worry about losing your info if drop it or
get zapped by a static spark on a dry day.
There are a couple of things I would change about this
watch if it were up to me. I’d add a date function, make it available in
different colors, and make the stem longer (it’s a little difficult to set the
time as it is so short). I’d also make a smaller size for women. If you’re in
the market for a USB drive and also need a watch, be sure and check this one
Price: $149.99 (256mb), $99.99 (128mb)
USB storage on the go
Can be password protected
Plug and play
Doesn’t show the date
Short stem, difficult to set time