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Freecom launches CLS series

Freecom launches CLS series

The Freecom Mobile Drive CLS series hearkens back to the days of individually-labelled floppies.

For those who miss the days of floppy disks, Freecom's latest external storage drives just might bring back some fond memories - albeit at a price.

Designed for people who have several different categories of data to store - work files, home files, that 'private' image file collection you'd rather nobody knew about - the new Freecom Mobile Drive CLS appears at first glance to be a fairly standard, if smart looking, 2.5" external hard drive. However, with the inclusion of a clever docking system Freecom has created something fairly unique.

Each drive works as as stand-alone 2.5" USB-connected external drive, but the CLS Dock allows up to three such drives to be connected to a machine at the same time via a single USB port - with each drive standing proudly upright, label on display.

The labels - which are a rare sight for external drives these days, and hearken back to the days of floppy disks and hand-written notes frequently erased - form one-third of the drives' "Collect, Label & Store" moniker, and come in eight different colours for easy at-a-glance discrimination as to which drive contains work-safe material.

The design of the drives - which are a pocket-friendly 109.8 x 79.5 x 13.5 mm and enclosed in rubber for vibration dampening and sound proofing - is courtesy of Belgian designer Sylvain Willenz, and certainly goes some way to make the CLS series look like a pretty premium product.

And there's the rub: while the dock isn't too expensive at £14.99, each individual drive will cost you at least £64.99 - and that's just for the bottom-end 250GB model. The higher capacities - with 320GB, 500GB, 640GB, and 750GB also available - will cost increasing amounts, and when you consider that you really need at least three drives to make full use of the docking station the costs soon add up.

Do you think that the CLS concept is a good idea, or would you rather have a single large drive that stores all your data than a series of small drives and a clever docking station? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

17 Comments

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PQuiff 14th July 2010, 10:31 Quote
Love the idea...hate the price.
SoulRider 14th July 2010, 10:41 Quote
It is a good idea, but the price needs to be halved for it to tempt me.
Hustler 14th July 2010, 10:53 Quote
Lol...reminds me of my old 100mb Zip Disc drive.....anyone else remember those..?

Back in 1998/99 I used to download my MAME collection onto them, loveingly label and store them......cost a bloody fortune buying the discs....not to mention growing old waiting for them to write over the serial port!!!...

Wont be making that mistake again.
TWeaK 14th July 2010, 11:14 Quote
I think it's definitely overpriced. They should've made it USB3 but backwards compatible for a slightly higher dock price and the same HDD price, then it might be worthwhile.
mi1ez 14th July 2010, 11:49 Quote
why would you need a dock that holds 3 at once? i mean, sometimes you'd want to hold 2, but never really 3...
RichCreedy 14th July 2010, 12:35 Quote
they should make this a usb3 device
Altron 14th July 2010, 13:09 Quote
Again, USB3 would be great for something like this, since it would have enough bandwidth to use all three drives at the same time. Won't three drives be too much for a single USB2 connection, if you want to use them all together?
13eightyfour 14th July 2010, 13:45 Quote
If the drives are basically just 2.5" USB drives is there any thing to stop us buying the dock and modding it to fit normal priced drives?

Could you run 3 drives from a cheapo USB hub?
Bob1234 14th July 2010, 14:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
Lol...reminds me of my old 100mb Zip Disc drive.....anyone else remember those..?
<snip>
not to mention growing old waiting for them to write over the serial port!!!...

Yes, I still have 3 of them laying around at home, 1 parallel port (its this you remember as the slow ones), 1 USB+brick and 1 USB bus powered.

They were great in the days before USB sticks, but now, just seem so pointless.
mrplow 14th July 2010, 15:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13eightyfour
If the drives are basically just 2.5" USB drives is there any thing to stop us buying the dock and modding it to fit normal priced drives?

Could you run 3 drives from a cheapo USB hub?

This is quite an interesting point, although I'd suspect the dock is just a USB hub and the separate drives dock via USB (and perhaps even usb over a proprietary style port).
RichCreedy 14th July 2010, 17:44 Quote
buy 3 of cheaper one, crack open the case, bang in a 500gb drive :)
brave758 14th July 2010, 19:34 Quote
I like the idea
Cool_CR 14th July 2010, 22:15 Quote
The drives look very exposed and to much in the elbow zone. £65 for 250gb's ?????? the mind boggles well at least from the pic they are usb power so no extra cables and thats a really good thing but £210+ for a full set is more than my laptop is worth.
l3v1ck 15th July 2010, 05:29 Quote
If the dock had a network port so you could use it as a NAS device, then I'd be interested.
Tasslehoff 15th July 2010, 11:03 Quote
wow how expensive, great idea though but to get a reasonable storage size would be stupidly expensive
Sparrowhawk 15th July 2010, 21:10 Quote
Great concept, especially considering that you could ditch non-SSD internal storage completely.
But... why not just sell it as a base station + three external drive caddys where you supply your own 2.5" drives? Sure, margins would be slimmer, but you'd sell a metric butt-ton more.
thewelshbrummie 18th July 2010, 15:40 Quote
Looks really useful in principle for splitting data as suggested in the article but agree on both price and lack of USB 3 support - even 2.5" HDDs would show increased transfer speeds using it. And it's just too expensive when a 640GB drive can be had for an extra fiver over the 250GB model of this.
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