Akasa DuoDockManufacturer: Akasa
UK Price (as reviewed): £28.95 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed):
The Icy Dock and Akasa Mounting Kit are both internal solutions but the DuoDock is very much a device that's bound for your desk. Considering its function, it first appears to be quite big and ungainly although not totally unattractive. It's available in black too and once fired up using the external adapter, you get the choice of base and top mounted lights too although these can be turned off.
So how on earth is it meant to connect an SSD to your PC you ask? Well it's not just 2.5in drives that can be hooked up via its USB 2 and eSATA ports but 3.5in hard drives can be too. This is all possible by placing the drive (interface first) into a trap door in the top of the DuoDock. Inside is a female SATA interface located so that 2.5in and 3.5in drives slot in. We would use the word 'easily' there but unfortunately it can take a few tries before the drive slides in to the interface.
It's when you place a 3.5in drive into the DuoDock that you're thankful it's as large as it is. The drive sticks out a fair way but is held relatively securely. Now it's time to consider what purpose it might actually serve. We've had occasional use both in our lab and at home, for such a device.
For example, another PC in your house might have died so rather than wiping its hard drive, you could, with the DuoDock, connect it to a working PC or laptop and retrieve your data. We've even had instances of a flaky XP installation being unable to fix itself but on installing the drive in a Vista PC, the OS detected bad sectors on the drive and managed to fix them so XP worked and files to be retrieved.
With SSDs being more portable than hard drives with some even coming with mini-USB ports, the DuoDock would make it that much easier to use an SSD as a robust, fast, fairly sizable portable drive, especially if you can take advantage of its eSATA port. Of course you'd need several drives to take advantage of the fact the DuoDock is hot swappable - if you just have one SSD you want to take from place to place then it would be easier to use a standard 2.5in portable enclosure and we certainly wouldn't recommend using a bare 3.5in hard drive as a portable backup device.