|Name||External hard drive: Iomega Mac Companion|
|At a glance:||Connects via USB or FireWire, with additional ports for printer, additional hard drives or other devices,Performance is reasonably speedy, whether using FireWire or USB,Bulky, but not onerously so|
|Summary:||Handy FireWire/USB hub and storage device, with an iPhone charging port.|
The 2TB Iomega Mac Companion is a surprisingly bulky piece of kit, given that it’s designed to go alongside a Mac. It’s reminiscent of an Apple TV or similar, with a rhomboid shape, black lid and silver body. On the front, four Mac-style indicator lights display the capacity remaining on the drive. At the side, it has an iPad/iPhone/iPod charging port, and at the rear, three USB 2.0 ports and two FireWire 800 ports.
You can connect the Mac Companion to a Mac using either the FireWire or USB ports. However, if you want to also sync your iPad, iPod or iPhone, or use the Companion as a USB hub, you have to plug it in via USB. Given that the drive's write speed over USB 2.0 (33Mbyte/s) is around half that of Firewire 800 (54Mbyte/s) based on our testing, that seems a steep price to pay, but it will depend on whether you want the Mac Companion as a busy and bustling shared drive or sit-and-store backup drive as to whether you’ll care about the speed.
I used the Mac Companion, while connected via USB 2.0, to connect my iPad 2 and update it to iOS5. The iPad triggered iTunes, synced across the Mac Companion, and updated without problems. There were a couple of occasions where plugging it into the charger port didn’t trigger charging, but if I plugged it into one of the other USB ports on the Companion first, then into the charging port, it charged successfully.
Overall, it’s a solid performer.