Hitachi has debuted the LifeStudio portable hard drive series, which the company boasts will "redefine external storage." That's a lot to live up to, but the LifeStudio drives are definitely more than your basic HDDs.
The LifeStudio HDDs feature a unique design, that is both glossy and modern, and some are somewhat complex. For example, anything with the tag name "Mobile" has a 2.5-inch detachable hard drive that fits comfortably into the cradle, while any of these models also toting the name "Plus" also sport a USB drive. That USB key is extra special since it discretely hosts a 4GB microSD card slot, which can hold up to 32GB.
[Image Gallery: Hitachi Mobile LifeStudio Plus]
Compatible with both Mac and PC systems, it is the software that really makes buying one of these LifeStudio drives a lifestyle choice. The LifeStudio sorting software comes preloaded on every drive with a 3D interface wall meant to organize and categorize multimedia in an aesthetically pleasing way. Based on the screenshot, it reminds me a bit of the Picasa software layout - just a lot flashier with more intense graphics. And like most media software programs rolling out these days, there's direct uploading access to Facebook and Flickr.
For extra back-up protection, users can opt to subscribe to the LifeStudio digital cloud space. Actually, everyone with one of these Hitachi drives will get 3GB of online storage for free. If that isn't enough, you can upgrade to 250GB for $49 per year.
The downside to the LifeStudio series is that it is only USB 2.0-compatible, and there is only a single USB port.
Pricing ranges from $79.99 for a 250GB LifeStudio Mobile to as high as $219.99 for the 2TB LifeStudio Desk Plus.