While it’s not for everyone, Sony’s
Micro Vault, a USB-based storage media device, will meet the needs of a certain segment of Mac users.
The device, which is slightly larger than my thumb, can be plugged into a USB port for dragging and dropping data. It mounts very quickly under Mac OS X and is pretty darn fast with its transfer speed of 1.5 MB per second.
The downside to the Micro Vault is its price. It comes in color-coded cases (based on storage capacity), including a 16 MB (orange), 32 MB (red), 64 MB (blue) and 128 MB (black) models for suggested list prices of US$49.99, $89.99, $149.99 and $299.99, respectively. This isn’t the product for you if you’re looking for inexpensive, high volume storage options.
However, if you need a small device for quickly transporting and sharing files between computers without cables or adapters, it may be worth the money. For instance, I’ll certainly be using my Micro Vault at this summer’s Macworld New York to quickly exchange data, such as digital photos, with Peter and Jim, my MacCentral compadres. It can also be used to store presentation materials, and digital audio and video files.
Plug in the Micro Vault and a green LED display pulses to show it’s connected. Begin transferring data and the LED flashes quickly. There’s no external power supply, as the device is solely powered through the USB port.
The Micro Vault USB media device doesn’t require software drivers when used with Mac OS 9.x and Mac OS X 10.x (it doesn’t work with earlier versions of the Mac operating system). It has a cap which acts as a convenient cover and protector of the USB contact points; it also doubles as a way to attach the Micro Vault to a keychain or necklace.
I do have one complaint: the Micro Vault offers Security Zone software for Windows users. The software lets you create a “security zone” on the device. Data within this zone is password-protected, ensuring the privacy of the files when the Micro Vault device is shared with others or if it’s ever misplaced. The SecurityZone is Windows only for now, but Sony says they’re considering bringing the functionality for the Mac, as well. Let’s hope they do. Feature parity is what we Mac users want.
The Micro Vault USB device is in stores and online.