Product Notes
By the eReport Editorial Staff (Edited by Jeffrey Allen)

Hot Products for Lawyers on the Go

iPod Mini

Not satisfied with its gigantic market share in the MP3 Player market earned through the dominance of its iPod, Apple Computer recently released iPod’s reduced-size sibling, the iPod Mini. The Mini is smaller in every measurement than the iPod. It measures 3.6” x 2.0” x 0.5” and weighs only 3.6 ounces. The Mini comes in an anodized aluminum case, and you get to choose among 5 colors: silver, gold, pink, blue, or green. Apple reorganized the controls for the Mini, but they are similar in structure to the iPod and easy enough to use. The Mini comes with 25 minutes of skip protection and claims a battery life of up to 8 hours per charge (if you figure in normal use, you are good for 5–6). The Mini includes a charger, cable, belt clip, and Apple’s regulation issue earphones. You can acquire an upgraded set of earphones, an armband carrier, and a mini dock as well as the iPod remote unit at extra cost from Apple. Third parties have already released a variety of cases and other accessories. The Mini works with both Mac OS X (10.1.5 or higher) and with Windows 2000 (SP4) or XP and requires built in FireWire or a USB 2.0 port or Windows certified USB 2.0 Card. The Mini costs $249. It comes in one capacity, a 4-gigabyte hard drive. If you use it only for MP3 music, it should hold about 1,000 songs. (Note: If you are contemplating upgrading headphones, consider getting noise attenuating headphones such as those made by Bose or Sony).

 CrossFire Hard Drive
For some time, SmartDisk has been one of our favorite external hard disk drives. We have used the FireLite for daily back up, travel, and as an emergency disk for some time. Built in a similar style to the FireLite, SmartDisk’s CrossFire hard drives provide an excellent and dependable large capacity drive for desktop use either as a supplemental working drive or as a backup device. The CrossFire drives come with a combination interface (you can also get smaller drives with a USB interface only) so that they work with FireWire or USB 2.0 (or 1.1) ports and are compatible with both the Mac OS (8.6, 9.x and X (10.1)) or higher and the Windows platforms (98 SE, ME, 2000, and XP). The 8.7” x 5.0” x 1.5” Crossfire comes in 120, 160, 200, and 250 Gigabyte capacities; SmartDisk builds the CrossFire with a 7200 RPM hard drive. Price range is from $169 for a USB-only interface, 120 GB drive to $349 for a combination FireWire/USB-interface, 250 GB drive. Smart Disk sells all sizes in Windows format, and only the 160 GB combination interface in a Mac OS format. Not to worry, Mac people—Mac OS X reads and writes to the Windows format without a problem. If you happen to have both Windows and Mac OS computers, you could use the same drive with both types. Alternatively, you can simply reformat the drive.

On the Go Hard Drive
Other World Computing, another one of our favorite external hard disk providers has upgraded its On the Go Pro external hard disk line to include a 5400 RPM 2.5” hard disk drive manufactured by Hitachi. The On the Go line has been comprised of 4200-RPM units; and the new faster drive adds speed to the performance and a small increase to the price over its equivalent sized 4200-RPM units. All the On the Go units sport a 3.5” x 5.5” x 1” clear plastic housing allowing you to see the components. The unit weighs in at a svelte 11 ounces. The 5400-RPM unit only comes in an 80 GB size. The cost is $329.99 as compared to $299.99 for the 4200RPM unit. Both units include both USB and FireWire connections and cables, as well as an AC adapter and a lightweight case useful only for keeping everything together as it contains virtually no padding. The disk drive weighs approximately 11 ounces and can be easily fit into most laptop computer bags. The On the Go Drives have proven stable, reliable, and relatively rugged. A good choice for Road Warriors or for use as a daily back up drive.

 Fujitsu Lifebook S2020 Laptop
A well-made lightweight reliable performer for the lawyer on the go. The test box came with 512MB RAM, 60 GB hard drive, modular DVD/CD-RW combo drive, integrated 802.11b/g wireless LAN, integrated multinational 56K v.90 modem, 10/100 Base–Tx Ethernet, and Windows XP Professional. Fujitsu drives the computer with a low-voltage mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 2100+ processor (translate that into better battery life) and delivers it with a 13.3” XGA TFT display that is quite clear and readable. The laptop comes with 2 USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire port. The computer comes with an integrated track pad. The S2020 weighs 4.3 pounds configured as the test unit. Removing the optical drive and replacing it with a weight saver (plastic frame) reduces the weight to only 3.85 pounds. List price for that configuration is $1,599. Two comments about the keyboard, though. (1) Because it is compressed, some of the keys have been cut in size so that all keys are not uniformly sized. For example, the ?/ key and the >. key are each about 2/3 the size of the other keys. Initially this feels unusual, but it is a relatively easy adjustment. (2) The keyboard feels a little bit spongy. You will not likely notice it if you have a light touch, but will feel it if you hammer the keys. Bottom line: The computer worked quite satisfactorily. It installed and ran software competently and without any noticeable problems. It is lightweight and portable and comes at a reasonable price and with a decent warranty and support program. It offers a good value to the lawyer who needs a computer for travel or courtroom use.

Neither the ABA nor ABA Sections endorse non-ABA products or services, and the product reviews in the Technology eReport should not be so construed.


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