DigitalCameraReview.com
Imaging Features of the palmOne LifeDrive
by Ben Stafford -  5/18/2005

I had a chance to get my hands on a palmOne LifeDrive.  The LifeDrive is a new "mobile manager" from palmOne that includes a 4GB Microdrive.  Not only does it do the usual PIM functions, like calendaring, todos, contacts, but the increased storage opens up other options like image, movie and music storage and playback.  Another option with the large storage capacity is to put the LifeDrive in "Drive Mode", attach it to your PC with a USB cable and you have a 4GB removable drive where you can copy files back and forth with or use as backup.

Since this is a digital camera site, I just wanted to examine some of the imaging related features and functions.  For full coverage of the device, head over to bargainpda.com, but for now, I'll give you a quick overview:

For camera owners, specifically those with cameras that use SD cards, the LifeDrive can provide a nice way to carry extra storage with you, especially when you use a PDA and/or want to use the same device for playing back your music.  When you insert an SD or MMC card, the Camera Companion application starts up.  This app prompts you to Copy to Device, Copy to Computer, or View Photos and Video.  See the screenshot below.

The Media application lets you view the images and movies in a thumbnail format or a vertical format with more file information.  From the Media application, you can choose images to email, create and manage albums and create and run slideshows as well as viewing pictures and playing movies.

It will be interesting to see some full reviews of this device hit the web, as in my experience, the hard drive accesses takes a little getting used to.  There is often a bit of a pause while the hard drive is accessed, more so than if the image were directly in RAM (as expected).  The set of applications included with the LifeDrive seem very solid.  Transferring images was very easy and intuitive.  In fact, all of the imaging applications were very easy to use.

I'm impressed with the device overall.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if there is some glitchiness with this initial release.  I had a couple instances where the device locked up and required a reset.  At an MSRP of $499, it's more expensive than other "storage vault" type devices, but if you're looking for a PDA too, this would definitely be a good option.  As an additional plus, it can also act as a media player, but it will have a hard time competing with devices that are purely media players (like the ipod).