Article by Kevin Savetz

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ZIP 750, Iomega

What: New, higher-capacity incarnation of the Zip removable-disk drive. Details: Iomega's Zip 750 offers three times the storage capacity of the previous version, but at less than an inch high and four inches long, it hasn't gained much size or weight in the bargain. Accessing all that capacity (717 megabytes, according to Windows) would take too long over regular USB cables, so the Zip 750 uses the new USB 2.0 standard to speed up data transfers. In our tests, a USB 2.0-equipped PC read 685MB of data off the disk in about 4 1/2 minutes, vs. 15 1/2 minutes over a USB 1.1 connection. Write speeds didn't show quite the same improvement: The drive took about 14 1/2 minutes to write 685 megs of data over USB 2.0, against roughly 24 minutes with the slower connection. (Some new PCs include USB 2.0 ports, but most will need an upgrade card to take advantage of USB 2.0's speed; a FireWire version, compatible with any new Mac and some PCs, runs for $200, and Iomega says it will release an internal version of the drive soon.) This new drive also reads older, lower-capacity Zip disks but can't write to 100MB media. This attractive little gadget's competition, however, isn't other Zip hardware -- it's near-ubiquitous CD-RW drives. How do they compare? Zip 750 disks hold slightly more information than CDs, their contents are easier to edit and erase, and unlike CDs, they can't be ruined by a simple scratch. But recordable CDs, sold for as little as a few pennies per CD-R and $1 or so for a blank CD-RW, cost a lot less than Zip disks, which go for $9 in the 250MB size and $11 to $15 in the new 750MB format. Bottom line: Sleek, fast and portable, but CD-RW may be a better bet. -- Kevin Savetz

Win98 or newer/Win2000 or newer/Mac OS 8.6 or newer/Mac OS X 10.1 or newer, $180


Articles by Kevin Savetz