Vosonic X’S-Drive Review

October 15, 2003 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 38 Comments | |

Vosonic X'S-DriveI’ve just posted my review of the Vosonic X’S-Drive portable storage device. Storage is one of the main problems that digital photographers face. Memory cards quickly fill up and are relatively expensive to buy. Find out why I bought a Vosonic X’S-Drive and what I think about this portable storage solution.

Website: Vosonic X’S-Drive Review

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#1 JB

Sounds like a good product; thanks for the review. You mentioned that portable CD burners are also available. I think these would be more suitable for my needs. I had not heard of them before. Could you point me in the direction of a web site that sells them or give me some specific product names to look for? Thanks...

9:57 pm - Wednesday, October 15, 2003

#2 Mark Goldstein

There are a couple of CD-based storage devices that I know of. Here are the links:

DigiMagic DM220

which is distributed in the UK by Intro 2020

10:31 pm - Wednesday, October 15, 2003

#3 JB


10:42 pm - Wednesday, October 15, 2003

#4 Timo

I just purchased the XS Drive II for an extended trip to South America and Australasia, I am glad you have found the previous version to be reliable: there is something very worrying about trusting a device with no visible display.

The device seems great on first impressions, I will report back in a few months after a few thousand miles of road testing...

10:49 pm - Wednesday, October 15, 2003

#5 Mark Goldstein

There really isn't too much difference between the first and second versions - just the faster USB interface and a light redesign of the LEDs/buttons.

Once you've got over the initial worry of not being able to check what you've copied across, the X'S Drive is worth it's weight in gold.

10:54 pm - Wednesday, October 15, 2003

#6 Rob Roy


Do you have any experience with the Disk Steno?

I'm tossing up between the X'S Drive and the Disk Steno.


10:24 am - Thursday, October 16, 2003

#7 Mark Goldstein

Hi Rob,

I'm afraid I've never even seen the Apacer Steno in a shop before. I was quite interested in getting one back in April when I bought my 10D, but they had only just been announced and weren't available until a few months later.

1:16 pm - Thursday, October 16, 2003

#8 jon

This is a link to the Vosonic X'S Drive II at the Computer Geeks website:


10:18 pm - Thursday, October 16, 2003

#9 Mark Goldstein

Thanks for the link jon - $91.99 is a great price for the X'S Drive II. It also shows one of the major differences between the first version that I own and the newer one - the large LCD screen, which effectively replaces all of the small LEDs of the first version.

2:43 pm - Friday, October 17, 2003

#10 Jon Read

I bought an X'S-Drive II and fitted it with a 40Gb HD just before going on a 2-week vacation.

I've just got back, and can say that it performed flawlessly. It survived being carried around and used in a shoulder bag constantly, and a 1m drop onto a tiled floor (when switched off).

I too was a little worried about not having a display to check stored images on (although shooting in Minolta RAW format, no other device would actually be able to display anything other than the associated thumbnail). Due to this I ended up with several copies of some CF card's contents - better to store an image twice than to think you've stored it but actually forgotten!

I would have liked the device to store status information, so that when it's set copying and left you could see if there was any problem next time you switch it on. As it was, I made sure the battery never ran down by checking before and after the copy. I was also quite paranoid about checking that it was actually copying - I think the original X'S-Drive might be better for that, as you can more easily see blinking LEDs in a dark bag than a flashing LCD.

Six minutes to copy a CF card though? Beware if you're using slow cards - my el cheapo 512Mb PQI card takes around 14 *minutes* to copy to the device.

Still, two weeks and over 2,000 photographs later, I have brought back some great images - even if it's taking me weeks to sort through them all!


7:19 pm - Monday, October 20, 2003

#11 Mark Goldstein

Hmmm...512Mb PQI card...that's the brand that I use! And it definitely takes around 6 minutes to copy the full card, not 14...My PQI card is the 24x hi-speed version - maybe that accounts for the difference?

So you took 2000 images in Cuba?! Let us know when you've posted some!

7:29 pm - Monday, October 20, 2003

#12 Jon Read

From eBuyer? It seems to be luck if you get the hi-speed 24x version or not - I didn't. :-(

I didn't really find 14 minutes too much of a problem as I was using 2 cards, but it does obviously mean that the X'S-Drive's battery will run out more quickly.

And yes, over 2,000 images in Cuba! There are fantastic photographs to be taken everywhere over there, you tend to become a bit blase about scenes you would usually kill for. I'll be putting some online over the course of this week, as time allows, and let you know.


8:37 pm - Monday, October 20, 2003

#13 Mark Goldstein

I bought my cards from a UK based trader on eBay - they cost me ?75 each, which isn't too bad for a 512Mb card.

Did you continue to walk around taking photos as the X'S Drive was copying files? I tend to have a bit of a sit down and a cup of tea, just in case :-)

I'd *really* love to go to Cuba - your pics may just convince me to buy some tickets :-)

9:02 pm - Monday, October 20, 2003

#14 Jon Read

No, I continued to walk around. I either had the drive in my shoulder bag, or even in a trouser pocket when I didn't have the bag with me. No problems there at all - laptop drives are fairly sturdy as long as they're not dropped while the heads are flying. Plus there was no time to sit down, too many shots to be taken :-)

If you do get the chance to go, I'd highly recommend it. We spent 9 nights in a beach resort (Las Brisas, Guardalavaca) with some trips (dodgy ex-USSR helicopter to Santiago de Cuba, swimming with dolphins, pony trap tours etc). From others we spoke to, it was a better choice than the other tourist resort of Veradero. Then we flew up to Havana and stayed 4 nights in the middle of the old town (La Habana Vieja) in a hotel converted from an old colonial (c1835) house - three stories, central courtyard, you know the sort of thing. This is where it got *really* interesting on the photography front - my A1 hardly got a chance to cool down!

Cuba does seem to be a very safe country to visit, the people are friendly, and it really is quite unique. As a tourist you do tend to get targetted by cigar sellers and others on the streets, but a firm "No moleste, por favor" always did the trick - no-one ever took offence. There are police on every street corner and in many doorways, which feels reassuring to a tourist but may be somewhat oppressive to locals.

Sorry, I'm going on a bit now :-) IMHO it's a country well worth seeing while it's still held in it's own perculiar kind of time warp.


9:43 pm - Monday, October 20, 2003

#15 JB

Sorry, I know I'm getting way off-topic here, but I just read yesterday that the U.S. government is increasing the crackdown on Americans who travel to Cuba. They're going to start using anti-terrorism resources to track Americans who go there via third countries such as Mexico and Canada. Well, everyone knew that this was going to happen - the abuse of anti-terrorism resources and powers to combat things that have nothing to do with terrorism. Story at http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/americas/10/19/cuba.us.tourism.ap/index.html

1:36 am - Tuesday, October 21, 2003

#16 Mark Goldstein

"The U.S. Treasury Department effectively prohibits most Americans from traveling here by making it illegal for them to spend money on the island." Wow, I didn't know that. Let's hope Tony Blair doesn't follow suit...

5:10 pm - Tuesday, October 21, 2003

#17 Jon Read

The effect that the US embargo has on Cuba is terrible. It is, however, partly what has shaped the country into the experience that it is.

I didn't know it was illegal for Americans to spend money in Cuba - although I did hear a tale of a woman who was find $7500 for bringing back a few trinkets made by local craftspeople.

The use of anti-terrorism measures to restrict tourism is despicable - but we knew it would happen sooner or later.

7:03 pm - Tuesday, October 21, 2003

#18 James

Any ideas where I can buy one of these in the UK? As you say, scan.co.uk no longer carries them. xs-drive.com sell them, but are charging ?100 for the USB1.1 version!!!

4:47 am - Saturday, October 25, 2003

#19 Mark Goldstein

Have you tried Dabs.com? They might stock it.

Hold on, I'll do a quick search for you...

3:37 pm - Saturday, October 25, 2003

#20 Sue

I bought mine at Best Buy in the States.

9:59 pm - Sunday, October 26, 2003

#21 Howard Margolis

Great review. Informative. Thanks.

Live long and prosper;


5:52 pm - Thursday, October 30, 2003

#22 Mark Goldstein

Cheers Howard! I'm glad you found it useful.

6:06 pm - Thursday, October 30, 2003

#23 js

isnt it cheaper to get an ipod which doubles up as an mp3 player and looks cooler

8:49 am - Friday, October 31, 2003

#24 Mark Goldstein

You would have to buy an iPod and a Belkin card reader adaptor. That would be much more expensive than an X'S Drive, at least here in the UK anyway.

7:54 pm - Friday, October 31, 2003

#25 Jerry Greenberg

I have used an X's-Drive for about 4 months with similiar experiences. A very useful piece of equipment

2:01 pm - Sunday, November 16, 2003

#26 Jack Schiffer

I am using I/O magic I guess it's the american version
of Vosonic X's drive. It is A great product love it.
great review.

7:58 pm - Thursday, November 20, 2003

#27 Mark Goldstein

Yesm that company's product looks as though it is just a rebranded version of the Vosonic X'S Drive:


10:41 am - Friday, November 21, 2003

#28 William L. Baughman

Your article was very informative and validates my research into this piece of equipment. I ordered one yesterday prior to seeing your article and I am reassured in my decision by your explanation and descriptions. Thanks for the info and keep up the good work. WLB

4:33 am - Tuesday, December 2, 2003

#29 Mark Goldstein

Thanks William - I'm glad you found the review useful :)

10:33 am - Tuesday, December 2, 2003

#30 Assemblage

I agree this is a fantastic device. Allowed me to take 1000 or so pictures on my recent vacation.

11:57 pm - Friday, December 5, 2003

#31 Connie

just want to add another disadvantage of this tool, which I use and which is very convenient for me, but: it is not possible to format the hard disk in this tool with every operating system.

It was not possible to format the harddisk with WIN 2000 and with WIN XP, but there is a small software program delivered on the CD which allows it to format it under XP.

All my PCs run with WIN 2000 and I had to find somebody with XP to format the harddisk...

9:28 pm - Friday, February 13, 2004

#32 Dave

I have a XII. Very easy, very useful. No downside.

3:59 pm - Monday, April 19, 2004

#33 Mikhail Rezhepp

I had experience with the same device marketed by Kangaroo and IO Magic. The design looks exactly the same, I think they are baked somewhere in Taiwan. Both had the same problem - they did not accept Memory Sticks of certain manufacturers. Just returned an error and did not copy files over. The brands they did not like included Lexar Media and another one which I don't remember now. Probably the X drive might have the same issue.

2:08 am - Friday, May 7, 2004

#34 Herbert M. Sandler

I was interested in this product before reading your review. Now I'm convinced. All I need to do now is find out where to purchase it. Thanks for helping me to decide.

5:15 pm - Friday, August 13, 2004

#35 Kris Hawley

I just bought this product and plan to use it on a trip to Europe. I had 2 questions that I haven't been able to completely clarify I wonder if someone can help me out.

If the battery dies are the pics on the disc lost? I would guess that they wouldn't but just wanted to confirm

If I charge the battery in europe will I need to use a step-down transformer, or just a plug adapter?


1:54 am - Sunday, August 14, 2005

#36 Mark Goldstein

I can answer your first question Kris - if the battery dies during a transfer, some of the pics won't be copied across successfully. The photos that are already on the hard disk from previous copy operations will still be there.

10:49 am - Sunday, August 14, 2005

#37 alok

hey, anyone want to buy a vosonic vp3320 with an 80 GB hard drive (it's an mp3 player/multi-format card reader--a later, more advanced model than the one reviewed here) ? write me! it's basically brand new, i just don't need it. my e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


5:30 am - Friday, October 7, 2005

#38 kris hawley

Hi I have just received a vosonic VP 2160 hard drive. When I turn it on it says HARD DRIVE FAILURE. I have tried to initialize the HD and even reformat it with no luck. Does anyone have similar experiences or know what to do?
Please help

12:15 am - Monday, April 17, 2006