VisionTek Wallet Drive review: Great looking, great storing

Whether you're a field tech or an armchair computer mechanic who occasionally has to do some triage on a hurting system, having a 2.5-inch USB drive sled in your tool kit is mandatory. VisionTek's new Wallet Drive combines plug-and-play simplicity with executive looks.

The Good

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple to use
  • Good looking
  • Integrated USB 3.0 cable
  • Toolless installation

The Bad

  • Floppy cable

The Wallet Drive is first and foremost a drive sled for any 2.5-inch SATA-equipped solid state or hard disk drive up to 9 mm tall. Support for 6 gigabyte per second SATA interfaces guarantees lightning-fast data throughput.

Diagnosing and fixing problems becomes as easy as plugging the cable into the Mac, turning the Mac on, and holding down the Option key to boot off the external drive. It's a really handy way to be able to troubleshoot Macs that are having difficulty.

SATA Drive sleds can be ugly, functional devices - warts that plug in to the back of a bare drive or cheap-looking plastic sleds. VisionTek decided to go the executive route with this case design, so it's padded in a leatherette case.

The USB cable wraps around two sides of the sled and tucks beneath a magnetic clasp that holds the wallet closed. The cable works, though I'd prefer if it were more integrated into the Wallet: Even with the clasp in place, the cable looks like it's dangling.

The sled holds the SATA storage device in securely. Plastic tabs integrated into the sled hold the drive in place once you've connected it to the SATA interface: They align with the mounting screw holes 2.5-inch drive makers drill as part of the standard drive chassis design. The tabs offer a satisfying "chunk" noise when the drive is place, letting you know that it's resting securely.

Obviously tech support and field service is only one use for the Wallet. It also looks nice on your desk as it does Time Machine backups or acts as supplemental storage for your Retina MacBook Pro or any other use you can dream up.

The bottom line

The Wallet Drive is an attractive way to store and carry a 2.5-inch hard drive. Whether you're using it for backup, supplemental storage or as a forensic device for field service like I do, it's sharper and cleaner looking than other USB drive sleds. And sometimes, presentation counts.

Peter Cohen