This could be useful if you've attached the drive to a laptop and want to quickly access files, with no need to dig out a separate remote control. The Plextor Media Drive X's dull silver-grey exterior can be disguised by a choice of protective coloured rubber Xs - ours came in a strange yellow version.
The Plextor Media Drive X has a bright blue LED to indicate it's powered up and ready to go, while an orange one next to it shows whether it's able to act in its media player capacity.
It took us a couple of attempts to get the Plextor Media Drive X to install (albeit on our Windows 7 beta system) - unusually, you must first attach the drive and then install the software from the supplied disc. Windows 98SE and Windows Me users will first need to reformat the drive as FAT32 before they can begin. Similarly, Mac OS users can use this drive for data backups, but don't get the private folder option.
The software is the same as on the Traxdata MultiMedia drive, as is the thin remote control. The Playlist Manager is where you store all public files.
A separate Private Folder is for your documents and data and can be protected with a simple four-digit PIN. Plextor sees users utilising the Plextor Media Drive X for backups as well as serving up home entertainment, so this makes sense. We'd recommend a proper encryption utility if this is your intention.
Alternatively, you could place any age-restricted video content in this folder so your kids don't get an unwelcome surprise when browsing through the contents of the drive for something to watch.
As with the Traxdata drive, you can tag photos that are worth viewing while in the Playlist Manager on your PC, thus avoiding the faux pas of boring your friends with endless samey snaps.
Files copy to the Plextor Media Drive X at 11.7MBps, according to HD Tach, and the Plextor put in the same file-reading performance as the Traxdata at 25.6MBps.
Once loaded up, you must disconnect the Plextor Media Drive X from the PC before it will operate in playback mode - a flashing amber light indicates all is not right if you press the onbody Standby button to activate playback.
The Plextor drive is capable of directly playing common media formats such as MP3, Jpeg, WAV and WMA, but it also natively supports xVid and DiVx video files and can play 720p HD video as long as your TV or PC supports it. Usefully, there's a thumbnails menu so you can quickly select what you want to view.
The Plextor Media Drive X is no winner in the looks department, but we like the fact you can control playback on the Plextor directly. it's also small and unobtrusive. Neither’s a match for the cunningly straightforward Iomega ScreenPlay HD, however, which lets you buy a hard drive and adds playback capabilities to it.