LaCie's Little Disk is - at least outwardly - the work of industrial designer Sam Hecht. It's a pedigree the company is clearly proud of, with Hecht's name displayed prominently on the packaging.
The would-be classic design hasn't changed since its launch in 2007, and to complete the sense of preciousness it even comes with a plush carrying pouch.
But for all that, it's still just a shiny black box, with nothing like the charisma of the Buffalo. And when you want to use it, you have to pop one end off, leaving you holding an easy-to-lose plastic cap and having to pull out a scrawny integrated USB cable that's just 8.5cm long.
There's an extender in the box, but that rather undermines the point of the captive cable. There's no access or activity indicator, and the branding faces the wrong way.
As a general-purpose hard drive, Little Disk's performance was average. It delivered middling results in both our read and write 3000-file test, but did better with single files, equalling the Iomega eGo in the 3GB test. Installing the provided USB Boost software had no effect we were able to discern.
Although the Little Disk wears its designer brand on its sleeve, it's one of this month's cheapest 500GB drives, rubbing shoulders with the best-value LG in terms of cents per gigabyte.
The software's arguably more appealing, too: LaCie's 1-Click Backup client works on a similar principle to Clickfree's, making ad hoc backups effortless.
But when weighed against its rivals, the Little Disk's wayward design and uneven performance mean it isn't our first choice.