Corsair Flash Voyager Port Page: 1
Introduction
 
Backing up all your important data can be a lengthy and tedious process, but for many people it is absolutely vital. Corsair, well known for listening to it's customer base,  feels it has come up with a solution to the back-up headache, with their Flash Voyager Port.
 
As part of their market research, Corsair ran a survey on the Scan.co.uk website to see what computer users were looking for in data back-up. There were some interesting findings, the report for which can be viewed here.  Armed with their research, Corsair then set about developing the Voyager Port, for which the specification can be found below.
  
* Works with any flash drive
But it looks best with Corsair Flash Voyagers!

* One button backup
Simply press the button to backup your important files

* Award-winning NovaBackup 10 software included - worth $50
Easy-to-use, powerful backup software. Create backup scripts and even create a full snapshot of your PC to safeguard your data in the event of a system failure

* No external power required
Power is supplied by the USB 2.0 bus

* Stylish and compact
Practical and also more 'fun' than a typical brick-shaped HDD backup device
  
The inclusion of NovaBackup will certainly be useful, and my guess is Corsair have worked with NovaStor to include compatibility with the one touch button on the Voyager Port. The ability to work with any flash drive is also useful for people who already own a large drive and do not wish to buy a new one, although Corsair do say it looks best with one of their own Flash Voyager drives.
  
So, without further delay, lets take a look at the device itself...        


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 Packaging & Appearance
 
The Flash Voyager Port arrived in sealed moulded plastic packaging, holding it very securely and also making it very difficult for the device to be tampered with. Corsair have designed the front of the packaging to be fairly minimal, drawing maximum attention to the logo, name and strap line. On the rear, the plastic is moulded to allow the packaging to lie flat, with two supporting feet at the bottom. The back has far more product information, and is listed in various languages.
 
Corsair Flash Voyager Port Packaging Front Corsair Flash Voyager Port Packaging Back
 
Inside the box is everything you need to get started.  There is a small instruction leaflet and a miniature CD containing the NovaBACKUP software. Along with the device itself there is also a standard USB to Mini USB data cable of around 60cm in length for connecting to any USB 1.1 or 2.0 compatible port. 
 
Corsair Flash Voyager Port packaging contents Corsair Flash Voyager Port Contents 
 
The Device itself has a fairly simple, but stylish design. Just  two main colours (excluding the Corsair Logo) are used, and the effect is very striking and professional. It has a rubbery texture, with the base of the Port being a fairly thick rubber, giving it plenty of grip on most surfaces. At the back is the small mini-usb port for PC connectivity, whilst at the front the Corsair logo also acts as the Backup button. The USB port on the top is angled towards the back slightly, and is located in the rear half of the device.
 
Corsair Flash Voyager Port Front Corsair Flash Voyager Port Back    
 
Corsair were kind enough to send us a 32gb Flash Voyager drive for the pictorial and testing, which really does look the part when used with the Port. The matching colour schemes, as well as the drive fitting perfectly in the dock, means they compliment each other fantastically. If I were to be picky, my only complaint with the aesthetics would be that the Mini USB plug does protrude from the back of the device quite a lot, damaging the smooth look a little; it would have been nice to have this integrated into the device a little more.
 
Corsair Flash Voyager port with Drive  Corsair Flash Voyager Port Rear View 
 
Overall, I think the Voyager Port is a good looking device, and should certainly look nice perched at the edge of a desk. Something not mentioned in the specification is the weight of the Port, which is actually fairly low. It would have been nice to have it slightly heavier, to provide  a little more stability when inserting/removing a flash drive.       


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Software Basics
 
There's no doubt, the Flash Voyager Port certainly looks the part, but the device itself only plays a small part in the bigger picture, and in actual fact it's the software that will really make or break the product. No matter how good the product is, if the software isn't there to back it up it simply won't work. For testing the software was installed on a machine running Vista Home Premium x64.
 
Once you have installed the software you will need to select to view in either basic or advanced mode. As the name implies, the advanced mode gives you access to additional  features not available in basic mode. However, for the majority of users the basic mode would probably contain sufficient features
 
Novabackup basic
  
Nova Backup Advanced  
 
In the advanced mode there is a selection of tabs running along the top which allow you to access the more advanced features. From here you can make alterations to schedules, edit saved tasks, check when you last backed up and also create new tasks from scratch (without wizard).
 
NovaBackup Main bar       
 
Restoring backups is easy. You can either select the Restore tab in the advanced menu or run the Restore wizard. The Backup is saved as a single large file on the backup media, making locating simple and quick. The software also gives the file a logo, making it easy to identify, and also helping to avoid accidental deletion.
 
 
Upon startup the backup software automatically starts in the system tray. From there you can either open the software by double clicking the icon, or see if a task is running (indicated by the icon blinking). The NovaBackup Icon is the one furthest to the left in the picture.
 
NovaBackup System tray
 
Speed
 
It's quite hard to benchmark a USB dock, since the performance will almost entirely be down to the flash drive used. However, I will say that backing up to flash drives through USB is nowhere near as fast as going to an eSata, Sata or NAS drive.  Transferring files to the Flash Voyager (by no means a slow flash drive) took nearly twice as long as copying to my  NAS (through a 100mb/s ethernet link). Although it's not a killer, you will have to be prepared for a longer wait once the Backup has started.  Here are some results from copying the 3DMark Vantage installer to the Voyager and my home Nas.
 
Lacie2big 500gb Home NAS connected with 100mb/s: 46.6 Seconds
Corsair Flash Voyager 32 connected with USB: 79.6 Seconds
 
Although transfer rates are slower with the Voyager Port, the simplicity of the software and the ease of starting your backup with the dock should save you time in the long run. Unless you run Backups at the end of the day, speed shouldn't be too much of an issue, since you can let it run in the background. If however, you do run your backups at the end of the day, time is something you will need to consider before buying. To see just how simple it is to Backup, head on over to the next page...        


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Backup Wizard
 
The feature which will be most used is the backup wizard, so I will be focusing on that for today's review. Upon clicking the icon a separate window is opened, and you are asked what you wish to backup. The Smart Select is a nice feature, allowing you to quickly select only the most common folders. If you wish to select other files and folders not listed, then you will need to click 'Let me select items manually'.
 
NovaBackup Wizard Step 1
 
The next step only applies if you select 'Let me select items manually'. An extra step is added in to allow you to choose your files and folders, using a folder explorer on your left which is expanded across to the right when a folder is selected. What you need to do is locate the folders you wish to backup,then tick the box next to them and they will be selected for backing up.
 
NovaBackup Selecting files
 
The next step is to define your backup, selecting what type of backup you wish to perform and how to store it. You can choose to either append or overwrite the existing media; either should work perfectly well. The option between Full, Incremental, Differential and snapshot are all fairly familiar. I feel Full and Incremental are the most useful, with Full just doing  a complete copy of all your data each time, whilst incremental only backs up what has changed since the last backup.
 
NovaBackup Wizard Stage 2
 
Next up we have what I would call data handling. From this menu you can turn on/off data verification (I would suggest leaving this on), enable or disable software compression (I would recommend leaving this off, unless necessary as it will almost certainly slow things down) and also change virus scanning preferences. For some reason these options were greyed out for me, despite the latest AVG being installed - maybe it's just not supported with AVG.
 
Novabackup Wizard stage 3
 
Having progressed through all the previous stages you will reach the final step. On this page the main feature is the ability to select what launches the backup. Selected by default is 'OneButton', which is triggered by the button on the front of the Voyager Port. There are various other options that run the backup on a schedule, but this defeats the whole concept of the Port.
 
NovaBackup wizard stage 4    
 
Having successfully worked through the wizard, I am pleased to report that the software worked incredibly well. The integration with the Voyager Port worked flawlessly, and the activity icon in the system tray would spring into life the moment we pressed the button on the Port. Although our full Backup did take some time (it's certainly nowhere near as rapid as HDD to HDD), it wasn't unbearable. Once the initial Backup was done, incremental data backup was much faster, taking just a matter of minutes.    


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Corsair Flash Voyager PortConclusion
 
Using the Port meant that backing up was no longer a chore, just a simple press of a button. The backup software worked really well, and all my data is now safely stored away.
 
Although the Port won't be able to touch large, automated backups, for backing up your home snaps or music collection it is simply perfect. Once you have made large changes, or imported a load of new media, just pop in your flash drive and press the button. It's these sort of once in a while backups where the Port really comes in handy. You no longer have to mess around with powering up an external hard disk, then select the files you want, copy them across then pack it away - with the Port it's all done in the single click of a button.
 
The Flash Voyager port is a great all round product, and I really can't recommend it enough. The difference it makes to the amount of time it takes to backup is superb - Corsair must have been listening to my prayers. The build quality is great, aesthetically it is very pleasing and it works flawlessly; what more could you want?
 
Priced at £19.32 from Ebuyer, the Port offers good value for money when you consider $50 of software is included as well. The 32gb Flash Voyager drive used in today's review is also available for £59.95 from Ebuyer
 
The Good:
+ Build Quality
+ Saves time
+ Included software is easy to use
+ Works flawlessly
+ Great value for money
+ Good aesthetics and feel
 
The Mediocre:
* Really needs Corsair's own Flash Voyager USB drive to look its best
 
The Bad:
- Could be a little more weighty
 
   
 
Overclock3D would like to thank Corsair for providing today's review sample. Discuss in our forums here.