System Specifications: Choice of 4GB and 8GB capacities branded YuuWaa Go and YuuWaa Plus respectively. Needs Windows XP SP2 or Vista PC with USB 2.0 port. For Windows 7 see below.
Price: 4GB - £19.99, 8GB - £29.99 plus storage charges
THE RATHER ODDLY NAMED YuuWaa is a USB flash drive designed to ensure that you always have a secure back-up of its contents. It functions as a normal USB drive when you are offline but whenever you have an internet connection it will automatically back up any changes over a 128bit SSL- encrypted link to online storage.
This added functionality comes at a price though, with the drives costing around three times the price of plain USB drives of the same capacities. The packaging obscures the fact that you are paying mostly for online storage and that there are continuing costs amounting annually to almost as much as the purchase price.
The 4GB and 8GB versions come with eight and 12GB of online storage respectively. The online storage is bundled into the price for the first six months, after which time it costs £1.73 and £3.48 a month, or £17.31 and £34.71 a year depending on which size you opt for.
If simple back-up space is what you are after, there are far better deals around, such as Microsoft's SkyDrive which gives you 25GB for free, while Humyo offers 10GB for free as well as its premium services, which are slightly more pricey than YuuWaa's but more comprehensive.
YuuWaa's selling points are its simplicity and the fact that it is specifically designed for USB sticks, which are easily missed by back-up regimes. Each drive carries its own software, which runs as soon as you plug it in provided the host PC's security settings permit autorun. Otherwise, under Vista, you get an extra option in the 'New Device detected' message box prompting you to start the software.
If you click the Open Folder option instead, which is easily done if you are confused or in a hurry, the YuuWaa behaves as a normal flash drive and does not back itself up. This means that it's not foolproof, but does provide an easy way to simply use it as a normal flash drive when required.
Unfortunately none of this is explained in the slim manual, which is confusing to the point of being wrong on the clumsy Eject procedure. It tells you to exit using the Windows 'Safely Remove' button. Yet this won't give the go-ahead until you have unmounted the drive via YuuWaa's own taskbar menu - and that repeatedly asks you if you want to back up files even after you have done so. It should know if files have been backed up.
Experienced users will have no problem with this but it could drive novices crazy, and these products are aimed at consumers as well as professionals.
Under Windows 7, which is not yet officially supported, you have to locate and launch the YuuWaa.exe file yourself when you plug the device in.
Set-up is very easy. You are prompted for an email address and a password, and asked how often you want backups to occur. You can also choose to password-protect the drive's access to the server, though it would surely be safer to police access to the drive itself.
You can store other files online with your backups, and access and manage them via a browser. You cannot sort listings, and though you can open files from the browser you have to save them locally if you make changes. There are sharing facilities, but none for synchronisation.
If you lose your YuuWaa device you can download a code that will restore your files and YuuWaa software to another drive.
Despite its infelicities, the YuuWaa could find a market as an easy fallback for people who work out of a USB drive, plugging their files into whichever machine they happen to be working on. µ
Easy and effective once you get used to its quirks
Prompts and dialogue boxes need tweaking; poor documentation
Marketing and packaging obscure true cost
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