The Lacie DJI Copilot isn’t necessarily a new concept in mobile storage devices, but in my opinion, it’s superior to the GNARBOX 128GB Portable Backup System that I tested a few years back.

GNARBOX holds a few new cards of their own. If you visit the GNARBOX website version 2.0 is for sale. GNARBOX 2.0 appears to be smaller, but basically functions the same as the Lacie DJI Copilot. So why do I like the Lacie DJI Copilot better?

One, it’s cheaper, like way cheaper, 2TB for $299 vs. 1TB for $899. Two, with the exception of one connecting cord and a charger, it’s pretty much self-contained—GNARBOX looks to have tons of additional pieces and parts.

I hope to test the GNARBOX 2.0 in the future as I tested the original here and loved it, but for now I am pretty content with the DJI Copilot.

Lacie DJI Copilot—The Why

A bunch of years back I ditched my aging MacBook Air. I was tired of carrying drives, adapters, and a secondary mouse in a separate travel bag. Getting on an off of airplanes was a huge headache. When I tried the GNARBOX based on a client’s recommendation, I felt like a load was lifted. GNARBOX was a Kickstarter that was hugely successful. It opened the doors for companies like Lacie to produce similar products. And because Lacie has more money behind them, they can offer a competitive product at a way more competitive price.

A storage device that fits into my single backpack and works in conjunction with the phone that is already in my pocket is best for me. When I wrote about simplifying my photo life a long time ago, it really became a multi-year project. This project still isn’t complete and it has really been in adaptation during the whole process. 

All-In-One connectivity for the Lacie DJI Copilot.

The Lacie DJI Copilot Benefit

The major benefit to owning this device is that I don’t need a laptop, I don’t need dozens of SD cards to compensate on long trips, and I can afford a really fast desktop computer that crushes most of the laptops on the market at this moment. 

My SD card plugs into the side of the Copilot and creates an incremental or new download of the current photos on the card. I can plug in my iPhone for a charge, while also browsing the DNGs. If I want to process a photo, that is pretty simple too, just download a shot into my phone and use the app of my choosing.

Using the provided FREE app.

Lacie DJI Copilot Connectivity

The Copilot connects and is controlled by the Copilot BOSS app. Within the app you can make setting adjustments to the device, create folders, view photos and send those photos where ever needed. More specifically to Lightroom Mobile or any other photo editing app that you choose.

The Lace DJI Copilot comes with a series of adapters to work with any mobile device you have. That cable becomes part of the device and is wrapped around it. This means the only other item you carry is the charger for the Copilot if needed.

Because I can create my own folder structure, just like I did with a laptop, nothing has really changed for me from a workflow standpoint. Now I carry less weight and less stuff, so I am by far happier. 

One other cool feature is that you don’t need to have your mobile device connected to the Lacie DJI Copilot to download from your SD card. Just insert card and scroll through the on-screen prompts and boom your download happens.

Downloading to Your Desktop

Downloading from the Copilot is as simple as connecting an external hard drive to your computer. If you create a folder structure in the field, then it’s just a simple drag and drop operation to add your photos to your computer. I then open Lightroom, click Import, and Add those files to your Lightroom Catalog.

A Few Downsides

There are a few downsides that I see to this device right now. One is that the Copilot utilizes a 2.5” mobile hard drive. In simplistic terms that is a “spinny” drive. Spinny drives have moving parts and moving parts are more fragile than SSD storage. The GNARBOX 2.0 is SSD. Lacie has already addressed this issue by announcing a forthcoming BOSS 1TB SSD for half the price of the GNARBOX 2.0.

Two is the storage card your camera uses. If your camera uses an SD card like mine, you are set, the Lacie DJI Copilot is plug and play. If you are shooting a camera that uses a CF card, you will need an extra adapter to download your photos into the Copilot. While this isn’t a big issue, it does require more crap.

Finally, you have this amazing device that will download your photos as you create them. It holds 2TB of information. What if it fails??? Well, you need a secondary back up drive. Now we are right back to carrying more crap. There is an easy and simple solution. Samsung makes a 2TB SSD drive that measures 57.3mm by 74mm. That’s just a little larger than a CF card. It plugs right into the Lacie DJI Copilot and you can simply designate that drive as the back up to the Copilot.

Final Thoughts

I purchased the Lacie DJI Copilot to be able to download photos at my campsite. I do always have electricity available in my truck, but charging devices is a pain in the ass. While shooting the first ever mountain bike guidebook to Wyoming this past summer, the Lacie DJI Copilot was able to download photos from every day of shooting, for an entire week, without needing a charge. In the words of my Australian friend Chris, “That’s pretty special.”

Positives

  • price
  • 2TB of mobile storage
  • simplicity of use
  • charges mobile device 
  • internal battery lasts
  • rugged enclosure helps with dust and water repellency
  • compact size

Negatives

  • uses traditional 2.5” mobile hard drive

Lacie DJI Copilot

Get your very own Lacie DJI Copilot from B&H Photo/Video.

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