USB Flash drives stink. They are either really poorly designed (causing them to break quickly) or to expensive to be practical in to carry on you.
I want the following:
- USB 2.0 with actual fast transfer (not all are fast)
- Between 2GB – 4GB capacity
- Rugged – this means a cap that doesn’t fall off and get lost quick, the ability to attach to your keys (or thin enough to fit in your wallet), and solid construction that you could step on without any fear at all of cracking.
- Small Footprint – some are a little wide which can make them hard to use in some situations where USB ports are close together.
- < $100 Price tag
For a 3 years now I’ve had a “JumpDrive Secure” 512MB. It’s served me well, but I need more speed, and more capacity than this one offers. So I need to move up. It’s rugged, but the cap isn’t that great (the only reason I didn’t lose it is because it was in my backpack for most of the 3 years). It’s also rather wide. It’s about time to retire it and look for something more appropriate. I avoid mine lately because it’s either too slow or small, or it just doesn’t fit.
So far the contenders are:
Lexar JumpDrive Sport – this drive has a nice rubber cap that surrounds the entire thing, and attaches to a keychain. That’s pretty secure looking. It’s also available in 2GB.
JumpDrive Lightning – this drive is stainless steel! And fast! The downside is it’s price tag. It’s a bit on the expensive side, and the cap must not be that secure, because you can buy a kit of 3 replacements for a few dollars. Loose caps aren’t cool.
Corsair Voyager – 2GB and 4GB are actually really cheap, and it’s rubberized! But on the downside, the loop for the keychain is only rubber (no metal reinforcement according to Ars Technica’s review). And it’s a bit bulky. Again, loose cap.
Apacer Steno – reasonable price, and a pretty innovative design to help you never loose the cap! On the downside performance isn’t that great, and it’s just plastic.
SanDisk Cruzer Titanium – a little on the expensive side, but strong (rated up to 2000lbs.) and no cap to use (it just slides out). On the downside it’s a little on the expensive side.
OCZ Ultra Slim Mini-Kart – insanely small! Fits in your wallet and surprisingly affordable. But how durable can this be? Especially in your wallet.
Right now I’m leaning towards the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium because of it’s size, performance, and strength. Not to mention the cap free design.