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It was time for a new flash drive, my existing 256MB USB 1.0 drive was proving painfully slow and way too small for moving photos between my PC and laptop. Looking around the web I found the Dane-Elec zMate 4GB on 7dayshop for just £5.99 - bargain!
What is it?
In case anybody doesn't know, a flash drive is a portable storage device, which plugs into any USB port to transfer data between devices. Most types of data can be stored such as documents, photos, music and video files.
This one by Dane-Elec has a 4GB (gigabyte) capacity, weighs just 10g and measures about 6cm long. It's a very nice metallic red colour and feels silky smooth - not that the feel and colour are really that important in a flash drive! When used in a USB 2.0 port (which is the norm these days) it can read and write data at a rate of 110x (15MB per second), which is apparently quite fast...
The drive is compatible with: Windows 2000/XP or above, Mac OS 9.0 or higher and Mac OS X 10.1.5 or higher
My Experience and Verdict
As usual with most products these days, the packaging proved impossible to get into without the aid of at least a pair of strong scissors. When I did eventually defeat the plastic and rip it apart, the flash drive flew out, shot across the room and slid under the sofa - ahh so that's what they mean by a high-speed drive!
As with most devices these days it's plug-and-play so all I had to do was pull the cap off and plug the USB connector into my computer. My computer gave me a message that it had found new hardware, then a few moments later that the device was ready to use. Incidentally the Dane-Elec web site does supply drivers for download if you have problems getting your computer to recognise the drive.
The next thing I did was check the capacity of the drive and although it's supposed to be 4GB there is actually 3.77 GB available for data - not quite sure where the other bit had gone.
I tested the speed by copying a 100MB file from my PC to the flash drive - it took just 20 seconds. Comparing this with my old slow drive that took 1 minute 10 seconds to receive the same file, I was quite happy with the speed.
I've not had the drive for very long, but so far it's performed well with no problems. The packaging states that it has a 5-year warranty, but for details of this warranty you need to access the web site (www.dane-elec.com)
My verdict? Well, it's not something I can get too excited about but I do like the flash drive. It's functional, seems quite fast and does the job, and it was cheap, just £5.99. I do think that the cap would be easy to lose whilst the drive is plugged in (especially if you have as much junk on your desk as I do!) as there's no way to keep it attached. Dane-Elec make much larger flash drives as well holding 8 and 16GB, but the 4GB is fine for me - if I was to lose it, and at just 6cm long that wouldn't be too difficult, I'd rather lose a smaller amount of data!