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PRODUCT: SANDISK CRUZER EDGE - USB FLASH DRIVE - 16 GB
This neat little flash drive ticks most of the right boxes for me. It's tiny and highly portable, lightweight but with plenty of storage capacity for my needs. The device is compatible with most computers and comes from a well established manufacturer in the field. Its plastic construction might seem a bit fragile at first but actually feels quite rugged in everyday use. For this specification, at 'under a tenner' the price seems reasonable, but a real bonus for me is its 'SecureAccess' security feature. Shame it's just a tad slow to load!
ABOUT THIS REVIEW
After reading a helpful review of this elsewhere by a non-Windows user, I thought it might be useful to add a brief perspective here from an everyday Windows customer. The main advantage for us Windows folks is SanDisk's 'SecureAccess' software which is included on the drive and provides password protection. I can't speak for Mac owners, except to note that a download is required for this.
DOWN IN THE VAULT OR IN THE CRYPT?
The Windows software allows you to set up a password protected secure 'private vault' into which you can drag & drop valuable files. I understand this uses '128 bit AES' data encryption but those sufficiently interested can find out more from the addresses below.
I had little difficulty setting this up but have found the security software very slow to load. This may vary depending on the speed of the rest of your equipment but there may be better solutions on offer. Otherwise, transferring files seems relatively quick and easy. (More about performance below).
UP IN THE CLOUDS?
Some 2 gigabytes of free online ('Cloud') storage is also provided with this package, though this requires registration with YuuWaa.com, SanDisk's online backup partner. I haven't actually needed to explore this yet but their website address is listed below for information. Other free solutions are, of course, available!
LEADING 'EDGE' DESIGN AND USABILITY
This flash drive incorporates a sliding connector which retracts to protect the USB contacts and makes for a streamlined design. It may take a bit of getting used to at first, can feel a little stiff and slightly fragile, but works quite well in practice.
The 'standout' compact style may particularly appeal to some, compared with the many alternatives currently on offer. Available in several colours.
PERFORMANCE AND SPECIFICATIONS
The precise transfer rate may be difficult to determine but seems acceptable for most domestic purposes. There appeared at first to be a delay with some file types when using secure access, due to the encryption process. But the main performance issue that I've experienced is the slow loading security software.
In a quick unscientific test it took over 3 minutes to transfer a folder with 650 megabytes of photos into a secure 'vault'. To my surprise, transferring the same files without encryption took much the same length of time. (Interestingly, this took roughly the same time using my old 4gb Bytestor drive).
My main use for this flash drive is for temporary backups, photos and documents like spreadsheets etc. For videos or multimedia files an even larger capacity might be desirable.
This review is based on the 16gb version - other capacities are also available in the range, up to 32gb.
The device complies with the USB 2.0 standard, for wide compatibility, but not the latest USB 3.0 as far as I can determine.
At just 50 x 30 x 10 cm and weighing only 9 grams, this is a tiny storage device - hardly any larger than a AAA battery.
Full details of compatibility etc. are available online.
DOCUMENTATION AND HELP
A multilingual 'Quick Start Guide' is provided on the drive (in pdf format). This is illustrated with screenshots but quite basic, with just 8 pages on using the 'bundled' software and 6 about the online backup storage from YuuWaa TM.
Support is also available on the SanDisk website (address below) but I have had no need to explore this.
AVAILABILITY AND PRICE
Widely available and currently on offer from Amazon for as little as £5.99 with free delivery (October 2012).
A tiny, stylish USB flash drive with a relatively high capacity from an established manufacturer at a competitive price, just let down by slow loading security software.
[© SteveS001, 2012. A version of this original review may appear on other review sites]
Tiny, stylish USB flash drive with secure access software and online storage option.