* Prices may differ from that shown
As one of the most trusted names in the world of computer memory, Sandisk manufacture a range of flash drives including the numerous 'Cruzer' models. Today i'm taking a look at the 2GB Micro Cruzer which is available to buy from Amazon for only £2.99.
Design & Appearance
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At first glance, the Micro Cruzer looks like any other flash drive on the market with its slim and black rectangular body - however, it does have a gimmick; which in this case is the ability to retract the metal USB prong section back inside its casing. This not only makes the device smaller, but it affords a certain amount of protection to the product. The process is activated by flipping the switch on the Cruzer's body back and forth, a process which is easy to do and strangely addictive. The Cruzer is light and well built, and i've had no reliability problems with mine over the years.
All Mod Cons
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This and many other Cruzer drives utilise something called U3 technology, which allows you to run software from your home computer on any other PC that you plug the Cruzer into - similarly U3 will bring your personal preferences with you wherever you go. For the most part, the technology does work very well - as long as you're fairly tech-savvy, and you're using a relatively modern version of Windows. Fear not, if you're not good with computers (or have no idea what i'm talking about) then you can simply use the drive as a regular flash drive without all the U3 nonsense. To be honest, it's not something that I personally choose to use.
Additional Features & Final Word
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In terms of additional features, the Micro Cruzer has a small keyring loop (very useful for those who like to have a flash drive with their keys), and when in use, the product illuminates with a (fairly bright) amber glow. The product is USB2 compatible, and although I can't find exact figures for the read and write speeds, in general it's pretty quick to transfer my files. Overall, I've found the Sandisk Micro Cruzer to be an impressive flash drive both in terms of its build quality and features - at the current price it's definitely something that I would recommend.
Although a lot of powerful interests are forever trying to convince us that the future of data storage lies online - in "the cloud" as it's known these days, though webmail has been doing it since long before that term was invented - I've always rather preferred to keep the really important things stored locally. This goes right back to the days of floppy disks, unwieldy and unreliable as they are by modern standards, and continued through the brief period when CD storage was the norm into the present day where USB sticks are ubiquitous. (USBiquitous, perhaps!)
SanDisk have become the pre-eminent name in data storage and held that title for some years now. Their products are not always the best, and are rarely the cheapest, but absolutely crucially for an area like this they very rarely actually let anybody down. I feel I can rely on the SanDisk name, and that's why a lot of the really faintly ridiculous number of USB sticks I've acquired over the years have been from them, including this Cruzer Micro 2 GB stick. Mine came as part of a pack of three in different colours (red, dark blue and white) but the shade makes no difference to how they operate. For what it's worth, I used the white one for this review.
The "Micro" part of the stick's name is fairly well justified. When this line came on to the market a couple of years ago these things really did seem tiny; the seemingly relentless pace of miniaturisation even in the intervening period has meant that nowadays the Cruzer sticks are just small. To be honest I'm glad they're not any smaller, since I find the *really* small accessories (MicroSD cards, for example) to be unpleasantly fiddly. In any case, the minimum size is governed by the form factor of the USB connector itself, which on these sticks is on a nifty slide mechanism allowing you to retract the connector fully - handy when carrying one around in a pocket.
SanDisk unfortunately decided to include the U3 software on this stick. I say "unfortunately" because I've never found it more than the most almighty pain the neck. The idea of U3 is to allow users to make their applications portable between different systems, and to this end the stick is formatted to include a small partition on which U3 sits - so that if you wipe the main file area, the U3 program is untouched. However, I find the whole thing fiddly to set up, and even though the space used up is small it still irritates me slightly that a stick advertised as a two-gig unit actually is not. As for the portability aspect, I find the straightforward, prepackaged approach of the Portable Apps website to be more use - so I tend to use a partition editor to wipe out U3 altogether and use the whole stick for my data.
On that score, the Cruzer Micro does its job very nicely. It's a USB 2.0 device as you'd expect, so files whizz back and forth between stick and PC at a reasonable rate of knots. You can tell when the Micro is properly connected because a pleasant (if slightly bright for my taste) orange glow appears along its side, which flashes when data is being transferred. Just occasionally I find the stick retracting as I plug it in, but this problem is easily enough addressed by keeping one finger pressed against the slider as you insert the connector into its socket. There's a small (and rather flimsy-looking) ring at the non-business end of the stick to which you can attach a lanyard.
These days, even a 2 GB memory stick is right at the bottom end of what you will find in the shops, and perhaps even bordering on the obsolete as far as manufacturers and retailers go. However, it's certainly still capacious enough to be of practical use, and even these days you can fit a goodly number of (for example) digital photos or MP3 music tracks into a space of that size. If you can find one for a fiver or so - or, better still, the three-pack for around the £10-12 mark - then the SanDisk Cruzer Micro could still make some sense. It's not the most thrilling of accessories, but it is very unlikely to fail catastrophically on you, and where data is concerned that reliability is everything.
The cruzer micro 2gb is a great usb that transfers files in an instant and is compact in space. The 2gb memory however is kind of small for modern day use and is mostly suitable for transfering documents and music. You can maybe store 3 90 minute movies at maximum. This usb has never let me down, once its easy to use and to set up and transfer files. The flash drive has a security feature built in to secure your data.
I purchased this usb a while ago and its never failed to keep my files safe once. It does not require a cap as it has a slide button that pushes the usb within itself. The usb is well constructed as its made of only the best materials. Its appearance is great and you can pick these up fairly cheaply nowadays although it was a fair bit more when I got it. It still represents great value for money.
The Cruzer Micro is a very handy and useful usb key. Unlike most usb keys it has other features associated which make it very useful and worth its money. The ability to install programs on the usb key of your computer making them a portable version is one I have not seen elsewhere. You can also put 'BigFish' games on the device. There are two partitions on the usb key, one for the U3 system features, eabling the previously described features and another for storage of data. This U3 system partition only uses up to 6 to 7 mb of space which is negligible, allowing for its full potential to be easily utilized.
This feature may however simply seem useless and a waste of money for people not looking to use it, in which case a usb key of similar capacity but with a slightly cheaper price tag will be just as adequate as opposed to this one.
Overall this device has an unique selling point (USP) in which it is able to make programs portable and interchangable between computer systems, otherwise it is just another usb key with no great difference between them all.