This is another one from my usb flash drive 'collection' that I have acquired over the years, and perhaps one of the ones that I appear to use the most. Sandisk are normally renowned for making good quality memory based products, and hence you'll find their branding throughout items such as this usb flash drive (or pen drives or memory sticks or whatever else you want to call them), SD cards for cameras and portable games consoles etc, micro SD cards for phones etc etc. Hence, having used their products for a number of years in my cameras, phones and other usb sticks, I have sort of grown comfortable in the quality and security that they bring to my precious data, confident that my data is safe and will not be lost through some electronic error.
To be honest, I've had this particular device that long that I can't remember what I paid for it from Amazon, but I suspect it was around the £15 mark (a few years ago), although checking on Amazon this morning, they do have this exact same model selling for £199.99 (yes that is correct - and with free shipping!!) from a company called 'Think Accessories', which I think is a tad overpriced bearing in mind that most other 4GB pen drives on Amazon are under the £5 mark. But for you lottery winners that desperately want this particular drive .....................
For those of you who don't understand what this is or does, it is basically a small portable electronic (for want of a better word) 'box' which you can use to store and transfer your electronic documents or files (e-mails, music, pictures, letters etc) from one computer to another. Small enough to attach to a key ring, you can carry numerous electronic bits of information with ease and quickly transfer data using the usb ports on your computer (or even your TV or games consoles as many have nowadays).
Looking at the actual physical product, the device measures 57mm long by 21mm by 8mm thick and comes complete with the Sandisk Cruzer branding on the outside of the plastic casing. For ease of carriage, you also have a small key ring attachment point in the bottom right hand corner. So nothing special to look at and fairly discrete overall.
The actual 'business bit' of the device (the usb plug) is hidden away in the front of the device. To get it out, you have a little recessed button affair on the top of the device. Push your thumb down on the button and push forward, and that will expose the usb plug bit of the device out of the front of the housing. Keep pushing forward until you hear a click, which is the point at which the usb plug is locked in the open position at the front of the housing. You can now push the device into an empty usb socket on your computer. You'll know when the pen drive has been activated because the button bit of the drive will light up red/orange. To close it up, just do the reverse process to draw the plug back into the housing until you hear a click, which is the locked in position for the usb plug.
In terms of your computer operating system, this pen drive operates with Microsoft Windows based machines, primarily XP, Vista and Windows 7, as well as Mac based machines. Putting it into your computer and your system should instantly recognise it and bring it up in your 'My Computer' view (if you're using a Windows based PC). From there, you can open it as a window and drag files back and forth as required. Of note, it is also usb 2.0 compliant, backwards compatible to usb 1.1.
In terms of performance, it's not slow. You can quickly transfer files back and forth with ease, and to me, it seems to be just as fast as any other pen drive that I have. With regards to the capacity, 4GB is a lot of space and would probably satisfy most people's needs nowadays, but how many files etc that relates to would be very much dependant on the size of files used. A document may be a few hundred kb, a presentation a few Mb, a music file may be 5Mb, a video could be 20Mb etc.
One point that is sort of unique to Sandisk pen drives (which I've not seen on other makes) is that it comes pre-loaded with a small program called U3 which is sort of loosely based on the Windows 'Start' menu. Detailed as the U3 Launchpad, it allows you to copy and move files back and forth between your pen drive and your computer. OK, a nice feature, but in my opinion totally unnecessary because you can simply open the pen drive as a window and move files back and forth, which does save a few extra clicks of having to open the Launchpad etc to do the same job.
Another point is that it does get a little annoying in that you don't appear to be able to remove this U3 program from the pen drive. When you put the device into your usb socket on your computer, it will actually bring up 2 drives in your 'My Computer' window. One will be your main usb pen drive storage area (around 3.8GB), the other will be this U3 System (about 5.44 Mb). If you try to format the pen drive, the U3 System bit will remain, and it then goes on to automatically create a folder system in the main storage area of the pen drive, which may be a little frustrating to those who may wish to create their own folder system. I understand that there are (difficult?) ways of getting rid of this U3 utility (big hammer and a flame thrower springs to mind!) but personally, I just live with it and dump my files on to the drive as I want to.
Another (minor?) negative point is more to do with the overall design of the drive. Whilst you can draw the usb plug back into the housing for protection, the internal contacts of the plug are still left open to the elements through the open end of the plug. Ok, this drawback ability means you don't have to contend with losing a protective cap that you normally have on other flash drives, but the issue I have found is that when you carry it in say your trouser pocket (as many would), I have found that you can end up with all sorts of dust and bits stuck in the opening, which is not good when you then try and ram the usb into your usb socket on your computer. A minor point, but one that can be annoying at times.
In summary, if we ignore the current random price on Amazon of £199.99 for this device, and assume around the £5 mark, this is a good buy for the price, giving you loads of capacity. However, that U3 utility can be annoying and frustrating, and then you have the additional minor issue of the usb plug being open to the elements. So balancing everything up, I would give this a 4 star recommendation.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
I honestly don't know where I would be without my USB drive. I need to transfer data quite a lot and regularly because I do occasionally decide to take my work home with me. I have been using USB keys for years and I have lost quite a few along the way. I don't use USB keys for backing up data, only transferring data. This is because I really need an external hard drive which has the necessary capacity to back up my data. Also I do have a very bad habit of loosing things and so using a USB key as back up is not a good idea.
As I use it for transferring rather than storing information I needed a medium capacity drive with fast transfer speeds. The speed of transfer is fast enough for my needs. I mainly use word, excel, photo and video software so it is really only the video and photos that take longer. 4GB is large enough for storing videos of 10+ hours and I still have room for some other documents. It is available in other capacity sizes and the prices are adjusted accourdingly.
The key is a dark grey colour with a clear coloured retractor in the middle opens and closes the USB so there is no lid for it. I really like that there is no lid and that it just retracts as this one less thing for me to worry about getting lost. To open and close the drive the button needs to be pushed down a little and then pushed forward or back depending on whether you want to open or close the USB. It also has a ring on the side and I use this to put it on my keys which is something that I was looking for as my last drive didn't have one.
I bought the drive from play.com and it cost just over £6 with free delivery. This was the cheapest USB drive with 4 GB that I could find and so I bought it. I think that all USB drives are essentially the same, they just look different and have a different style but they do the same thing.
I have had this drive for 3 years now and it is in perfect condition. I have not had any problems at all with transferring or data loss or corruption.
Highly recommended for those who want a USB drive for transferring data fast.
A USB flash drive enables you to store and transfer data between computers with ease. There are hundreds of different models out there, and there can be little to choose from them, apart from the obvious capacity.
This is a 4Gb model, made by Sandisk. Enough capacity for the average user to move photos, MP3 files, personal video and office documents back and forth between for instance your home computer and your laptop, or whatever the choice is yours. If you are moving multiple movies around then I'd suggest a larger capacity of 8 or 16gb - even 32. As a very rough estimate if you are using a 12megapixel camera, you can store around 1000 photos on this.
The Cruzer is a 5 cm long x 2cm wide black plastic unit, with a small key ring attached. I don't like to keep mine with my keys personally, it floats around instead in my laptop bag. To plug it in, you have to push the little slider out, and the connector appears. It's a little odd, as it won't fit into the USB slot next to my power cable on the laptop as it's a little too bulky. Luckily I have other slots to choose from. There are smaller units around which don't suffer from this problem. You should have a USB2.0 port to take advantage of high speed transfer. I imagine it will work though on an older type USB port too, albeit slower. While talking about compatibility, the unit is listed as working fine with Windows Vista, 2000, XP and Mac OS X v10.1.2+.
Once it's plugged in the unit will start a orange/amber pulsing light which shows a connection has been made. The operating system will detect it as an removable disk, and pop up two autoplay windows. One is for the U3 system, which I have never used, so I simply close this. The other window allows me to view the files on the USB drive and drag/drop in the usual way. Nothing complicated here. The light will flicker rapidly when you are moving files to indicate activity.
It does the job, I've had it for 18 months or so and it's not caused me any pain. I've mainly used if for moving photos and office documents between computers, and it's not let me down.
Available for about £10 - 15 online. There are cheaper options out there.
I've owned this for around 2 years now, back when I purchased similar to all things "flash memory" related it seemed huge at the time, but has only ever gone down since.
Included was the U3 software, since I only wanted this to store my documents one of the first things that I did was to format the drive so that there was no longer the U3 app's on there, and the "CD" partition which enabled autorun. This was a simple process that could be completed with software included within the U3 suite, and if I recall correctly it even offered to allow for me to backup & restore my documents too (but being a new drive this was a tad irrelevant).
So, a few minutes later I had a "huge" 4 GB pen drive (minus the bit that is lost due to partitioning etc.), I have never really used it for anything more than word documents and the odd mp3, so speed has never really been an issue for me. Although something that should be noted is that mine is not compatible with Vista's Ready Boost - it is too slow to be used, but this is probably not applicable to more recent versions, which probably have higher speed flash chips installed.
Overall the drive seems pretty well built, it has been in my pocket along with key's & loose change for the best part of 2 years, and still works perfectly, despite all of the branding/paint being worn off over time, which I suppose is understandable.
One of the points that drew me towards buying this was the retractable USB port, the cap's which drives are usually supplied with just scream out "forget me", so it seemed a nice solution to just pop out the USB port as and when it is needed. One of my concerns though was that the sliding mechanism would wear out and become loose over time, thankfully that has not happened though - admittedly it is not quite as "clicky" as it once was, but still perfectly usable.
The only real problem that I have with this is its size, considering the name is "micro" it doesn't exactly live up to it. On my MacBook laptop I am unable to plug it in without removing the adjacent USB device, and the same applies on most computers that I have used with two adjacent (horizontal) USB ports - they are usually too close together.
Overall I'd say this is worth it if you like the novelty feature of a retractable USB port, but there are better and smaller alternatives available - size really does count.
I like to use flash drives (aka pen drives) as they are quicker for data transfer from PC to PC, rather than using such things as CD/DVDs, which can be a little bulky these days.
For that reason I do own several different flash drives of many brands and many storage sizes, one of which is the Sandisk Cruzer Micro with 4 GB of memory.
** TECHNICAL BITS...
* Operating system required... Microsoft Windows XP/2000 (SP4), Vista and Mac X10.1.2 or later.
* Windows ready
* Device storage sizes vary
* U3 software included. (see below)
* Approximate size is 20mm wide, 57mm long and 8mm thickness
* Approximate weight is 60 grams
** It's read and write speed is fast enough to transfer data without pulling your hair out in frustration, reading at over 25 MB's p/s and writing at about 15 MB's p/s.
** The two colours I know it comes in are white and black.
** As all pen drive, once inserted into your PCs USB port your PC will see it as an external device, and transferring data is as simple as dragging and dropping from one folder into this devices folder. (or simply right click and send to device)
** WHAT IS U3..?
U3 is actually a company producing software for USB Flash drives which allow automatic launching of certain applications. These specific flash drives are known as 'U3 smart drives' and once connected to a PC will show there own type of what they like to call a 'Launchpad', (which does actually resembles a windows start menu in a way), and this is where you can control the Flashdrives installed programs from.
At present this only really works well with Microsoft windows, and even then it can tend to struggle on Windows Vista, although various updates have been released including 'Cruzer Titanium' which is will rectify any Vista problems.
** WHAT WILL IT HOLD..?
You may as well ask what came first, the chicken or the egg..??
This is entirely up to the individual person and what they wish to store, but for arguments sake lets say 4GB will hold around over 1000 average sized songs or way over four thousand good quality picture, or even hold maybe a dozen good quality movies. But it all depends on the size/quality of images, music, videos and more.
As for holding data, again, this is dependant on the size of the data, but 4GB is really a hell of a lot of space just for data.
** ANYWAY... now for my opinion...
Once you have tackled the standard oversized and very irritating plastic packaging you are presented with the rather small looking device, about the size of a cheap throwaway lighter.
The first thing I noticed was that the cap which was meant to be covering the USB connecter, wasn't there, but then, stupid me, I remembered that it doesn't have one. The connecter actually retracts into the main body with the slide of a small plastic knob on the top, this protects the connecter and stops you losing the cap. And don't worry about the connecter slipping back into the unit whilst trying to plug into your PC as the pen drives connecter is stiff enough to stop this happening.
I was quite impressed with the size of the unit, fitting easily into my pocket without any hassles, so I could avoid that horrid feeling when something in your pocket is slowly digging its way through your skin towards your thigh bone.
Then, setting about transferring data from PC to Pen drive, and vice versa, was as easy as opening a door, I simply pushed the Pen drive into the USB port on my PC and as it was Windows ready I didn't have to install any drivers, thus making it so quick to dart from PC to PC, which I like very much.
The sliding mechanism which allows the USB connector to retract into the devices body is a little stiff at first, (the ones I have used have been, although most may not be), but the action does become smoother once you have used it a few times, but not smooth enough to retract when you don't want it too.
The sandisk can be bought so cheaply, prices varying but for a 4GB unit from amazon will set you back just under a tenner, (a 16 GB device is around the £16 mark), although I do advise shopping around for the best deal.
And for this price you can store a vast amount of information in formats such as WAV, MP3, MP4 and AVI, easily transferring from PC to PC...
Technology is so clever isn't it, and it wont be too long before we are doing away with CD/DVDs like we did with that thing called Vinyl, (don't even get me going about Beta max..???)
** DOWNFALLS TO THIS FLASH DRIVE...
The added U3 software, which allegedly helps you run programs from the pen drive? although if you don't need U3 then maybe go for another pen drive that doesn't have it in built as deleting it from this pen drive is painstakingly difficult. (although not impossible).
U3 can be useful once you know how to use it but it can also be a pain in the rear end if you don't.
In all, if you want an inexpensive pen drive and you want it with U3 software tehn go for the sankisk range, starting with this little unit that has more storage space than the Doctors TARDIS...
If you don't feel you need U3 then go for something else, although I do feel that the future may be heading towards U3.