The Sandisk Cruzer is a small USB 'pen' drive that is approximatly the size of a pack of chewing gum.
It comes with three caps (in different colours) and a neck strap and works via the USB port. There are downloadable drivers which allow this to be used with Windows 98SE from Sandisk's website.
The performance of this device is excellent with transfer speeds for large files (50MB+) being transferred within in seconds. THere is a small yellow LED at one end which flashes to indicate when data is being transferred.
The drive also comes with a built in encryption program which allows sensitive files (word docs, spreadsheets etc.) to be encrypted so that a password is needed to access the file.
The drive is excellent value and can be bought for less than £20 and is a must for all computers users to replace their floppy discs. The build is a little flimsy but the device is surprising reliable having survived in my pocket for two years now.
Excellent product, and makes a good gift for X'mas or Birthday present. Essential for workers who take their work home from the office or to use as a storage medium.
Have you ever needed to copy information from one computer to another when you didn't have a CD burner and the documents were too large for a floppy disk? One solution is to buy a CD or DVD burner drive. But those burners sometimes make errors, which you'll often discover only when its too late. Moreover, unless you're burning on a re-writeable disk, if you make a mistake you've wasted both the CD and the time it took to burn it. Plus, those CDs aren't quite as durable as we were led to believe. A scratch in the wrong place and your files will be unreadable. Finally, you don't always need 700mb (or more) of storage every time you want to take a bunch of files from one computer to another - so again, burning a couple of files onto a CD seems wasteful. But now there's a new solution - USB storage. My boss bought two different kinds of these babies, and the one I'm reviewing today is the SanDisk Cruzer USB 256mb Flash Drive (but we also have a Lexar JumpDrive 2.0 Pro, 256mb high-speed portable storage, which I'll review later).
First of all, what is this? Simply stated, it's a type of disk in the shape of a stick which plugs into any USB port on your computer. The difference between this and a floppy disk or CD is that it holds much more information than your old floppy (1.44mb) but less than a CD (700mb). Also, unlike a floppy or CD, you can get these with different sizes of storage capacity - in this case, 128mb, 256mb, 516mb and 1.0gb. Much like a floppy, you don't need any special software to copy information from your computer onto this disk - which makes it easier to use than a CD, which requires burning software.
Speaking of software, you should know that if you're running your computer on Windows98SE, you'll need to download a driver from their website (http://www.sandisk.com) for your system to recognize the USB port as a "drive" on your computer - but I understand that this is true for all USB storage disks, and not just this particular one. So, as far as software requirements go, this is compatible with all the different operating systems for both PCs and Macs.
Your only hardware limitation with this disk is that you need a free USB port to plug this in. I can't imagine that there are many computers out there without one of these, but you never know. Other than this, the best USB port to have is supposed to be the newer 2.0 type (vs the older 1.1 type) so that you can transfer data at its top speed. That doesn't mean you can't use this on the older USB port, it just means that it will take you longer to transfer the data from the computer to the disk. I don't see this as too much of a problem because it will still be faster than burning a CD.
Using this is as easy as it can be. If you remember how to copy things from your computer onto a floppy disk, then you can figure this out in an instant. It's the famous "drag and drop" feature that everyone talks about, and despite being more sophisticated technology than a CD, its actually just as easy to use as the CDs predecessor - the floppy disk. Personally, I plug this in and then look to see that there's a little icon on my quick launch toolbar. A dialog box will come up about new hardware and I know its been recognized. Then I go to my "My Computer" and look to see what drive letter has been assigned to this. Then I simply open up the directory where I have the files I want to copy, click on the files I want, and then do "Control C". I then go back to "My Computer", right click on the drive for this disk and select "paste" and Bob's Your Uncle! I know there are other ways to copy onto this disk, but that's the way I like to do it. Usually after I've copied the files, I'll open up the drive to make sure that everything is there. Then - if I'm at home with my Windows XP I simply close up the window, and pull the disk out. If I'm at work with my Windows2000 I have to go to that little icon in the toolbar and tell it I want to remove the disk before I can take it out. No big deal, is it? By the way, there's a Quick Start Guide that comes with this disk that explains how to use this in very simple English, and you don't need anything more than that guide.
As you can see from the picture above, this looks much like a pack of old fashioned sticks of chewing gum. Its actually not as wide or as thick as a pack of gum, but its almost the exact same length. The end that has the part you plug into your USB slot has a little plastic cover for it to keep it from getting damaged. The only problem with the cover is that its pretty small and can easily get lost. However, apparently the manufacturers thought of this and you get two extra covers for these. The three covers are different colours so if you have several of these disks I suppose you could also use these caps to coordinate which disk has what type of files on it. This is the only way to identify what's on the disks since there are no labels you can put on the outside, nor is there a place where you can write on these.
USB disks are sometimes called "disks on key". The reason for this is because you can hook them onto your key chain by a type of loop bit on the end. This one actually comes with one of those neck loops like you see people put their cell phones on. Still, if you don't like using those, they could get lost because of their small size.
One of the other problems with this disk is that if you're copying from your desktop computer, you'll probably have to reach behind your machine to plug it in. This is a bit bothersome. One way around this is to get a USB extension cable that is long enough to go from the back of your computer to the front. I've also seen some keyboards that have USB ports, but I haven't had the opportunity to try this. Finally, I believe I have seen one desktop computer that has a USB port on the front of it, which would be very convenient. Of course, if you're copying from your laptop, then you won't need to become a contortionist to use this disk.
Someone asked me about security on this item. The answer is, no, you can't write protect this particular model of USB storage. The only thing I can think of to help secure your files with these is if you put passwords on the files you put on this. This could be a problem if you're using this for highly confidential files - but I doubt the average bloke would worry too much about this.
Finally the cost. My boss got his first one for about $55 on special at a Staples in New York, but later he couldn't find one for less than $60 (although on their web page it costs $55 without shipping). I see that these cost £25.44 at the on-line shop www.mymemory.co.uk which is a very reasonable price. But if you compare this to £10 for a pack of 50 CDs at the same shop, you can see that these little guys are still very expensive as far as cost per MB is concerned. Even a pack of 10 re-recordable CDs (that's 7GB of storage) costs only £6. At these prices, I don't see you'll be wanting to buy tons of these.
So why would you buy these? Let's look at the drawbacks: They're pretty small and could be easily lost. You can't write protect them. Unless you have a convenient set-up, you might hurt your back while plugging/unplugging these. They don't hold even half as much information as a CD. And finally, they're not cheap at all (at least not yet). On the plus side: They're extremely easy to use. They are very fast. They're not going to weigh you down or take up lots of space. They seem very durable, and so a very reliable way to store and transport information. They hold a whole lot more information than floppy disks. And finally, you can re-use them as many times as you want without worrying about the quality of the storage.
From this list of comparisons, one would think that the pros and cons are about equal. My personal opinion why I like these includes the fact that I can copy important documents without feeling like I'm wasting a whole CD on a small amount of information, or wasting lots of time on burning. My son likes to use this as a way to trade MP3 files with his friends, which is safer than sending/receiving them by ICQ or email, and certainly safer than downloading them from the Internet. But the real reason I like these is: these are just too cool for words, and that just blows all the cons right out of the water. I'm taking off one star because of the price, but other than that, highly recommended.
Thanks for reading!
(Originally posted on Ciao!)
Official web site is www.sandisk.com. They don't have a UK site but Keith Norman, is their northern European sales manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their corporate offices in the US are:
111 Java Drive or 40 Caspian Court, Sunnyvale, CA 94089, Phone: 408-542-0500, Fax: 408-542-0503
The SanDisk Cruzer Mini is a USB storage device you can use to transfer data between computers. It holds data, music, pictures, and just about anything else you wish to store. I decided I needed one of these, when my new laptop arrived, and didn?t have a floppy drive. As external floppy drives are heavy and bulky, and also caused the demise of my laptop when my son put it on the keys and shut the lid, I was looking for an alternative. I am always on the lookout for a bargain, so my evening was spent surfing the net in an attempt to find something cheap, which would also be an acceptable alternative to the floppy disk. Bingo, I found the SanDisk Mini Cruzer 128MB for £20.99 on ebuyer. Not bad for a device that holds the equivalent of over 100 floppy disks! The device arrived in a plastic packet with no booklet or software. You know the type of packaging ? you need a hacksaw and a chainsaw just to access the product inside! Actually getting the package open was cause for celebration. This storage device doesn?t require any drivers so long as you use Windows 2000 or newer. The only problem I have had with it is when I need to access a client?s computer, only to find they are using Windows 98. On the internet, this device looks metal, with its silver body. It is actually made of plastic, but despite this, it is quite hardy, and having dropped it several times, it still works. ***So, how easy is it to use?*** I plugged it into the USB port, and Hey Presto!, the computer automatically recognised the device. No messing. I?m on Windows XP. To transfer data, you can either use the ?save as? function, or in My Computer, you can move data easily by clicking and dragging from the hard drive onto the device. Si
mple. It works exactly like a floppy drive. ***Speed of data transfer?*** When plugged in there is a pale green/yellow LED on which flashes when transferring data. To transfer enough data to fill the device takes a couple of minutes. Transferring the data from the device onto the computer takes seconds. I have never used anything so fast before. I was truly amazed. ***What does it come with?*** An attachable neck strap, which was almost as difficult to attach as the package was to get open. I do tend to keep it around my neck when I?m working as it is so small it would be pretty easy to lose, or to leave at a client?s. It also comes with 3 caps in different colours Blue, clear or green. The caps fit onto the end of the device with a click, and are very secure. It also comes with sticker so that you can attach your name, or whatever info you wish. I?ve put on my name and email address in the hope that if I do lose it, someone may be honest enough to let me know where I lost it. There isn?t a USB extension with this, but as the body of the device is so tiny, it is unlikely that you will need one. I keep an extention at home to save me digging around at the back of the computer as I don?t have a front USB port. The only downside really is that when accessing client computers, I have been known to climb under a desk in amongst all the iron filings and mouse dropping to find the USB port. I have also had to climb over desks to reach the back of computers. I can?t wait for the day that all USB ports are on the front. ***Security*** You can download secure software called CruzerLock from the Sandisk site at http://www.sandisk.com/retail_technical_support_drivers_SDCZ2_256. html. This will
encrypt any sensitive files. I can?t tell you how effective this is as I generally don?t have a use for this. ***Minimum System Requirements*** I thought I?d better add this, as it?s no good buying it, then finding it won?t work. I?ve had this problem with Client?s computers which are not completely up to date. So: >Pentium PC or Mac computer with USB support >Windows 98SE, 2000, ME or XP > Mac OS 9.1.x+, OS X v10.1.2+ >USB 2.0 port required for Hi-Speed transfer The device is Hi-Speed USB 2.0 certified for fast data transfer, but is compatible with USB 1.1. ***Size*** I was surprised at how tiny this is. I have a stacked USB on my laptop, and this device is thin enough to use with another USB device. You could also fit 2 of these side by side if you needed to. On my PC, I can use this device, and plug in my camera at the same time. That means that I can transfer data straight from the camera onto this device. It measures approx 69mm in length including cap, 17mm in width, and 5mm deep. ***Conclusion*** I am really happy with this product. The speed of the data transfer never ceases to amaze me. I?ve had it for about 6 months now, and have had loads of use out of it. It appears very stable, and I haven?t had any problems retrieving data from it. I love how small it is, but I do worry about losing it. I guess you can?t have it all ways. I use the strap constantly, and the struggle to attach it was worth it. I can highly recommend this product to anyone regularly transferring data from their laptop to a PC, or PC to PC where there is no network connection
. Hope this has been useful. If I have missed anything out, please leave me a message, and I?ll add it to the review. Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php