Transcend JetFlash 8GB - Rugged - USB Drive
It's no accident that I have acquired quite a reputation for dropping things (well, actually it's several accidents). I can catch fairly well but it's when I already have hold of an object and am seemingly in control that my hands choose the moment to showcase a remarkable lack of dexterity.
Something I seem to fumble with and drop more often than anything else, are my keys. Like the pathetic victim of some horror movie, I seem incapable of opening a door in one attempt. Unlike my pride, keys are fairly sturdy so not much damage is done here but for the fact that I always have my USB drive attached to my key ring. Constant plummets to the ground do not fare well for such devices.
After destroying my second USB drive in a matter of months (the latest succumbing to a rather annoyingly placed puddle) I decided to look for something a bit sturdier and therefore more suitable for my ham-fisted lifestyle. This is where the Transcend JetFlash comes in which, with the word 'rugged' attached to it, sounded like the ideal replacement.
=== Design/Ease of Use ===
Style wise, the JetFlash V70 is rather smart with its slightly tapered and sleek design and is much better looking than my previous plastic USB drives. My 8GB version is a nice bright orange and black colour combination making it difficult to misplace when using it at my computer desk. The silicone rubber also gives the drive a smooth and slightly soft feel to it which makes it enjoyable to use as well; more so than my former cheap-feeling plastic devices.
As I was going to be carrying my USB drive around in my pocket along with my keys, it was important that the drive I chose was fairly slim and that it would also attach easily to my key ring. Although the Transcend V70 is not the thinnest of devices at 11mm thick it is still quite small allowing it to take an unobtrusive place in my pocket. At 63 x 20mm it is just a little longer and no wider than a standard door key.
I am slightly disappointed however with the key ring attachment because the gap for this is not very generously sized. I have managed to fit it onto my keys but it is a snug fit which doesn't allow for much wiggle room when attached. I would have preferred a larger gap for a looser fit purely to allow it to behave more like a key and slide freely on a key ring rather than be stuck in position but this is not too much of an issue, just another of my petty gripes. You can always use a small piece of cord to tie the drive to a key ring which allows for more flexibility but, as much as I love a good Heath Robinson affair, I prefer to just put up with the stiff fit.
The USB drive also comes with an attachable cap holder which is basically a small loop of elasticated string which ties to the drive and has a small rubber piece which the cap can slot safely onto whilst you are using the device. Personally, I don't really like this since the elastic cord tended to get tangled up with my keys causing more problems than it solved. Therefore, I have since removed said attachment and naturally I now have no idea where it is.
Other than that, there are no frills to speak of. No blinking LED light when connected (which may disappoint some) and no fancy sliding mechanisms. For me, this level of simplicity is ideal because I don't really need anything flashy (forgive the pun) and with the V70 there is very little to go wrong, even in my hands. It's just a regular USB drive with a removable cap. Simple.
The cap slides off easily when you need to plug in the USB drive and unlike a lot of plastic ones I have had in the past, it doesn't require a forceful yank to remove. The downside to this is that it can slide off slightly if you have it moving around in your pocket but although the cap has loosened I have yet to discover it to have come off completely. It still does a very reasonable job at keeping the dreaded pocket dust away from the USB connector.
=== Plug and Play ===
Once I managed to tear it out of the packaging (not an easy feat) I simply plugged it into a vacant USB slot on my laptop and a few seconds later, all was connected and ready to go. Being a truly plug and play device, no installation is necessary and you are able to start transferring files almost instantly. I was slightly miffed to find out that my supposed 8GB capacity was actually 7.45GB but all memory devices seem to short-change you in this department so I was not too shocked by these miserly shenanigans.
=== Transferring Files===
Transferring to and from the USB drive is very simple indeed and is just a case of dragging and dropping the relevant files to the drive in Microsoft Windows or alternatively right clicking and using the 'Send to' route. My laptop is Windows 7 whereas my Desktop PC is still Windows XP and the drive connects to both without lagging and transferring is a smooth and effortless process. In fact it's one of the few external devices which runs smoothly on my rather old Desktop PC; usually, any hardware that dares to disturb its peace puts it into a fit of hysterics.
In terms of transfer speed, I have not had anything to grumble about. Documents transfer almost instantly and files such as photos/videos transfer in a matter of seconds. Rather than conduct a set of tedious transfer speed tests and send you to sleep in the process I will simply comment that the speed of transfer has been very much the same as any other USB 2.0 device I have used. However, for those of you itching to know, the claimed speeds are as follows (you can't say I don't spoil you):
Read speed: 18 MB/s
Write speed: 5 MB/s
You get pretty much what you expect in terms on MB/second speed which is quite quick these days. Very useful for the frequent and tedious backing up of my data where the faster it is over the better.
=== Ruggedness ===
The main reason I bought the Transcend V70 was for its purported ruggedness. I needed something to be able to withstand countless plummets to the hard ground; a plummet exacerbated by a set of car/house keys propelling its fall. I also needed something that was water resistant so that I would have no fear using my keys in the rain whilst the USB drive was attached on my key ring.
Why not just keep my USB drive away from my keys, you ask? Two reasons 1) despite dropping my keys routinely, I have never actually managed to lose them so it's the safest place to keep something which contains my personal data and 2) I am a creature of habit.
So, has the USB drive lived up to its macho claims? So far, yes. Without needing to devise any thorough testing procedures, nature duly took its course and my fumbling ways have provided the Transcend drive with several occasions on which to prove itself. I have dropped it...a lot, and instead of cringing helplessly as my keys propel to the ground and then cursing profusely as I pick them back up again, I am content that no damage can be done and my USB Drive will continue to work perfectly, which it has. I am very impressed with the ruggedness of this device and I would even feel very confident throwing it from a tall building and recovering it from the pavement intact, as long as I didn't manage to land it in a puddle or throw it down a drain (knowing my luck!). The silicone rubber provides a really solid shock protection to the drive and it would take purposeful force to actually break it.
Water resistance is another strong suit of the V70. The silicone rubber sufficiently repels any water droplets making it safe to have on a key ring in the rain. The only vulnerability is the join between the drive and the cap but provided the cap is on snugly, the thick silicone surround delivers a good barrier to prevent any water from reaching the interior USB connection. However, fate has not yet dealt me another puddle incident so I can neither applaud nor condemn its performance under complete submersion; although, the drive never claims to be completely waterproof.
=== Price/Availability ===
The Transcend V70 is available in memory capacities of 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32 GB, each one represented by a different colour. I opted for the 8GB version because this size suited my needs the best for the occasional transfer of files from my laptop to my computer as well as for backing up a few of my most important documents/photos. This particular device comes in a rather fetching orange/black colour combination and is currently available on amazon.co.uk for a very reasonable £7.19 delivered.
=== Verdict ===
I recommend this fully for anyone as clumsy as me when it comes to flash drive treatment and even if you aren't all fingers and thumbs then this is a pretty decent USB drive in its own right. After two years I have had no issue with files corrupting or transfer lags and although I will concede that there are now better USB drives available (such as the faster 3.0 devices) I am completely happy with mine and have no reason to even consider upgrading. Any USB drive that manages to survive two years with me deserves a seal of approval!
Thanks for reading :)