Monday, May 3, 2010

A Top Keychain USB Flash Drive: iamakey Review

USB flash drive keys are tools of every day use. They have multiple uses that they can be put too, which make them ideal travel items. What would be the ideal travel USB Flash drive key?

An ideal travel or everyday carry (EDC) flash drive has a very specific set of attributes:

  • Capless: why anybody makes capped flash drives with no swivels or tethers, I have no idea. The best flash drive, of course, has no cap to lose. 
  • Small: as little volume as possible to make it possible to travel with and carry it easily
  • Keychain: should be able to stay on  a keychain
  • Storage size: should be large enough to take a good amount of data, at least 8GB, if possible 16GB
  • Inconspicuousness: a nice to have would be to have a flash drive that does not attract attention as a flash drive, so that it does not scream "call me," either as a desirable technology gadget, or as a possible source of confidential information
  • Reliability: should last several years on average (flash drives have a limited number of read/write cycles and will all eventually die)
  • Speed: should be fast enough for timely file transfers, although record speed is not needed
  • Price: should carry good value
LaCie's iamakey 8/16/32GB flash drive rates well across these desiderata. It is good looking, full metal, in the shape of a regular key, and does not look out of place at all in your keychain - it looks like it belongs. The full metal construction makes it fairly scratch- and water-resistant. It is as small as a slightly thick security key, and long enough to give you enough to grab with your fingers when you push it in or pull it out of a USB port. It gives you multiple storage sizes at a reasonable price, and its wide availability makes it possible to shop around for it. While LaCie's iamakey  is not by no means the fastest USB key around - on the slow side compared to the fastest models,- it is by no means dead slow.

How reliable is it? It scores approximately in the  85th percentile for modern flash drive keys, good but not perfect. It is surpassed in reliability by the Data Traveler DTI, (slow and capped),  the  SanDisk Cruzer Micro, (very slow, connector-retractable, comes U3-formatted with bloat software) and the Transcend V30 JetFlash (capped, compact body, slow, U3 bloat software).  It is comparable in reliability with the Kingston Data Traveler DT101 (swivel cap) and DT100 (retractable connector) and the Corsair Voyager (capped, very thick), all of which are slow, too bulky to go on a keyring, and not as good looking.

LaCie's iamakey comes with a small transparent plastic cap. Throw it away the moment you open the pack and never look back.

No comments:

Post a Comment