When I started looking for a USB Flash drive to purchase my key requirements were:
- Fast with true USB 2.0 transfer speeds
- Reliable enough to withstand being dropped quite often and be water proof
- Not too expensive
According to an interview of Australian data recovery specialist Payam Data Recovery (PDR) by ITwire:
Although they have been designed the be fairly durable, attaching USB flash drives to key-chains and briefcases or carelessly throwing them onto desks and into draws exposes them to constant knocks, hot temperatures and other day-to-day dangers, which the devices aren’t designed to continually handle.
“The physical appearance of a USB key makes people think they are simple and hardy devices, but they contain delicate parts and use complex algorithms to store data on the internal memory chip.
“If you are going to rely on one of these devices to store priceless data, then it should be treated accordingly,” said Mr Toloo [PDR Managing Director].
With the increasing number of USB brands now available, manufacturing quality can also be an issue, and physical defects and faults can cause sudden failure.
“A limited number of write/erase cycles are possible before failure occurs, and while high-end flash drives will support several million cycles, cheaper devices are more unpredictable.”
So I could have saved a few dollars by buying a generic brand, but I decided to purchase a 256MB Corsair Flash Voyager USB Drive instead because Corsair has a good reputation with computer/electronics enthusiasts.
Corsair Flash Voyager USB drives are rugged, stylish, compact, reliable, and exceptionally fast, making them ideal for transporting MP3s, digital images, presentations and more. With data transfer rates up to 19Mb/sec, Flash Voyager drives are fully Hi-Speed USB 2.0 compliant, and are backward compatible with USB 1.1. They support Plug and Play with most operating systems. Their durable rubber casing is easy to grip and water resistant. These highly portable drives are available in capacities ranging up to 16GB.
- Plug & Play functionality in Windows® XP, 2000, ME, Linux 2.4 and later, Mac OS 9, X and later
- Security application lets you create a password-protected partition.
- Drivers on CD for Windows® 98
- Lanyard, USB cable and driver CD included
- Supports sustained read speed up to 19MB/sec*
- Supports sustained write speed up to 13MB/sec*
- Ten year warranty
Some excerpts from reviews of the Corsair Flash Voyager USB drive follow:
“The rubber cladding around Corsair’s Flash drives help them to stand out, making them waterproof and better-suited for outdoor use. Their performance is also right on: with nearly 20 MB/sec read rates, and 14 MB/sec write rates, there’s no grounds to complain about speed here
Corsair’s rubber covered USB 2.0 Flash memory stick feels good to touch, and feels right for our readers. The USB memory stick may turn out to be the product of the decade as it continues to become an indispensable device for every computer user. (Readers’ Choice Awards 2005 Winner)
” – Toms Hardware Guide
“a device that any gamer who uses more than one computer should own. It costs very little for its smallest capacity, is extremely fast, and is more durable than any other sort of removable media. It can’t get scratched like a disk, shocks can’t corrupt it like a floppy, and it can take hits harder than any other flash drive we’ve ever used. It is the perfect complement to any gamer’s gear.”
– Gotfrag.com hardware reviews
“The rubber casing makes the Flash Voyager extremely durable and if you’re hard on your components you won’t have to worry about the Corsair Flash Voyager breaking! We dropped it down a flight of stairs which didn’t even leave a mark on the USB drive, and was good to go when we got back into the office. The only things we have to complain about are purely cosmetic, the rubber casing is sticky and a magnet for dirt and dust. If you’re looking for one of the fastest USB 2.0 drives on the market, the Corsair Flash Voyager is exactly what the doctor ordered!”
“With its water-resistant feature, the Corsair 512MB Flash Voyager certainly has an edge over competing USB flash memory drives. It survived all our three water resistance tests, even a 30-minutes rinse cycle!
The Flash Voyager is also a very fast drive, especially with large files. It managed to write them at over 9.2MB/s! With smaller files, it was not so fast but that’s expected. It still did pretty well at 1MB/s.”
“Corsair has done a good job with the Flash Voyager drives. They are the fastest USB Flash drives I have looked at. The software security feature is nice since it does let you look at both the secure and unsecure partitions at the same time. The rubber covering of the drive provides the drive with a protective cover that keeps the device from damage from water and being banged around. Mine is on my key chain and has taken quite a beating without having any issues.”
“Apart from the near-certainty that you’re going to loose the lid, I really can’t find much to gripe about that’s worth page space.
Rubber armored for those clumsy moments and fully sealed to keep out the pocket fluff and stop that ugly “loose change battle-scarred” appearance that hard plastic Flash drives so often suffer from, it’s only real failing for some will be the lack of a pocket clip.
The blue LED, while a minor pint really, undoubtedly gives it an element of street cred, as does the Corsair logo if it comes to it.”
“They say a goldfish has a 3 second memory. Well Corsair’s memory fish lasts ages longer than that in thescircumstances. Corsair state that the module is water resistant but as you can see after 2 hours in a fish tank all you need to do is dry off the casing and plug it in again.
So you want to boil an egg but have none in the house? Try a memory module and see what happens. We thought we would take this water test just a ep further. Can this module handle water and heat? The module remained boiling for 3 minutes. Once removed the module plugged in fine and the data was safe.”
I give the Corsair Flash Voyager USB drive a mark of 80%, the reason for it losing 20% is:
- the cap isn’t secured well enough and is prone to falling off quite often. Corsair should have attached the cap to the Flash Voyager by some kind of durable connection eg: a string line made of a flexible but durable material like the metal covered with clear plastic USB cable extender they supply with the drive.
- the body of the flash drive is a bit fat which can make it tricky to squeeze it into a USB port with little space around it
As at 16 Dec 2006 the cheapest prices for the Corsair Flash Voyager (in Australian dollars and not including delivery costs) were:
256 MB – $23.68
512 MB – $30.00
1 GB – $40.68
2 GB – $69.00
4 GB – $133.89
8 GB – $241.70
16 GB – $328.57