BUYING A USB DRIVE/PEN DRIVE – THINGS TO REMEMBER
Pretty much everyone I know has a USB drive. If you’re reading this chances are pretty good you work with computers a lot, which means you need one in your life, so go get one if you don’t have it already.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, teacher, tech professional, journalist, programmer, designer, artist, doctor, engineer, <insert any modern job description here>, there’s no way you don’t benefit from having something you can use to easily move your data around.
Seriously, if you don’t have one, Go Get It!
Now clearly, there’s no shortage of choices out there. And while we usually do help you out by listing a top few numbers list, the pen drive are universally manufactured by every hardware company the world over;
So doing that is pointless. Chances are quite good you’ll just buy whatever’s available at the local Tech shop instead of going looking for something particular, since for pretty much everyone these things are a matter of convenience, not any specific requirement.
You want to take data with you in your pocket, and that’s it.
So to guide you in this noble endeavour, here are some good tips and general rules of thumb you should remember:
#Buy To Your Needs
When it comes to technology, remember, there is rarely something that we can refer to as “absolute best”.
There is only “what is best for your particular need”. If you absolutely need 256 gigs in less physical size than your pinky finger, then you’ll have to go with that, putting aside things like price and the warranty.
For general usage, it is recommended to buy something with a mid-range capacity; 8-32 gigs shouldn’t cost too much and is enough even for something like Live Operating Systems and Windows On-The-Go installations.
Usually, the price for the same capacity added to a single drive is less than the price for a second drive of the same capacity, i.e, two 16 GB pen drives will cost more than a single 32 GB one.
But some people might prefer two different drives, in case one fails, gets lost or gets damaged. Again, go with what you need; there is no catch-all solution.
#Size Does Matter
There are tiny, tiny USB drives available today, some of whom look like they’re just a port and nothing more.
This usually comes with a trade-off: slower data transfer speed. Don’t forget the very obvious and very big disadvantage of carrying around something as small as a penny – it’s easy to lose.
Unlike a penny, you don’t want to throw it in your pocket haphazardly, and it costs a lot more (and is a lot more important to your life) than a coin.
If you’re anything like me there’s at least been a couple of occasions in your life where your jeans have gone into the wash with loose change still in the pocket, and that is not something you want to do to your data drive.
#Shape Matters Too
There’s all kinds of USBs out there from literally hundreds of manufacturers – and they come in many shapes. There are USB drives that look like keys, keychains, Angry Birds toys, credit cards, actual pens, wristbands, and a whole lot more.
There are websites that offer to make custom-shaped USB drives as per your preference in design and material.
It’s enough to make your head spin. I don’t usually use any of these, because I don’t go for the fancy stuff, but there’s no denying that their designs make them both aesthetically appealing as well as convenient.
The Key USB can go in the keychain USB, which can also hook up one of the smaller USB drives, which could easily add up to about 500GB of storage space hanging from your belt.
#3.0 All The Way
There are many companies which still offer 2.0-USB drives, the logic behind this being that the small capacity means you don’t that much by way of transfer speed anyway.
This was true when pen drives were like 512 MB in size, but with 256 GB versions of the thing available in the market, the argument no longer holds weight.
Make sure that what you buy is 3.0. No compromises.
USBs have and On-The-Go feature too; this will allow them to be read and written on by Android phones (but ONLY if the phone already has the USB On-The-Go feature, otherwise you’ll need a separate device for that – check first), which is a huge bonus, because it essentially expands the memory of your phone by the size of the USB drive in question (and USB OTG drives are a much more cost-effective option than expanding the internal memory).
There are pen drives that come with both On-The-Go and regular USB ports, called dual port drives so you can actually transfer data and files from your PC to your phone and vice versa at the blink of an eye.
No need to wait till you fall sleep trying to get the Bluetooth to finish transferring (don’t get me wrong, I love Bluetooth, but there’s no denying that it absolutely stinks when it comes to data transfer speed).
#Take Security Into Account
You might be living a rough-and-tumble life, like that of a mountaineer or a wilderness or adventure photographer, in which case it pays to invest in a drive that has good external protection from the elements, like shock absorption and robber coating for insulation.
These will make sure that the odd bump and thud your life is sure to inflict on the drive doesn’t leave you in a bad situation.
At the same time, if you are a cyber-security engineer or you’re working on some top-secret agenda to take over the world (good luck with that, BTW) then you don’t need external protection so much as protection for the data itself.
There are companies that offer specialized solutions for this type of situation, like IronKey and Apricot Aegis whose drive come with 256-bit hardware-based encryption that ensures military-grade data protection from anyone who tries to see what’s inside your drive.
Even when the device itself is stolen or lost, chances of its contents being accessed are very, very low.
While we’re at it, keep an eye on the warranty offered by the manufacturer as well. Keep these simple things in mind, and you can’t go wrong!
So, Good Luck & Happy Shopping!!