Friday, July 29, 2011

No Bells And Whistles: Kingston Technology's 1GB DataTraveler Flash Drive Makes A Fair Stocking-stuffer.

The Good: Well, it works. Easy to use, does what it promises, hard to damage.
The Bad: Easy to lose or destroy, Often requires proper shutdown, No indicator for data transfer.
The Basics: Very much what one expects from a flash drive, the DataTraveler 1 GB flash drive is adequate for virtually anyone with small data transfer needs.

It is hard for me to muster up a lot of words or enthusiasm for my new flash drive. I still have my Verbatim Store 'N' Go; actually, I sent it to a friend of mine to exchange a pretty large selection of information. But throughout the summer, Pepsi had bottle caps which had codes on them and when their promotion ended abruptly, I decided to cash them in to get a new flash drive because, well, it was free.

As a result, I now have a Kingston Technology DataTraveler, a 1 gigabyte flash drive that runs through USB 2.0 according to the package it came in.

For those unfamiliar with flash drives, these are convenient little pieces of computer hardware that essentially act as a portable hard drive. They are a male USB port connected plugged into a very small board and it holds any sort of computer information that can be held on a standard hard drive. Because virtually every computer these days has a USB port (the "U" stands for "Universal!") this becomes a remarkably efficient and easy way to transfer information from one computer to another and to walk around with files. Far more durable than floppy discs and easier to transfer information to than a CD-R, the flash drive is a remarkable piece of technology that makes files portable between computers in a way that is often as easy as clicking a flash drive into a USB port!

The Kingston Technology DataTraveler is a two and a half inch long by 3/4" wide by 3/8" thick piece of plastic that is white, save the logoed portion that is the center stripe and the end that has a loop that may be connected to a keychain or such. One end has a USB interface which plugs into any USB port - it is a standard type of port on computers, the flat-looking interface that is rectangular shaped. This end is covered with a simple plastic cap that must be pulled off to reveal the male end of the USB drive. The cap clicks back on and it is a decent way to protect the equipment. The other end is a convenient plastic loop that can be connected to a strap (like a shoestring) that allows one to carry their DataTraveler around their neck (strap of any kind or keychain is NOT included with this flashdrive).

Whenever you plug the DataTraveler into a computer that has Plug and Play capability (Windows 2000 or above) the computer will register the drive and usually open a window to show the contents of the drive. In Windows, files may be dragged onto the drive or dragged off the drive to copy files to or from the drive. It is seriously that easy. Unlike having to spend minutes loading large files with multiple floppy discs or having the inconvenience of having to find a CD burner for a CD-R/CD-RW, the DataTraveler is literally as easy as plugging in and dragging (or copying) files to it!

I move music files in seconds, save word processed files as fast as to the hard drive and have even stored video files near a whole gigabyte on the DataTraveler to transfer from downloads to my home computer. The only wrinkle I've found using the DataTraveler so far is that my mother's archaic HP Pavilion laptop that is running on Windows 98 does not acknowledge it. This drive does not come with any form of driver disc, though virtually any internet-connected computer will have no problem finding the appropriate driver for this particular model.

The DataTraveler has a 1 GB capacity which means most people can replicate their entire data collection from their primary terminal and save it on here! This makes for a great back-up option in case of fire or disaster or covertly transferring information! The only important functional detail to remember is that if you are plugging it into a PC or other Windows-based system, it must be properly removed from the system using the "Eject" option from the tool bar. Otherwise, some of the files may not open properly. I discovered this the hard way. It is important, then, to not simply jam it in and pull it out. No, it requires a bit more sensitivity than that. You can jam it into a USB port, of course, but the computer has to be prepared for it to be withdrawn, else it will sometimes prevent the files from functioning properly.

In addition to Windows-based systems, the DataTraveler plugs into USB ports on my MacBook Pro (reviewed here!) and other Apple computers. This means it can be a wonderful interface between any of the music-storing Apple products that have a USB port and a computer!

The DataTraveler is very convenient, though because of its small size, it may easily be lost. I got a strap for it pretty much right away because the white module seems to blend in with virtually everything. A strap comes in handy in that regard and I've found that I tend to be quite glad that I put one on the end loop. Having been schlepping the tiny drive between my home and the library to upload reviews, I've found that the DataTraveler is handy and durable. I've sat on it, dropped it and nervously spun it around on its strap. Nothing. I have watched people crush flash drives under their boot before, but I've not asked anyone to try risking a DataTraveler for that exercise. In general, though these are not indestructible as far as day to day wear goes.

As mentioned, the DataTraveler comes with a little cap that easily pops off to protect the USB plug when it is not in a computer. The cap has a small bump to keep it on and that works nicely, so it does not fall off and yet is easy enough to remove when one is ready to use it.

But for all my ability to write, it's hard to find anything more to say about this. It has one purpose: store information. It does that. I've not encountered any sort of magnetic field that has wiped clear that memory and truth be told, I'm not even sure it's possible. With 1 Gigabyte of storage space, this packs a great amount of storage into a very discrete package. Anyone on the go who works with multiple computers will want to get one of these.

And seriously, they are inexpensive enough that if you keep an extra one by your bed with your essential computer back-ups, it's convenient enough to grab when you're scooping up the cats and fleeing fire, flood, tornadoes, etc.

For other flash drive reviews, please check out my takes on:
Lexar Jumpdrive Sport
Tribeca Pinkdrive
ATP Breast Cancer Awareness Flash Drive


For other electronics product reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing of all of them!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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