Speed stor­age

Finweek English Edition - - TECH TRENDS - SI­MON DIN­GLE si­mond@finweek.co.za

I KNOW WHAT you’re think­ing: Is Finweek re­ally car­ry­ing a re­view of a USB flash drive? As mun­dane as ball­point pens, USB thumb drives have be­come a sta­ple in of­fice en­vi­ron­ments. And they aren’t ex­actly rev­o­lu­tion­ary. But the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate G2 uses a new stan­dard in USB tech­nol­ogy that, along with a gi­ant ca­pac­ity, makes it not just any thumb drive.

So while this de­vice may only be as ex­cit­ing as Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s suits, we agreed to check it out sim­ply be­cause we haven’t seen one be­fore. The G2 uses the USB 3 stan­dard, al­low­ing for much, much faster ac­cess times than pre­vi­ous re­vi­sions. Many new com­put­ers ship with the tech­nol­ogy – bar­ring Ap­ple Macs, which cu­ri­ously don’t. Ap­ple has adopted In­tel’s new Thun­der­bolt tech­nol­ogy and that could be why it isn’t ter­ri­bly in­ter­ested in USB 3. But Len­ovo and many other PC man­u­fac­tur­ers now sup­port that stan­dard.

When plugged into a USB 3 port, the DataTraveler al­lows files to be trans­ferred about three times faster than on USB 2 ports in our own tests. That makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence when copy­ing large files and will be es­pe­cially use­ful for cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als.

The drive comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB sizes. The last-men­tioned is es­pe­cially note­wor­thy, be­cause it means you could use it as a backup drive while on the road or for other ap­pli­ca­tions that have sub­stan­tial stor­age de­mands. It’s larger than most other USB thumb drives but still small enough to dis­ap­pear in a pocket. It’s also much, much smaller than a com­par­a­tive ex­ter­nal hard drive.

The drive is back­wards com­pat­i­ble with USB 2, so it can be used in older com­put­ers, al­though you ob­vi­ously lose the speed ad­van­tage when do­ing so. The DataTraveler is one of those things that ini­tially evokes a “so what” feel­ing, but af­ter car­ry­ing it around for a cou­ple of weeks it falls into the same cat­e­gory as your favourite pen. It’s one of the first of many USB 3 drives to come – and those will soon be par for the course and as bor­ing as pen­cil sharp­en­ers. The first gen­er­a­tion is also still too ex­pen­sive for any­one to rea­son­ably con­sider.

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