So much goes into shopping for a flash drive. Price, accessories, features, transfer speeds and availability are just the start of it all. The one thing that really can't be measured is personal preference to each of these categories, and of course what style you like. Some users may even make a purchasing decision based on the color of the drive alone.
Today we looked at just a small handful of drives that are available in the US, but this sample size doesn't even make up 1% of the available products on the global market. Our sample group does cover some of the most widely used products available and also some of the best ever made in their categories. Let's take a look at some of the features and find the drives that best match basic needs.
The first category is all out speed. These drives are some of the fastest available, but their price may be an issue for some users. The Silicon Power LuxMini 920 was the fastest USB 2.0 drive we tested; it was actually one of the fastest we had ever seen, but the problem is we can't find it for sale anywhere. It's not on Newegg, Google Shopping or PriceGrabber. The very close second place drive in the speed category was the Patriot Rage and it is available all over the place. When it comes to USB 3.0 the OCZ Enyo is as fast as we will ever see, but its physical size is bothersome if you are looking for a real thumb sized drive. The ADATA N005 USB 3.0 drive is the perfect mix between speed and size, but you will need a USB 3.0 port to tap into its high speed mode.
The next category is size. If you are looking for a very small drive the Silicon Power TOUCH 830 is about as small as you can get; but you have to find it first. We were not able to find it either. Last year we had the Super Talent Pico C in and it is a suitable replacement, but the drive isn't very fast and would be in the lower 1/3 of the drives we reviewed today when it comes to speed. The happy mix between small and fast is the Lexar FireFly and the Patriot Rage.
Bigger is always better when it comes to storage and several of the drives we looked at today are available in 64GB capacities. The number of drives offered at 128GB is quite small, though. The Patriot Magnum and Super Talent Luxio top this list. The ADATA N005 USB 3.0 drive tops out at 64GB, but if you want to go big it's hard to beat the Magnum with its aluminium body and accessory package.
When it comes to my own personal preference, having used all of these products I really like the Patriot Rage for 'in my pocket' storage and the OCZ Enyo for 'around the house' use. The Rage is the perfect size and has all the speed you could ask for. It really is the stand out USB 2.0 drive; one of the best all-around thumb drives we have ever seen.
The OCZ Enyo is just pure muscle. It's kind of like a professional body builder; all of that muscle but you have to wonder how much all of that muscle impedes daily life. The Enyo is small enough to go in your pocket, but the external cable reminds us that thumb drive material it isn't.