Corsair knows how to protect your flash data!
The folks at Corsair recently introduced a new product into their popular range of USB flash drive series, this simply called the Flash Padlock.
Corsair are very well known for their Flash GT series of pen drives with insane read and write speeds - among the best in the industry in fact. However, is speed the be all and end all? For some, the answer would be an easy "YES!" but for others looking for features, Corsair looks to have come close to hitting the nail on its head.
The Corsair Flash Padlock is a pen drive with built-in hardware DataLock encryption protection from a company called ClevX. It works essentially like an ATM card pin where you need to enter in a pin number before you can withdraw funds from the machine. In this case, you enter in a 1 - 10 digit pin number of your choice to enable access to your data which is sitting on either the 1GB or 2GB models of the Flash Padlock. While 2GB is not a huge amount of storage space, it is a heck of a lot of important Word or Excel documents that be hidden from the curious beings in your life.
The package comes with the USB drive (with 3V lithium battery installed), instruction sheet, USB extension cable and lanyard, if you find it fashionable to walk around with the thing around your neck - for the record, we do not. While at first the double-sided A4 sheet of instructions seems a little bit daunting, it is all actually quite simple and easy to use once you have quickly glanced over the notes.
You have the option of setting up a pin number or leaving it as is - by default it comes shipped unlocked with AutoLock disabled. In all there are five steps required in order to setup a pin combination and that took us all of about 30 seconds to complete. The buttons are easy to push and react nicely to each input. Once your pin is set, the Flash Padlock will automatically lock after a few seconds. Once it has been locked, you cannot access the data - we tried inserting the pen drive while it was locked (the LED was lit up red) and our Vista system did not even detect it.
There are only three steps required to unlock the drive for use and it is also a simple procedure to perform, all written clearly on the instruction sheet. Even monkeys like us did not run into any hassles or manage to lock ourselves out of the drive, which was a good sign. Once the drive is unlocked, the Flash Padlock LED will change from red to green and you are then free to insert it into your system and access the data. We are happy to note that the device even works with Windows Vista's ReadyBoost feature which is always nice to see as not all new pen drives do support it. Another nice touch is the blue LED at the bottom front side of the device which flashes when data is being accessed.
Performance Testing and Final Thoughts
So, it has some excellent features, but what about performance? We compare the Flash Padlock against the Flash Voyager GT also from Corsair. The GT is the fastest pen drive we have tested so far, so it will be interesting to see how the Padlock compares against it, especially considering it makes no claims of being a speed demon. We fired up both drives using HD Tach and the results follow:
As you can see from the results, the GT kills the Padlock when it comes to performance. Having said that though, the Padlock was never about raw speed yet it still manages to offer fairly good performance for your everyday needs. Like we said before, it supports ReadyBoost in Windows Vista and that is definitely a good note.
Summing it all up, Corsair has managed to produce a product that is not only stylish and effective but also very affordable. The 2GB version which we tested today is almost twice the price of regular 2GB pen drives but we aren't exactly talking huge sums of money here. It is listed on Newegg at $34.99 USD and in Australia it will set you back around $50 - $60 AUD.
If you need to protect your data and keep it hidden, it is actually a very cheap solution. With Christmas just around the corner now, it would surely make a great gift for your geek friend or family member.
You can register your selected pin number on the Corsair website (here) and they will store it for you in case you happen to forget the pin number. All you need to do is give them your name and email address along with a password and your Flash Padlock pin numbers and you can retrieve it at any time. If you do not register your pin number with Corsair and forget it, we are not quite sure what happens - it could be your data is hidden and locked forever, so take some care.
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