Crucial Gizmo! 256MB Review

The lanyard can be used to carry the drive around your neck or wrapped around the wrist.
The lanyard can be used to carry the drive around your neck or wrapped around the wrist.
The lanyard can be used to carry the drive around your neck or wrapped around the wrist.

Highs

  • Portability
  • encryption software
  • drivers are on the drive

Lows

  • Pre-installed software is on the drive and not a CD-ROM

DT Editors' Rating

Home > Product Reviews > Flash Drive Reviews > Crucial Gizmo! 256MB Review

Summary

We really enjoyed this flash drive and there is little to dislike about it. It handles file transfers with speed and efficiency and has the added benefit of securing sensitive and confidential information. Its small size makes it easy to tote from PC to PC and even from home to work. The included dust cap and hard plastic case make it unlikely that a drop or throwing the unit in your junk drawer will cause any stability problems. 

Introduction

Portable data storage has come a long way in the last few years. It wasn’t too long ago when we all had stacks of 1.44MB floppy disks and maybe even a few 5.25-inch floppies lying around. Moving data from one PC to another was definitely a chore. Enter the USB Flash drive. While USB drives are not new, they are becoming increasingly popular and are now the latest trend in portable data storage. PC manufacturers such as Dell and Gateway have removed the 3.5″ floppy drives from their computers entirely as consumers migrate from legacy technology to the faster and efficient flash drive. Crucial Technology has joined the fray with their Gizmo 256MB USB 2.0 Flash drive.

Features

The Crucial Gizmo drive is about the size of a lighter or pack of gum and fits conveniently in your pocket. Crucial ships the drive with a three-foot USB extension cable, a lanyard (strap) and the manual. Included on the drive itself is Secure-D software that enables the user to encrypt all or part of the drive to protect sensitive data from prying eyes. 

The lanyard can be used to carry the drive around your neck or wrapped around the wrist.  It’s the perfect accessory for the forgetful types who may tend to misplace small objects from time to time. The extension cable is just as valuable for those without front USB ports as it allows the user to move the drive from a desktop to a laptop without having to access the back of the PC. Another important feature is the LED status light, which illuminates green when data is being transferred. The manual is the multilingual type and walks the user through the setup process for multiple OS types (Win ME, 2000, XP, 98/98SE, Mac OS 9.1 and up). Those users running Windows 98/98Se will need to download the Gizmo driver from the Crucial website. Crucial also provides a FAQ at http://www.crucial.com/support/faq that contains answers to many common questions about the Gizmo drive. 

The warranty on the Crucial Gizmo drive is free replacement should the unit fail in the first 30 days of ownership and a limited lifetime warranty after that. They provide a telephone number and email address for contact.

Inside the Gizmo

 

We are a curious bunch and as such we just had to pry open the hard plastic cover to see what’s inside.  We expected to see a Crucial or Micron chip and were surprised to find a Samsung NAND flash memory chip, circuit board and a Lexar Media Controller chip. Chip manufacturer aside this USB drive definitely fits the bill for portable storage and is competitively priced at a suggested retail price of $68.99.

Inside of the Crucial Gizmo Another inside picture

Setup and Installation

 

Installation of the drive was very easy with Windows XP as my OS automatically recognized the drive and installed the drivers. Installation on Windows 98 is a manual process. The user must download the appropriate driver from the Crucial website and then install manually. Follow the onscreen instructions, reboot and connect the drive to any available USB port. The Gizmo supports USB 2.0 and is backwards compatible with USB 1.1.

Benchmarks

 

We fired up SiSoftware Sandra 2003 Professional and benchmarked the drive with the following results:

The software performed these test with a 20MB file and were repeated 4 times. The next graphic shows how the Crucial drive compares to other storage devices.

 

 

File transfer tests:

This test used a 114MB file that was transferred from hard drive to flash drive and then back. This test was performed on a desktop as well as laptop machine and was repeated 3 times. There was no noticeable difference between the desktop and the laptop.












File copied from

Elapsed time (Average)

Hard drive

2 Minutes 9 Seconds

Crucial USB Flash Drive

2 Minutes 6 Seconds

Secure-D Encryption software:

The Secure-D software allows you to create a secure zone on the flash drive.  The entire drive can be allocated as a secure zone or the user can split the drive up between an unencrypted public section and an encrypted private section.  The encrypted zone is perfect for those that would like to store confidential or personal information.  This data can only be accessed with a password that you designate. The public zone can be accessed by anyone that has physical access to the drive. The software comes pre-installed on the flash drive and will need to be copied to any machine that you will be using the drive in. An important note is that when you change the size of zones on your drive all of the data on your USB drive is erased. Be sure to backup any data present before changing the size of public and private zones. 

 

Setting up these zones is easy through the software interface. Moving the slider up or down increases or decreases the amount of space allocated to the two zones. 

 

To secure the private zone a password must be entered in the Password field. To access the data in this area the user will be prompted for the password, once entered access is granted. 

This feature is definitely useful for securely storing credit card information, passwords and any other sensitive data. 

Conclusion

 

We really enjoyed this flash drive and there is little to dislike about it. It handles file transfers with speed and efficiency and has the added benefit of securing sensitive and confidential information. Its small size makes it easy to tote from PC to PC and even from home to work. The included dust cap and hard plastic case make it unlikely that a drop or throwing the unit in your junk drawer will cause any stability problems.