Five Extraordinary USB Flash Drives

USB flash drives are a dime a dozen now a days. They’re cheap to make and generally inexpensive to purchase, especially as flash memory prices on the manufacturer level continue to fall. USB flash drives, for those that don’t know, are essentially portable storage units that you plug into the USB port of a Windows PC or Mac so you can transfer files to and from the drive. Transfer times — especially across USB 2.0 compatible drives — are quick, and you can easily slip the thumb drive back into your pocket once you’re done.

Since almost all flash drive makers have devices with good storage capacities (the highest we’ve seen thus far is 64GB), we are going to take a look at some of the unique features these drives have. In some cases, we’ve chosen a drive because of a particular hardware function, while in others, we are impressed by what software comes pre-installed.

Verbatim Store 'n' GoVerbatim Store ‘n’ Go U3 Smart Drive
The Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go U3 Smart Drive is an example of a USB flash drive enabled with U3 technology. The U3 platform, which is available via several flash drive manufacturers, provides users access to portable versions of popular Windows-based applications that can be launched off of and run from the drive itself, with full cleanup of one’s workspace when the drive is removed from a host PC. The Verbatim drives, which are available in 1, 2, and 4GB configurations, come pre-loaded with eight applications. These include an e-mail client, digital magazine reader, photo manager, and data archiving. These applications are launched from a central software application and can be joined by other programs you download to the drive from the U3 website. The 1GB model has a street price of around $30 USD, 2GB for $45 USD and the 4GB model can be had for under $75 USD. Compare Prices

Lexar JumpDrive MercuryLexar JumpDrive Mercury
The most interesting feature of the Lexar JumpDrive Mercury, which is available in 1 and 2GB memory configurations, is a display built on the exterior of the drive that shows the remaining amount of storage in the drive’s memory. This electronic paper display technology is independent of an operating system and works even when the drive is not connected to a host computer. Besides the external display, the Lexar JumpDrive Mercury also has security software installed on it for password-protecting data and thoroughly deleting files so they can’t be recovered.  The 1GB JumpDrive has a street price of $30 USD, while the 2GB version comes in around $50 USD. Compare Prices

SanDisk Cruzer ContourSanDisk Cruzer Contour
The SanDisk Cruzer Contour, as far as USB flash drives go, is one of the most stylish thumb drives we’ve ever seen. N attractive black, glossy exterior hides a well-designed sliding USB connector that can be popped out to plug into a computer and retracted when not in use. The Cruzer Contour, which comes in 2, 4, and 8GB configurations, will, like the Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go, also come pre-loaded with U3 smart applications. These include VoIP, password management, anti-virus, and photo management software. The drive also has a nice looking blue LED. The SanDisk Cruzer Contour will be available in late April.

Kingston Data traveler ReaderKingston Data Traveler Reader
The Kingston Data Traveler Reader, which comes in 1, 2, and 4GB memory storage sizes, offers up an innovative feature that may appeal to digital camera owners: a built-in memory card slot. This slot can read natively SD and MMC memory card types and through its USB connection can allow one to read the card’s content on a host computer, just as if that computer was reading the flash drive’s memory. The Kingston Data Traveler Reader has a compact form factor as well. The 1GB model will run you about $30 USD while the 2GB goes for $40USD. Kingston is not currently listing the 4GB price a this time. Compare Prices

Edge Tech DiskGo Biometric Flash DriveEdge Tech DiskGo Biometric Flash Drive
Those seeking to protect their USB flash drive’s data as much as possible might want to take a look at the 1, 2, and 4GB configurations of the Edge Tech DiskGo Biometric Flash Drive. This drive actually has a built-in sliding mechanism, which hosts a biometric reader that you swipe your finger over to access the drive’s data when connected to a host computer. This DiskGo model also comes with password management software and 192-bit TDS encryption for additional protection of its digital contents. Edge Tech sells the 1GB version for $65 USD, the 2GB for $90 USD and the 4GB model for $125 USD. Compare Prices

Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Computing

Is 14 inches the perfect size for a laptop? These 4 laptops might convince you

If you're looking for the best 14-inch laptops, there are a number of factors to consider. You want good battery life, an attractive screen, solid performance, and a good build. Our favorites that do all that and more.
Gaming

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a MicroSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Gaming

Transport your Nintendo Switch in style with these nifty cases

The Nintendo Switch, which boasts both wired and handheld modes, needs a good case to ensure it doesn't get beat up while you're on the go. We scoured through dozens of Switch cases to bring you the best ones.
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.
Mobile

Here are 15 of our favorite iPad Mini cases, covers to protect your tiny tablet

We take a look at the best iPad Mini cases and covers on the market. We have cases in a range of styles and prices, with all sorts of distinguishing features. If you have an Apple iPad Mini 4 or iPad Mini 5 then get a case now.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Mobile

Apple iPad Mini 5 vs. iPad Mini 4: What’s new in Apple’s long-awaited refresh?

The long-awaited refresh of the iPad Mini is finally here, but just how big an upgrade does the iPad Mini 5 represent? We compare it to the outgoing iPad Mini 4 in various categories to delve into the differences and pick a winner.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.
Smart Home

Our favorite coffee makers make flavorful cups of joe from the comforts of home

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Gaming

Last gen had some hits! Take a look at the best PS3 games of all time

Choosing the right PlayStation 3 game can be a conundrum, especially when there are nearly 1,500 titles to choose from. Thankfully, we've rounded up the best games to have ever made it to the platform.