02.What to buy
Our recommendations for this test take into account performance, reliability and toughness, plus our assessment of value for money. We’re recommending only those drives that actually survived complete (not those that had squashed USB connectors and needed fixing manually, as this may not always be possible). So, only one of our top 10 performing drives makes our preferred list: the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0. This was also the only USB drive at time of testing to support USB 3.0 (see Table for both USB 2.0 and 3.0 figures for this drive). Note that its performance was scored on its USB 2.0 results only, for direct comparison with the other drives, but it still topped the chart. And while a little pricier than some, it managed to survive our ruggedness testing even though it’s not classed as ruggedised.
Six other drives also survived our testing, but required a little manual intervention to get them working – a flat-bladed screwdriver was needed to open up each USB connector before they could be plugged into a PC. However, their data survived intact. See the Durability table on the next page for a full listing.
Though the Comsol FlashIT secure drive was a good performer and survived all our tests, it was also the second-most expensive drive on test. However, it does have automatic hardware-based encryption for security and is highly recommended where data security is vital. Similarly while the Kingston Data Traveler Vault Privacy scored high on the chart, and survived all the ruggedness testing, it was also the most expensive unit on test by a wide margin. The Corsair Survivor is listed in our table as surviving the toughness tests, but this was the third unit tested. The two previous units died during performance testing (see Survivors that didn't, next page), so this model didn't make our recommended list.