With the introduction of SD memory cards, giving the technophobe the ability to take their memory card out of their camera and insert it right into a laptop for downloading or uploading information to or from the memory card, flash thumb drives were the logical next step. A flash thumb drive is, basically, an SD memory card with a stronger, more durable shell, enabling it to be placed on key chains and in pockets, where they could not possibly be lost. Oh, right, that’s how they expect multiple sales to the same people, they are just so darned easy to lose.
The top brands for flash thumb drives are Sandisk, Memorex, IronKey Secure and Kingston Data. When they first came out not too long ago, storming the store shelves after being showcased in action movies and television shows that feature high technology, like CSI and NCIS, they were quite expensive. But now, a good 4GB flash thumb drive can be had for under $20. Coming in at $250 is the new Sandisk Cruzer Professional 4GB Enhanced Flash Drive, and IronKey Secure has the top-rated flash thumb drives, at $129 for 4GB,roughly 10 times the cost of the average 4GB flash thumb drives.
Sandisk smart thumb drives have their own security built right into them, as opposed to having to rely upon your desktop or laptop’s security. The smart thumb drives have two physical sections; one area for public data, which anyone could access, and one area for security protected data, which is password encrypted. The security protected data is protected right on the flash thumb drive, and after three unsuccessful attempts to gain access to the data, the data is wiped out. Sandisk flash thumb drives are competitively priced and very popular.
IronKey Secure flash thumb drives are kind of overkill for the average user, but for highly sensitive data, they are well worth their price in peace of mind. With anonymous web access, the IronKey Secure flash thumb drive will self-destruct if the encrypted password protection access fails. One uncommon security feature provided by IronKey Secure is that if the shell’s casing is breached (broken, cracked or plied open, etc.), it will wipe all data from the memory. IronKey Secure is not for everyday use, and is the only flash thumb drive approved for use by the Department of Homeland Security in the US, due to it’s extreme security and malware protection.
Kingston Data is a major player in memory for laptops and desktops, as well as other forms of memory, including external hard drives and flash thumb drives. The Kingston flash thumb drives are well manufactured, do not break easily as some of the more inexpensive models will, come in data sizes of 16MB to 128GB. The Kingston brand of flash thumb drives cost from $9.99 to $400 and more, depending upon where they are purchased, the body’s construction type, and security and memory data size.
Kingston has some flash thumb drives that are 256-bit hardware encrypted for extreme security, and have extra sturdy construction, to ensure that if an accident happens, your data will remain safe. Kingston also has a “Black Box” series of flash thumb drives, for even better security and sturdier construction, like the black boxes from airplanes.
Memorex, once known as the top brand for memory storage devices, has a fairly large assortment of flash thumb drives as well. The Memorex brands have memory storage sizes from 2GB to 32GB, and range in price from $19.99 to $190 for cap models, and up to $165 for swivel models. The swivel models have no caps to lose, and have lanyard rings for attaching neck straps, belt loops and other means of attaching them to yourself, your laptop carrying case, or your laptop.
There are hundreds of brands of flash thumb drives, some under $10 for everyday use, for storing songs and pictures and school reports on. However, when you start adding security and hard shells, swivel designs and other safety protocols, the prices rise exponentially. The cheaper models are being used as commercial props, giveaways from companies with their custom data included, like song samples, movie trailers and other forms of commercialism.
Before spending your entire pay check on a flash thumb drive, make sure that you need all of the expensive additions, or you may be wasting money just to have something new and fancy. The average user should not spend more than $10 per GB of memory storage, and $20 per for swivel drives.
Shop smart. Shop informed.