Corsair Padlock 2 8GB USB Flash Drive Review

jlqrb - 2010-02-11 12:54:02 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: jlqrb   
Reviewed on: February 26, 2010
Price: $54.99

Introduction:

Transferring data from one PC to another has become a part of our daily lives, and for most people, USB Flash Drives are the standard means for getting this done. Flash drives not only have the ability to store large amounts of data, but they can also be easily transported from one location to another, making them extremely convenient when compared to other forms of digital storage. With the convenience of carrying around large amounts of data on a small device though, comes the possibility of losing the drive and it potentially ending up in the wrong hands. If you are like most people, whose flash drive consists of simple documents, photos and some MP3 files, this might not be an issue. However, for those with sensitive work or personal documents stored on the device, it could be a real concern. If you happen to fall into this latter category of needing extra security, the new Corsair Flash Padlock 2 may be a good fit. This drive comes with 256-bit AES encryption, anti-hacking detection, a user-defined PIN and a master PIN that can be used if your user-defined code is forgotten. With the ability to lock the drive, it will definitely keep your stored data secure, but the drive also protects your data from physical harm as well. Similar to other Corsair flash drives, the Padlock 2 comes cased in a shock-proof, durable, rubber housing that will protect it from accidental physical damage.

Closer Look:

The Corsair Padlock 2 comes in a clear retail blister package that displays the front portion of the Flash drive. Along with the drive being visible on the front, you also get the name, size and USB type of the drive. On the back side of the packaging there is a short explanation of how this drive can secure your sensitive data, how this this is beneficial to the end-user, and a listing of the accessories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drive itself can hold up to 8GB of storage and comes housed in a rubber padding that is very durable and actually makes it feel more comfortable in your hand. When it comes to the size of the drive, even with the 9-digit keypad, it is no larger than other flash drives on the market - around 3" long. On the front of the drive, from top to bottom, you have a Corsair logo, locked/unlocked activity lights, key button, 9-digit keypad, USB activity light, and a small hole to secure it to a key-chain or lanyard. The back side of the drive, unlike the front, is mostly clear - all you find here is Corsair's website address. The accessories that come with the Padlock 2 consist of a blue lanyard that connects to the drive and can be worn around the neck, and a USB extention cable that has a braided metal lining.

 

 

 

By default, the drive is unlocked and there are no security features active until you set a security code for the drive. In order to set the security PIN, you will need to press the key button at the top of the drive and wait for the two activity lights above to start blinking. When you see these lights flashing, you can input a unique security code that is four to ten digits long. After your selection is made, simply press the key button again and the code is now set, securing the drive. The keypad on the drive works very well, with each button pushed being easily recognized. In addition, the spacing between each button greatly reduces the risk of accidentally pushing the wrong number. To enter lock mode, all you need to do is remove the drive from the USB port and it will automatically lock itself. When locked, it has a hardware 256-bit AES encryption, and built-in hacker detection that will lock the drive after five failed password attempts. If, however, the failed log-in attempts are due to a forgotten password, you can use a master code to erase the set password or a 911 option that can erase all user codes, but at the cost of all data on the drive being erased. Whatever state the drive is in will be displayed in the form of a blinking light. When the red light is blinking the drive is locked, when the green light is blinking the drive is unlocked, and when both are blinking you are in a setup mode. These lights on the drive are powered by a internal battery in the casing that is charged each time the drive is in a USB slot.

 

 

The Corsair Padlock 2 is built on USB 2.0 technology, which is backwards compatible with UBS 1.1 ports as well. The drive is Plug-n-Play so there is no need to install any software before use, as it will be universally recognized by both Windows and Macintosh based operating systems. To plug the USB head into the port, you must first remove the protective rubber cap that covers the top of the drive and once off, you can either install the drive directly into a USB port or use the included USB extender.

 

 

Now that we hopefully have a good idea of what the Corsair Flash Padlock 2 is all about, we can move onto some testing and see what kind of performance this drive can produce.

Specifications:

Capacity
8 GB
Operating Temperature
0°C to 40°C
Storage Temperature
-20°C to +60°C
Operating Humidity
10% to 90%
Storage Humidity
5% to 90%
Maximum Operating Altitude
3,048 m (10,000 feet)
 
O/S Support
Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Mac OS X v9.x and above, Linux Kernel 2.4.2 and higher
Emission Certifications
FCC, CE, VCCI

 

Features:

Secure USB Flash Drive:

The Corsair Flash Padlock 2 is perfect for transporting and protecting your sensitive business or personal information. With built-in 256-bit hardware data encryption, and access limited by a PIN, you can rest assured your information is safe from unintentional viewing. Built with the same ruggedized rubber housing found on the Corsair Flash Voyager family for durability, your data is protected from the elements as well.

Because the PIN keypad is integrated directly onto the flash drive, there is no software to install. Simply enter your own Personal Identification Number and your data is unlocked for use on virtually any PC operating system: Windows, OS X, or Linux—even game consoles. Without the PIN, your information stays secure and inaccessible.

 

 

 

All information on this page is courtesy of Corsair Memory @ http://www.corsair.com/products/padlock2/default.aspx

Testing:

To test the performance of the Corsair Padlock 2 Flash drive, we will be comparing it to other drives on the market by running it through benchmarking programs, such as Flash Memory Toolkit and SiSoft Sandra, as well as some real world testing. The combination of these tests should give us a good idea of how the drive will perform in comparison to other USB Flash drives. Prior to testing the drive, it was formatted using FAT32, with the unit size set to default. All tests will be performed with the Corsair Flash drive in the rear USB port on my motherboard.

Testing System:

 

Comparison Drives:

 

Read Speed - Low Level Benchmark:

The first Flash Memory Toolkit test will measure the read and write performance of the drive - higher is better.

 

 

 

Read and Write - File Benchmark:

The next test performed in Flash Memory Toolkit will use different file sizes to measure how long it will take to read and write files in KB/sec. Again, higher is better.

 

 

 

 

 

In the Flash Memory Toolkit's low level benchmark, the Corsair Padlock 2 came in behind all but one of the comparison drives in both the average read and multiplier speed tests. In the next set of tests, the Corsair drive performed well when it came to the larger file size write tests, but all other runs seemed to place the Padlock 2 somewhere around the middle in terms of performance.

Testing:

Read and Write - File Benchmark:

SiSoft Sandra gives detailed information about the hardware installed in your system and can be used to test the performance for specific compontes. In this test, it will gauge the read and write performance of varying file sizes in MB/sec - higher is better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endurance Benchmark:

The endurance benchmark tests the speed at which the thumb drive writes to specific sectors in KB/sec - higher is better.

 

 

In the SiSoft Sandra benchmarks, the Padlock 2 was again behind the larger capacity drives. When compared to the Kingston Data Traveler, which is also 8GB, the performance is very similar.

Testing:

Write - File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this real world test, the Corsair Padlock 2 did well with the smaller 10MB file size, managing to perform equal to the fastest tested drive. However, once the file size was raised, the Corsair drive's performance was reduced and once again it was very similar in performance to the 8GB Kingston flash drive.

Conclusion

When it comes to security, the Corsair Flash Padlock 2 gets high marks for its ability to protect any sensitive data that is stored on the drive. To setup the security features you simply need to set a security code and from that point on the drive will automatically activate the security features the second it is removed from the USB port. When the security is active the drive has a unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption, which is the standard used by the US Government to secure data and it will also lock after a few unsuccessful log in attempts. This will discourage someone from trying to endlessly enter code after code to access your data and if they can not duplicate your user PIN the encryption will render the data unreadable anyway. What is so great about this? Well, do you have any sensitive data that you carry around right now on an unsecured flash drive? Could you imagine losing that drive and the possibly that is could end up in the hands of someone that could use the info for something that could hurt you in work or life? This is a real concern and to date I have never seen another drive that can secure you data in the unfortunate case that you some how misplace your drive as the Corsair Flash Padlock 2 can. On top of these security features, the drive also comes with Corsair's durable, shock-proof, rubberized housing that adds a nice look to the drive and will also help prevent physical damage. If, however damage does occur, the drive comes with an outstanding ten year warranty. All these features are impressive and the use of the keypad to unlock the drive works exceptionally well. Also, there is no need to worry about forgetting your password as you can set a Master PIN that can overwrite your password if you forget it and a emergency option that can erase all data on the drive if you either didn't set a master PIN or forgot it.

What it comes down to is this - if you want a sure fire way to keep your data secure, this drive may be the best choice out there. There really is no other drive that offers the security and peace of mind this device can. So, for those that need a secure drive, I say the Corsair Flash Padlock 2 is a very smart investment and even though it may cost a little more than other 8GB drives out there, can you really put a price on your security?

 

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