Sandisk Cruzer Titanium 2GB USB U3 Flash Drive
Sagittaria - 2006-11-23 20:56:47 in Storage / Hard DrivesCategory: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: Sagittaria
Reviewed on: December 2, 2006
IntroductionThis isn’t just any ordinary flash drive. In fact, it not only holds 2GBs of data, it also houses U3 software. What is ‘U3’, you might ask? Well, have you ever wanted to carry around all your personal programs and preferences, or even your wallpaper, to take to a work, or friend’s computer? Well this flash drive can do that, and so much more, all in a super heavy-duty case!
Sandisk is a very well known name, selling in countless stores worldwide. Established in 1988, Sandisk has grown into one of the world’s largest flash memory manufacturers. They have pioneered the flash memory front with 315 US patents, and rights to manufacture any flash format there is.
Closer LookThe drive comes in the thick plastic as usual, which you have probably seen before. As you can see, it comes with a movable connector, which means no more cumbersome caps to worry about. I noticed too on the label, that Sandisk states the drive can withstand up to 2,000 pounds of crushing force!
It comes packed with a black, Sandisk necklace, which has a nice latch - not the cheap key ring style. It also comes with a metal clip, multi-lingual instruction guide, and a paper from Sandisk, advertising the rest of their products. It also comes with a free Skype voucher (a temporary offer), which is included on the U3 flash drive. You are probably curious about what exactly ‘U3’ is right now (I didn’t know either at this point), but you will find out more later on.
The drive itself is heavy, and has a thick metal shell, encasing the entire drive. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I could probably take a hammer to it - literally (don’t try and test my theory!). It is, however, a little bit larger than the average flash drive. The connector is moved easily by a hard plastic slide, with a very smooth pushing action. The clip rather annoyed me, as it is supposed to slide in, but during the process, you can scratch the glossy side. Once it is in, the clip won’t be going anywhere for a while, as it is a genuine pain to take out.
With only a couple sentences on installation, let’s see what happens when we plug her in.
InstallationInstalling the drive is simply a matter of plugging it in to a USB port. It helps to make sure that USB 2.0 is enabled or installed, otherwise there will be a huge decrease in speed (11mbs [USB 1.0] vs. 480mbs [USB 2.0]). I plugged the drive in, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the slide glowing a cool blue - it even matches my case lights!
The first thing I see on my desktop is ‘plug-and-play’, recognizing the new hardware. Afterwards, a program pops up. Yes, a program. By now, you’re probably wondering what this is about. Well, this is all thanks to U3 technology, and is where the fun begins!
Now U3 technology allows you to actually install and use programs on U3 compatible flash drives. This is why there is pre-loaded software. The purpose? To allow you to use your favorite applications on other computers, be it work, school, or library. These programs can be configured to your preferences. The only requirement is that the machine in question is running Windows 2000/XP. The U3 program database includes all your favorite programs available for download, including:
- Mozilla Firefox- an excellent free web browser
- Mozilla Thunderbird- a full-featured free mail client
- Avast! Anti-Virus- a free full-featured antivirus able to scan your drive or computer. (Included)
- CruzerSync- a very nifty program, which allows you to back up things like your favorites, e-mail, contacts, and documents. You can back up all of these with a click of a button, which then encrypts them. You cannot access these files without your password. (Included)
- Trillian- an all-in-one free IM client (AIM, MSN, Yahoo etc.)
- Skype- a free application, which allows you to call other Skype users, by means of a microphone and speakers. (The voucher gives you one month’s credit for voicemail, included)
The U3 database includes hundreds of other utilities ranging from games, schedulers, office applications, and even video editors. Although some of these programs need to be purchased on the Sandisk website, everything mentioned above is free. The database itself:
Installation continuedBy now you are probably wondering how this all works. Well, the U3 control panel appears on the taskbar. All you need to do is click on the icon, and the controls pop up. As you can see, everything is self-explanatory. Programs are on the left, and you simply click on one to start. You can also set up password protection, so that the entire drive cannot be accessed without the password, which is a very nice feature. A huge icon is in place, so that you can download your programs from the U3 database. The entire menu is very user friendly. When downloading or installing a program, all you need to do is click once on the program of your choice.. That’s right. One mouse-click. The wizard does it all for you!
I really want to touch base on the CruzerSync program. This program is truly magnificent. You first set a login and password. Next, you select the folders you want to backup. I chose several of the ‘My Documents’ folders to save, but you can also backup your e-mail, contacts, and bookmarks, from all major programs. Once you have all of these set, it will actually encrypt them onto the drive, which only took 5 minutes for ~300MB of files. Afterwards, each time you log into CruzerSync, it will synchronize all changes to the selected folders and programs. This means you can browse the files later on, or restore them if you wish. A very handy and secure program!
Of course, this can still be used as a regular flash drive. If you do not want the U3 software, you can delete the files. I highly advise against that, as you will be effectively shooting yourself in the foot. The U3 technology is absolutely amazing! The U3 preloaded software only takes up about 50MB anyway, and is hidden in a separate folder. Also, here is a picture of the Avast! Anti-Virus running from the drive.
Amazing right? Let’s see what speeds are like!
- Capacity: 1GB - 2GB
- Retractable USB connector
- Dimensions: 7.14mm x 19.05mm x 57.94mm (D x W x L)
- Rugged Liquidmetal® body
- Crush force exceeds 2000 lbs
- Laser etched graphics and finish
- U3 smart enabled
- Loaded with the following U3 compatible PC programs
- CruzerSync synchronization tool
- SignupShield password manager
- SKYPE "Make video calls from PC to PC"
- AVAST virus scan
- Distinctive Blue LED
- Hi-Speed USB 2.0 certified (backwards compatible with all USB 1.1 ports)
- USB Mass Storage Class Device
- Compatible with Windows 2000 SP4 and XP *
- Certified Windows 2000 and XP Compliant*
- P4 3.4E 478
- Asus P4C800-E Deluxe
- G.Skill HZ 2x1GB DDR500
- Creative Audigy 2 ZS
- Apevia X-Pleasure Case
- Windows XP Pro SP2
It performed pretty well in terms of speed, although it was out-scored a little by other drives. It is still a pretty fast drive regardless.
ConclusionThis is not an ordinary flash drive. In fact I’m wondering if it still qualifies as flash drive at all. This drive is not only the most armored behemoth I’ve ever laid eyes upon, but it also includes U3 technology, allowing you to carry around your favorite programs, preferences, and even your wallpaper, and apply it temporarily to your not-so-favorite computer. The included software is amazing! CruzerSync especially, which allows you to backup and secure your personal documents, e-mail, and bookmarks within seconds. Transfer speeds are great, and the drive even comes with its own anti-virus. Most importantly of all, everything is very easy to understand and use.
On the negative side, the U3 database can be somewhat limited, and several programs are a little expensive. To be realistic, all the programs that you’ll ever really need are free for download. The belt clip rather annoyed me as well. Why include a cheap clip with such a magnificent drive? Although, these are just minor annoyances, this is a very nice drive that you will no doubt fall in love with.
- Super Secure
- U3 Technology
- Nice Look
- Very Easy to Use
- Poor Clip
- A Tad Heavy