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Find a Better USB Flash Drive

Updated on December 5, 2014

The age of information could not exist without the ability to store and share said information. USB storage devices are the easiest and most efficient tools for doing just that, and USB flash drives make the process quick and convenient.

With a glance at any computer lab, office, or home computer, you’re likely to see at least one out of the thousands of variations of USB flash drives on the market. As technology improves at rapid speed, innovations and advancements are sometimes kept to the wayside as retailers stick with what’s known and “trusted,” though the benefits of new tech are bound to become the new standard. If there is a niche, there is a way. USB flash drives serve a number of purposes, and if you’re cruising with the standard, this list will likely provide a better solution.

DURABILITY

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Corsair Survivor Stealth

USB 3.0
Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Price: $24.99 - $169.99

The Survivor and Survivor Stealth by Corsair combine anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, an EPDM waterproof seal, and a molded shock damping collar into one of the toughest USB flash drives available. Shock-resistant, impact-resistant, and waterproof to 200 meters, the drive comes with a five year warranty to back it up. With all of its protection, the lower capacity models are still competitive with most major brands of the same size. A 16GB Survivor Stealth can be purchased for $24.99, while the highest capacity model at 256GB is available for $169.99.

Ideal for: Active Lifestyle and Work, Armed Forces, Unideal Conditions, Daily Use

CONVENIENCE

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Verbatim Clip-IT

USB 2.0
Capacity: 4GB, 4GB (3 Pack), 8GB (3 Pack)
Price: $7.41 - $30.19 (3 Pack)

The Verbatim Clip-IT is the hybrid of a USB flash drive and an awesome looking paperclip. Though the idea seems simple, this integration of new and classic tech by Verbatim is a work of art. The Clip-IT provides a new way of transferring digital data along with hard copy, and a variety of other potential uses. The capless design is water, static and dust resistant, with a lifetime warranty courtesy of Verbatim.

Ideal for: Academic, Office, Portfolio/Resume, Home

VERSATILITY

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Kingston Data Traveler MicroDuo

USB 3.0/2.0
Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Price: $10.99 - $29.95

The MicroDuo by Kingston is a 2-in-1 flash drive that features a pivoting cap that reveals a standard USB 3.0 connection on one side and a Micro USB 2.0 connection on the other. The drive is an easy way to share data between a large number of compatible smart phones, tablets, and computers. With an impressively small design, the MicroDuo can also be used as expanded memory for compatible devices. Kingston ensures this USB flash drive with a 5 year warranty.

Ideal for: Personal, Business

EFFICIENCY

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SanDisk Cruzer Ultra Fit

USB 3.0
Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Price: $10.40 - $32.99

SanDisk does a fantastic job compacting capacity into the smallest space possible. The Ultra Fit is only slightly larger than its standard size USB connection. The USB 3.0 version of the drive also boasts physical improvements to its 2.0 counterpart, with a curved, treaded-rubber grip that maintains the compact nature that make the drive so useful, adding the benefit of easier removal. While most flash drives are at risk of physical impact when in use, which can cause catastrophic damage to both the drive and USB port, the ultra-low profile design of the Ultra Fit provides safer and more convenient USB storage for a variety of uses.

Ideal for: Notebooks, Game Consoles, TVs, Car Audio

MOBILITY

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SanDisk Cruzer Orbit

USB 2.0
Capacity: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Price: $10.34 - $16.33

Most USB flash drives are design with some ability to attach to a key ring or lanyard, but none so perfect as the Cruzer Orbit by SanDisk. Less than one quarter inch thick, the drive is built around a large metal ring that provides ease and durability when adding to any number of attachments. A 360 degree swiveling cover protects the flat surface connection that resists water, static and dust, all while thin and durable enough to blend in with your keys, or to wear unobtrusively on a lanyard. SanDisk backs the Orbit with a two year warranty in the US, and a 5 year warranty elsewhere.

Ideal for: Travel, Business, Academic, Security

SECURITY

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Corsair Padlock2

USB 2.0
Capacity: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Prices: $27.99 – $33.99

The Padlock 2 by Corsair looks and functions just as the name implies. The body of this USB flash drive features an integrated PIN pad for a user customized 4-10 digit code to lock and unlock the device without the use of additional software. 256-bit AES hardware encryption, built in hack detection with lockout, and a rubber, shock-proof housing protect your sensitive data like no other. The Padlock 2 is backed by Corsair’s three year warranty.

Ideal for: Sensitive information, Security, Business, Home

CAPACITY

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Kingston HyperX Predator

USB 3.0
Capacity: 512GB, 1TB
Price: $424.99 - $1,144.99

The HyperX Predator should not be taken lightly. No other device offers this kind of capacity in a USB flash drive. A zinc alloy metal casing offers resilient protection for a drive with unparalleled speed and storage capability. Kingston shatters the standard and blazes forward with a USB flash drive that would be unthinkable only a few years ago, though this technology does not come cheap. The HyperX Predator is backed by a five year warranty and free technical support.

Ideal for: Business, Academic, IT

QUANTITY

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MECO Bulk Flash Drives

USB 2.0
Capacity: 1GB (10 Pack), 2GB (10 Pack), 4GB (10 Pack), 8GB (10 Pack), 16GB (10 Pack), 32GB (10 Pack)
Prices: $23.41 - $139.56

If you’re less concerned with the highest capacity, ultra-durability or the most efficient mobility, perhaps quantity is right for you. For a little more than two dollars per 1GB drive, a ten pack of MECO USB flash drives can provide you with less worry if you’re prone to losing or lending your drives without return. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for,” you may not be surprised that the quality of super cheap storage is often less than ideal, but if you want a drive you can think of as “disposable,” the MECO is probably your best option. MECO drives are sold without a manufacturer’s warranty, though returns may be accepted through retailers.

Ideal for: Office, Personal

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