USB memory keys are fantastic for moving files around between locations, but the relatively slow read and write speeds of flash media mean that it can take quite a while to fill a 2 or even 1GB memory key.
Great software, blistering transfer speeds, and on-board encryption make the JumpDrive Lightning a winning USB memory key.
Price$ 199.95 (AUD)
Straight from the box, Lexar's polished stainless steel JumpDrive Lightning oozes class. The device measures 7 x 2 x 1 centimetres; approximately the same size as a cigarette lighter. The Lightning offers superior speed over conventional memory keys, and Lexar attributes this performance to its use of high-quality NAND MLC memory. Lexar claims transfer speeds of up to 22MB/sec for reading and 15MB/sec for writing data and boasts that the key will hold data up to 10-times longer than competing products. These are bold claims, but the company is confident enough to offer a lifetime warranty on the keys.
The JumpDrive comes with a slick "Dashboard" software application to help configure functions like file synchronization and encryption. It works beautifully and is one of the biggest benefits of the key as it greatly simplifies and encourages the use of the drive's functions beyond simple file storage. The JumpDrive can be set to synchronise data when plugged into a machine, helping automate the process of dragging files back and forth between two locations for work or study and reducing the risk of taking the wrong file to work on.
It's also possible to encrypt files to protect them from prying eyes. The encryption is first class - 256-bit AES - and encrypted files can be stored alongside unencrypted ones on the key, so there's no need to create a separate partition.
While the file encryption and synchronization are handy, the noteworthy feature is the Lightning's speed. In testing, the key took 36 seconds to transfer 500MB of data from the hard disk to the JumpDrive via USB 2.0, at an average rate of 13.9 MB/sec. The return trip was even more impressive, with the 100MB data set taking around 25 seconds from memory key to hard disk (20 MB/sec).
If you're sick of waiting around files to transfer, the Lightning is available in 2GB and 4GB capacities, and offers plenty of extra features above and beyond raw speed.
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