JumpDrive Secure II Plus (16GB)
Lots of storage + tough protection.
The JumpDrive Secure II Plus is Lexar's latest and greatest high-capacity USB thumb drive. While it looks virtually indistinguishable from the previous version, it contains twice the memory: a leap from 8GB to 16GB. Otherwise, this is much the same product that we reviewed previously, sporting identical 256-bit AES encryption software, file-shredding capabilities and a dinky capacity meter. It's even got the same black-and-white paintjob (personally, we were hoping for hot pink).
- Plenty of storage and protection, good read/write speeds, capacity meter is convenient
- Shredding utility is a bit lightweight, Dmailer V7 costs extra
This latest addition to the JumpDrive Secure II Plus family is easily the best version yet. It comes with all the same features as its 8GB predecessor but has twice the memory and delivers a faster performance. If you're security conscious, look no further.
Price$ 111.30 (AUD)
The JumpDrive Secure II Plus ships with an encryption utility called — surprise, surprise — Secure II. This is the main selling point of the device, which is almost exclusively aimed at security-conscious users. Thankfully, it performs this primary task exceptionally well. After opening the Secure II dashboard platform, you are greeted with a list of options including file encryption, file shredding and vault encryption. The user interface is well laid out, with separate pop-up windows for each application.
Novice users should have no problems protecting their data, with clear instructions given for each step along the way. Encrypted files require a password with at least eight characters, although ridiculously paranoid UFOlogists can elect to have up to 32.
Like any security software worth its salt, the Secure II utility also comes with a file shredder. This completely erases any trace of a selected file from your computer, making it nigh on impossible for snooping types to recover your deleted data. Think of the shredding utility as a socialist dictator, and the shredded file as a political activist: consider it 'disappeared'.
However, it would have been nice if the device wrote over files multiple times, rather than just the once. This was a complaint we levelled at the previous Lexar JumpDrive, and it unfortunately remains unchecked. Apart from this small shredding quibble, Secure II is an excellent and easy-to-use application. It also comes preinstalled, which means you can use it safely on any computer; including OS X Macs. (Handily, Mac and PC files are automatically separated into separate folders.)
In addition to Secure II, the drive comes with a free 30-day trial of Dmailer V7. This is a very handy utility that allows you to access Windows applications directly from the thumb drive (i.e. it leaves no trace on the host computer). In addition to backing up and synchronising files securely, this also allows you to surf the Web or check e-mails without leaving any tell-tale history or cookies behind.
It can even synchronise your favourites, desktop wallpaper, etc, so they appear on other computers. If you regularly access business documents while travelling — or trawl dodgy wife-incensing Web sites at home — this feature is sure to be a big plus. However, we fail to see why this application couldn't have been included free. Indeed, other Lexar thumb drives have shipped with the complete version of PowerToGo, which does pretty much the same thing (albeit to a lesser degree). The full version of Dmailer V7 will set you back $US29.95, so factor this into the price if you think it's something you will need.
Another cool feature of the JumpDrive Secure II Plus is its cute capacity meter, which runs across the front of the device. This allows you to see how much spare memory you have at a glance, with the white meter filling up with black as you store more data. The capacity reading remains visible even when the device isn't plugged into a computer, which saves you the trouble of inserting it only to discover you're 10MB short (or whatever).
Large-capacity thumb drives tend to be a bit slower than their lightweight cousins, but we were quite impressed with the JumpDrive Secure II Plus, which managed to trump its 8GB predecessor. To test the read/write speed we dragged a 5GB folder of mixed files onto the device and then copied them back onto the desktop. The JumpDrive took 9min 4sec to write this data to the thumb drive and 4min 30sec to transfer it back to the desktop. This works out at a read/write speed of 9.23 megabytes per second and 19.25MBps, respectively. By contrast, the previous JumpDrive boasted a write speed of 4.27MBps and a read speed of 14.36MBps.
At 16GB, the JumpDrive has enough space to store over 170 hours worth of 192Kbps-encoded MP3s. With a retail price of $111.30, its cost per formatted gigabyte is just over $7, which is more than reasonable.
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