The Real Problem with USB Flash Drives

Someone should write about the REAL problem with flash drives: they break too easily at the connection between the usb male plug and the body of the drive. The otherwise wonderful Flash Voyager is by far the most vulnerable I've encountered, but many others share the same Achilles Heel too.

Reviewers always seem to write about running a car over the drive. That mean putting pressure on the case. This isn't, in my experience, a common real-life scenario. In contrast, the real-life damage case is torque when your laptop bumps into something with that drive sticking out. It snaps easily. And no one ever talks about that.

The best drives I've had for performance (I want to be able to copy lots of small files quickly; reported tests usually concentrate on large file transfer, so my preferences may not be your preferences) were also the most delicate at that critical point: the Corsair Flash Voyagers. I've broken two. Second-fastest, the OCZ Rally2, were not as fragile, but were not exactly tough either. I bent one. It still works, but I don't trust it.

I've currently moved to a Cruzer Titanium, which not only looks a bit stronger, but has a nice retractable head so I don't have to worry about losing the little cap. The performance is good, although I don't think it is quite as good as the other two.

Unfortunately, the Cruzer came with the dreaded U3 software. I used the control panel to disable it, but haven't had the heart to delete it on the theory that this might be irrevocable (online opinions vary), and anyway it didn't take much space. But I may delete it soon, as it seems my Asus motherboard absolutely won't boot up with the drive plugged in, even though the BIOS is set to boot from the hard drive first.

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4 Responses to The Real Problem with USB Flash Drives

  1. John Stein says:

    The quick cure (albeit clumsy) is a short extension cable.

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    Sorry but this post calls for some serious critical feminist analysis: If you are going to refer to the “vulnerable” part of the flash drive as the “usb male plug,” than it is neither technologically accurate nor anatomically correct to describe the problem as an “Achilles Heel.”

  3. LACJ says:

    Ha good one.

  4. I think the breakage is mostly depending on the quality and their use. The one should always prefer for branded USB drives to avoid this problem.

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