Choosing a USB key can become a real obstacle course, no matter how many there are. Performance, reliability, standards, etc. they evolve so rapidly that it is difficult to know where to start.
To help you, we have established some criteria in advance for you to consider before making your final choice:
This is the speed at which the sticks can transfer or save files. The transfer speed of a key is evaluated in two parts: the reading speed (which refers to the transfer of a file from the key to another device) and the writing speed (which indicates the recording of a file on the key itself). The latter is always lower than the former. These data rates can range from 20 Mb / s to more than 400 Mb / s for the best.
Once such USB stick that delivers an incredible performance and lets you back up your data quickly & securely is InfinitiKloud. If you’re looking for an in-depth buying guide for the product, this InfinitiKloud full review will answer all your questions.
Size and Design
Optimal dimensions depend on usage, as all keys have their own qualities and defects. While a small key will be easier to integrate into your installation, it will also be easier to lose. This element is also linked to the design, which leaves, for example, the possibility of retracting the connector or adding a cap to protect it, or by the presence or absence of a notch to hang the key from a key ring.
Material and strength
USB sticks can be made of plastic, rubber or metal. The most resistant materials are metal and rubber, while plastic is the most used, the cheapest, but also the one most likely to be damaged. This element also affects resistance. Therefore, a USB can be waterproof and resistant to shocks, dust and even X-rays or extreme temperatures (cold or hot).
This is the first criterion to consider. It can range from 16GB to more than 1TB. The price of the key varies according to this parameter. If you want to store some files or some music, you can be satisfied with 16 or 32 GB. But in our opinion, 64GB sticks are a good compromise: they can store around 7,000 photos, but this varies depending on the quality and format of the files. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to resort to an external hard drive.
USB 2.0 is still in use, but is increasingly being replaced by much faster USB 3.0. Recently an even faster new standard has appeared and the nomenclature has been revolutionized. Now, USB 3.0 is called USB 3.1 Gen 1 (the most common), and the latest standard, which achieves simply mind-blowing speeds, is called USB 3.1 Gen 2. These standards are combined with a USB-A or USB- C, which is still rare.
Some brands, such as SanDisk, often integrate software directly onto the stick. The most common is an encryption software, which allows you to easily protect access to files with a password. Some high-end dongles even offer fingerprint identification. You can also find data recovery software which can be very helpful in case of accidental data loss. In this area, SanDisk has a distinct advantage over its competitors.
Resistance to water and dust
This is not necessarily a useful factor for everyone, but it is important to talk about it because among you there may be those who need to buy a pen drive that can resist water and dust. In technical jargon these keys are called Rugged, and are specially designed to withstand shocks, falls and even immersions in water.
USB sticks for iPhone and Android
As we have already mentioned, there are particular models of USB flash drives on the market equipped with a double connector and able to be connected not only to the computer, but also to iPhones, iPads and all Android devices. These are the so-called 2-in-1 models and are highly appreciated especially by those who work on the move. With the same performance and capacity, however, the sale price increases significantly.
Wi-Fi USB sticks
In addition, in recent years, a new type of USB stick is becoming increasingly popular, which also integrates a Wi-Fi module. With this feature, in addition to the physical connection, it will also be possible to transfer files wirelessly, which makes them compatible with practically all devices on the market. Clearly, however, this type of pen drive has a higher price and this feature may not always be useful for everyone.
When you go to buy a USB stick, also known as a pen drive, it is clear that the first things that come to mind are the capacity and the selling price. In reality, however, as we have explained in this buying guide, there are many characteristics that must be taken into consideration with full knowledge of the facts.