Looking for the perfect geek gift? Well, look no further. USB thumb drives offer that magical mix of functionality and flair. Available in an awe-inspiring array of shapes, sizes, and themes, there's a thumb drive out there to fit any personality.
Wooden Clip Flash Drive
Clip and carry!
Simple, yet highly practical, there’s no forgetting your data when you’ve got it clipped to a stack of papers, the strap of your messenger bag, or the cuff of your sleeve. It goes where you go.
$20 (2GB), $21 (4GB), $34 (8GB), http://bit.ly/og1fn
Kingston 256GB DataTraveler 310
Big things can come in small packages
Kingston’s DataTraveler 310 is big—in every way. Aside from its capacity of 256GB (yes, gigabytes), the DataTraveler 310 is housed in thick, rounded plastic and has a similarly giant price point. The highest-capacity drive on the market will set you back between $500 and $760 (depending on which online retailer you grab it from). That price includes the Password Traveler software that can be used to create a password-protected section of the drive called the Privacy Zone, and the ability to tell friends: “Keep your hands off my Privacy Zone.”
If it’s good enough for Gordon, it’s good enough for you
As a member of LaCie’s “key” family which also includes the WhizKey, the CooKey, and the itsaKey, in various key-inspired shapes), the iamaKey—a favorite of our own Senior Editor Gordon Mah Ung—fits neatly onto a key ring, which makes it easy to carry with you at all times. And don’t worry about the iamaKey bouncing around with all your other keys, it’s got a sturdy metal build and is water- and scratch-resistant.
$20 (4GB), $30 (8GB), $55 (16GB), $100 (32GB), www.lacie.com
USB 8GB Flash Drive Lighter
Perfect for the PC-lovin’ pyro
It seems like a sketchy idea to us to attach something so… flammable to your computer, but some of you Evil Knievel types will get a kick out of this. The USB connector slides from the bottom of the metal case and holds 8GB of flash capacity; the lighter portion is refillable, natch. It might be dangerous but it’s hard to resist something that’s so dually useful.
USB Memory Brick
Lego my thumb drive!
Nothing brings out the kid in us like the holidays, and those childhood memories are sure to be sparked at the site of this familiar nubby form. Yes, everyone’s favorite building block now holds 4GB of memory. Good for holding data, or for building a tiny house for your Lego man.
$40 ($30 for black), www.thinkgeek.com
Dad always said to carry a Swiss Army knife
Everyone knows how useful it is to have a Swiss Army knife on hand. Why not increase your trusty red friend’s repertoire by adding the oft-needed tool of flash memory? Victorinox’s Flash has a small blade, a nail file, scissors, a ballpoint pen (clever!), and an LED light in addition to the flash drive. The LED light requires a silver-oxide 1.55V battery, included, and the flash drive itself can be gently twisted off the rest of the tool for use on its own. Also available in silver, and up to 8GB.
$55 (2GB), $70 (4GB), $100 (8GB), www.thinkgeek.com
2GB USB Dog Tag Necklace
Perfect for when you’re down in the trenches with your data, this dog-tag necklace puts 2GB of flash memory within easy reach. Only one of the metal tags holds a flash drive, which is retractable, but both can be engraved to add personalization, at no extra cost.
Ravi Ratan Flash Drive Cuff links
Never be without your data at a dinner party again!
The Ravi Ratan collection of men’s luxury cuff links now includes a stylish set for the PC geek. Available in gunmetal, silver-plated, and gold-plated options, the USB drive cuff links hold 2GB of memory each. To make the posh presentation complete, the cuff links arrive in a swank hexagonal box and can be engraved with up to eight characters for an additional $8.
You’ll feel like James Bond himself, knowing you could be holding state secrets on your wrists.
SuperTalent Pico USB Drive
If you tend to lose things, this drive is not for you
So small it could get lost in a pocket, this lil’ guy is less than 4mm thick. But it’s no wimp. Besides being shock- and water-resistant, it comes in generous 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities. Looking for some wee bling? SuperTalent also makes a special-edition Pico-C, which is gold plated and holds 64GB (for $170 online).
$25 (8GB), $70 (16GB), $140 (32GB), www.thinkgeek.com
Pretty? Not so much. Green? More than most
If you drive a Prius, compost, wear Birkenstocks, and have a zero carbon footprint, then this drive will fit right in with your green lifestyle. The Eco Square drive is made from recycled newspaper and can hold up to 8GB worth of data. Unfortunately, or ironically, depending on how you look at it, the chip parts inside are not so nice for the environment.
Only sold in bulk (256MB to 8GB), http://bit.ly/93G4UG
USB Bullet Keychain Flash Drive
Right on target
There are many bullet flash drives out there, but if you want one that really gets the point across—what point that is, we’re not sure—the most realistic likeness we could find comes from USB Brando. It’s available in silver and copper and comes in sizes up to 8GB. It can also be outfitted with a black plastic tip that doubles as a stylus. $16 (2GB), $19 (4GB),
$31 (8GB), http://bit.ly/d7OoXA
USB Pistol Gun Flash Drive
Guns don’t kill people… and neither do gun-shaped flash drives
For all you Second Amendment fans, hardcore thugs, and law-enforcement officer types, there’s the USB Pistol Gun Flash Drive to defend your data. You can pry it from our cold, dead hands. Or maybe just ask nicely.
$20 (2GB), $22.00 (4GB), $33 (8GB), http://bit.ly/aHI7B2
Hail Mary, full of data
Blasphemy aside, if you need a patron saint for your data, this here’s your girl. The product of Spain-based design studio Luiseslava, this holiest of memory sticks (available in 2GB and 4GB capacities) is meant to “combat the dehumanization that technology brings to our lives” and create a “human link by moving away from the cold feeling of electronics.” The Maria USB comes enshrined in an acrylic dome and has a red LED “heart” that beats when connected to a PC.
$80 (2GB), $110 (4GB), http://bit.ly/14xIOR
Star Wars Darth Vader USB Flash Drive
Luke, I am your USB drive
No, seriously, this tiny representation of everyone’s favorite Dark Lord uses the power of the dark side to hold 4GB of your photos, documents, video, and music. Also available in Stormtrooper, Boba Fett, and Yoda flavors.
Voltron 2GB USB Drive
Defender of the USB-niverse… yeah, that was a stretch
Voltron. Really, what more needs to be said? Well, maybe that this is the only drive here with moveable arms and legs. And it comes loaded with a remastered Voltron: Defender of the Universe episode. And he carries a sword. To access the USB key, you need to separate his upper and lower halfs. We’ll admit, he’s a little bulky to plug into a laptop—especially if you need access to other nearby USB ports—but it’s hilarious to see Voltron’s upper body hanging out of the side of your PC.
USB Gold Bar
When your data is worth its weight in gold
Eureka! We’ve hit gold with this capless drive! Nestled within this miniature version of a 999.9 gold bar is a 4GB or 8GB memory stick, which slides out for use and in for protection. Is it real gold? Do we really have to answer that? No, of course not—although the 8GB version costs nearly the same as one gram of the precious metal. But will one gram of gold hold all your documents and photos? No, we didn’t think so.
$25 (4GB), $33 (8GB), http://bit.ly/905PAL
USB Bottle Opener
What goes together better than computing and a beer?
We love a thumb drive that’s multipurpose, and whether you’re working, playing games, or just surfing the net, few things are as handy to have around as a bottle opener. Just pop it out of your USB port, where it’s done its job of providing you with as much as 8GB of data storage, and use the hefty metal prong to pop open a cold one. From beers and bytes to drafts and downloads, this drive has you covered.
$19 (2GB), $22 (4GB), $33 (8GB), http://bit.ly/bbJVCM