Ain’t technology wonderful? Just a few years ago our mouths were agape at 1GB USB thumb drives that cost $500. Yet here we have Corsair pushing the 16GB mark for $140—a mere $8.75 per GB.
The Flash Voyager looks the same as previous models, except for its color. The standard-speed device is blue, while the faster GT model is red. Although the rubberized case gives the unit a fairly rugged feel, we have torn through the rubber key-ring loop on older units. Oddly, no driver or encryption software was included with our device. Corsair normally bundles the open-source TrueCrypt software with its products, which is passable though inconvenient.
In performance, the fat Flash Voyager is an interesting story. Of the seven keys we’ve tested recently, the 16GB Flash Voyager is the second fastest in small-file writes, taking about eight minutes to write 10,315 files. The stupendously fast Kingston 4GB Secure Traveler took three minutes, while the rest of the pack clocked in with scores of 20 minutes or more.
The Flash Voyager’s biggest weakness is in writing medium and large files. The key took 4:10 (min:sec) to write about 2GB of large files, which was almost a minute slower than even the hard-disk-based Verbatim Store ’n’ Go we reviewed last month.
The 16GB Flash Voyager also trailed the Verbatim in writing medium-size JPG files. Not pretty. Payback came in read speeds, as the Flash Voyager aced the small-, medium-, and large-file reads, achieving speeds equal to those of the fastest keys we’ve benchmarked.
So what you have is a key that reads files very quickly and is pretty good at writing small files but could take a minute longer than a hard-disk unit and almost four times longer than the Flash Voyager GT to write large files, which is odd because a 16GB key seems as though it were made to write huge ISO and image files, not read gigabytes of text files. We don’t think the medium- and large-file write performance is terminal, but it certainly doesn’t reach the yee-haw speeds of its red-cased brethren.