Look at this sexy mofo. Talk about elegant and sophisticated! And we love how its cap-less design addresses one of our biggest complaints with these drives—the caps always get lost! On this key, you push the USB header out of the key when you need it, and slide it back in when you’re done. This not only reduces the key’s size considerably, but it protects the port as well. It’s a perfect design, in our opinion.
Unlike the other keys in this roundup, the Cruzer comes with the increasingly popular U3 technology, which is like a mini-OS for the key. When the key is plugged into your PC, you can access a “start menu” from the system tray. You can run programs right off the key, add new programs, manage them, and so forth. Though we dismissed U3 as being largely worthless when we first encountered it, we’re impressed with the Cruzer’s implementation of the technology. A streamlined loading process addresses the problem we had in the past: waiting on a lengthy splash screen before we could get at the key’s contents; here you can access the key instantly, and the U3 stuff loads quietly in the background. And SanDisk includes some truly useful programs, such as antivirus and synching apps.
The icing on the cake is that this key is hella fast. It smoked every other key in this roundup in our read/write tests, making it a jack-of-all-trades device. You can even password-protect its contents. It’s pricey, but not outrageously so, and it delivers enough extra juice to justify the cost.
Month Reviewed: November 2006 + HARD DISK: Very fast read/write, incredibly small and slim, and great U3 software. - SLIPPED DISK: A bit pricey for its capacity. Verdict: 9 kickass=yes URL:www.sandisk.com